Honors program continues to thrive

Dr.+Zubizarreta+sits+in+his+office+located+on+the+third+floor+of+the+library.+In+hand+is+his+%E2%80%9CDr.+Z%E2%80%9D+mug+made+by+one+of+his+former+students.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Honors program continues to thrive

Dr. Zubizarreta sits in his office located on the third floor of the library. In hand is his “Dr. Z” mug made by one of his former students.

Dr. Zubizarreta sits in his office located on the third floor of the library. In hand is his “Dr. Z” mug made by one of his former students.

Alexa Vega

Dr. Zubizarreta sits in his office located on the third floor of the library. In hand is his “Dr. Z” mug made by one of his former students.

Alexa Vega

Alexa Vega

Dr. Zubizarreta sits in his office located on the third floor of the library. In hand is his “Dr. Z” mug made by one of his former students.

Alexa Vega, staff writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The Honors Program at Columbia College has been thriving since 1985, when the first class started.

John Zubizarreta, Ph.D., director of the Honors Program, encourages students to join the program even if they have concerns.

The program is designed for students to push themselves out of their comfort zone and take risks in order to succeed, Zubizarreta said. He has been involved with the program since 1988. The program provides classrooms and environments for those who want to succeed, even if a test score has told them otherwise.

“We’ve had students who have become superstars who were far below the sort of curve of the typical students who go into honors programs in college,” Zubizarreta said.

The program is open to anyone.

“We have all kinds of students who are in the Honors Program,” Zubizarreta said.

“Some of them don’t come in the first semester of their first year because they didn’t have the test scores or the grades in high school. They get here, then begin to thrive because this is a special place, Columbia College,” Zubizarreta said.

Two students involved in the Honors Program agree with Zubizarreta and feel as though anyone should join the program and take chances.

“The Honors Program is fantastic,” Allison Kimsey, junior biochemistry major, said.

“I love it. I always get really excited and I start asking them (students), ‘Hey, is there something in particular that you want to know?’ I tell them a little more about my experience with the program and just try to help them become a part of it,” Kimsey said.

The program offers a different environment in comparison to a normal classroom. The Honors Program is willing to work with students’ schedules no matter the workload.

“A lot of times people will be like, ‘There is a lot of work. It’s not going to fit in my schedule,’” Desirae Vess, junior biology major and chemistry minor, said.

“Since I am a science major, to fulfill the Honors Program you have to get eight hours. You have to take eight classes; the honors credits overlap with general courses. It’s not like extra work; it’s not hard to complete and most people enjoy it,” Vess said.

Zubizarreta says the best part of the program is the students.

“I love the students,” Zubizarreta said. It’s not only that they’re smart because there’s this myth, there’s this perception, ‘Oh, honors students do this; they’re all brains; they’re all nerds and smart, overly smart.’  And you know what, I do respect how smart they are, but that’s not really what they are,” Zubizarreta said. “They’re wonderful; they’re creative; they’re ambitious; they’re quirky.”

The program has many opportunities and privileges for the students involved. “If you’re in the Honors Program, you enjoy some privileges and you need to be aware of that,” Zubizarreta said. “You have privileges and you have opportunities. With that, you have certain responsibilities and you have to make sure when you’re sitting in a class, whether it’s honors or not, you challenge yourself and challenge the other students to step it up.”

The program will continue to welcome anyone interested in taking a risk and challenging themselves to do better.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email