Honors Program

Honor Students BlogYou're motivated. You're an ambitious and curious scholar.

You're an Honors student at CNR.

The Honors Program at The College of New Rochelle is designed to be an innovative liberal arts curriculum, no matter what your field of study. Priority is placed on intellectual challenge, scholarly discovery, and social excellence, while fostering academic independence and initiative, the ability to lead, appreciation of the value of collaboration, and community involvement.

  • Enjoy learning with other academically motivated students and faculty in small seminars that emphasize active learning and independent research, allowing you to have both freedom and responsibility for your own education.
  • Design an interdisciplinary program of Honors studies, developed under close advisement, both within and outside your major field.
  • Enjoy one-to-one learning with faculty mentors, and flexibility in fulfilling College requirements.
  • Experience real work at a rich variety of internship sites, including the United Nations, Time Warner, Entertainment Weekly magazine, and New York City art galleries.

The Benefits

  • Gain automatic membership in the National Collegiate Honors Council and have the opportunity to attend regional and national conferences and present workshops.
  • Participate in the first-year experience, which includes specially designed seminars and a social orientation to the campus by the Honors cohort.
  • Access the Honors Center and Living and Learning Community, which serves as a group study lounge, seminar room, and conference space. Great for you to study, socialize, or just take a break!
  • Publish essays, poetry, and art work in Femmes d'Esprit, the Honors magazine.
  • Register for additional credit hours without an extra fee.
  • Graduate with the prestigious Honors Diploma after successful completion of program requirements.
  • Be part of the CNR's Honors Community with an Honors group study lounge, off-campus trips and career building workshops.

Throughout their membership in the Program, students are also required to maintain the following at all times:

  • a cumulative GPA of 3.3 (lower division) or 3.5 (upper division)
  • enrollment of at least one Honors experience per semester (for a total of no less than 24 credits toward the Honors Diploma)
  • participation in at least one Honors Program activity, such as a contribution to Femmes d'Esprit, working on the Annual Holiday Party, helping with first-year student orientation, running for Honors Board, serving as Honors Conference Day Coordinator, or helping with new student recruitment at Admissions events

The Honors Board, composed of two students from each Honors cohort, as well as three faculty members, continually reviews policies of the Program, as well as curricular offerings.

The requirements for the Honors Diploma are:

  • eight Honors experiences (seminars and/or Honors contracts), including Junior Colloquium and Senior Symposium;
  • participation in at least one Honors Conference Day;
  • a cumulative GPA of 3.5;
  • an Honors GPA of 3.5;
  • and a consistent demonstration of leadership to both the Program and the wider campus community.

Honors graduates demonstrate

  • high-level academic and scholarly achievement
  • excellence in intellectual, writing, and speaking skills
  • independence and initiative in pursuit of a liberal arts education
  • appreciation of the value of a diverse intellectual community
  • leadership ability

Amelia Ellis SAS'14

On the Honors Program

Amelia EllisDr. Bass introduced herself to me with: "You're from Great Barrington! I'm from Richmond." For those who may not know, Great Barrington and Richmond are about 30 minutes away from each other in Berkshire County in Western Massachusetts. I would say that this conversational tone has been my relationship with the Honors program in that it is like sitting down for a cup of coffee with an old friend, in a familiar place, but talking about new, exciting things.

But the old friends are students in the classroom, the old friends are books, the old friends are the expected paths of discourse in the learning curve. So I have found a comfortable niche for myself, taking courses like "Popular Culture and Modern America" and "The Singer/Songwriter," narrowing my focus to make a conclusion that sparks another project for the future, or a paper to write on the side, or an article for Femmes d' Espirit. Taking Honors courses has a domino effect on the intellect: it inspires new ideas with each new idea that is presented in class.

I am never bored.

Last semester I was fortunate enough to take on the role of co-assembling the material, and being the layout editor for the Honors magazine, Femmes d' Espirit. I also was able to contribute my own writing: one of those sides that resulted from the domino effect I mentioned earlier. This is only one of the many outlets the Honors Program offers its students for their intellectual undertakings.

In Honors I am challenged, I am encouraged to fight for understanding of difficult concepts; but it does not make my education harder. It enriches it. And it enriches life. Many times will something happen outside of the classroom where I can apply a social theory, or a bit of historical background and understand why it happened.

There is a point in everyone's life where they realize how important their education was. As an Honors student, one constantly lives in that realization.

Profile featured in CNR's Alumnae/i Magazine

"Here's my dream timeline," explains English major Amelia Ellis. "Finish school here and win a Rhodes scholarship to study Philology, the field of historical linguistics. Come back to the States for my Ph.D. and return to CNR as an English professor.

"But here's my alternate timeline," she adds with a laugh: "Get discovered and become a star."

A singer/songwriter who plays flute and guitar, Amelia has already taken the stage at noted venues like The Bitter End, the legendary Greenwich Village club where many of today's stars first got their start.

"Fortunately, I come from a very arts-oriented family," including one uncle who is a professional stagehand and two other relatives who are musicians. "So I never heard, 'No, you can't do that kind of thing.'"

That showbiz background made Amelia a natural choice for 2012-13 president of CNR's dramatic society. With "A Midsummer Night's Dream" on the bill this spring, she's busy making sure that casting, rehearsals and a host of backstage details all come together smoothly.

"But one of my most important roles is simply helping everyone overcome their insecurities. You learn it's not about what you might do wrong. The important thing is to get out there and do it."

The New England native has thrived in the spotlight, right from the day she played a Pilgrim in her first-grade Thanksgiving pageant. "That was in Plymouth, Mass., where the real Pilgrims first landed, so it's a pretty major deal there."

Nevertheless, she still does face some occasional pre-curtain jitters. "So one important rule is no caffeine on performance days!"

Another time-honored back-stage rule is that the show must go on — and Amelia says CNR has encouraged her to persevere as a person as well as a performer.

"To say that college has been easy would be a lie. I had some health problems, big medical bills, even took a semester off to figure out what I wanted to do.

"But through it all CNR has always been there for me. I had great advisors who pretty much saved my education, and professors who said, 'We can challenge you, you're important to us and to the school.'

"So I realized I couldn't quit. That just isn't me." As she writes in a song called Let Go of Time,

Make life worth the living
As hard as it may come

It's just one of many songs Amelia has penned, "ballads, blues, that kind of feel." She currently plays guitar in a jazz/blues duo with CNR friend and violinist Regina Alvarado, and also plays flute with CNR's Chapel Choir.

Amelia went to high school in Great Barrington, Mass., a cultural hotbed just down the road from the Tanglewood music festival. "CNR is close to New York City, so I can enjoy the arts and find opportunities to perform. I love the campus, and my mother was sold by the excellent security."

English was hardly one of Amelia's favorite subjects in high school, "but there is so much passion in the English Department here, so much emphasis on critical analysis, digging deep to the core of the text. And my French professor, Dr. Beauzethier, is also genuinely outstanding."

Tapping her artistic and linguistic talents, Amelia became a coordinating editor at Phoenix, CNR's literary and arts magazine — where she recently helped launch an e-supplement to showcase arts news and reviews.

And last fall she was named to lead CNR Drama, after several years' work on scenic design and sound engineering as well as on-stage roles with the group. Amelia especially enjoys the teamwork the program fosters, with every member of cast and crew contributing to the final product.

"Doing a show is like getting on a boat together. If it starts capsizing, it's everybody's role to right the ship."

Femmes d'Esprit is the Honors Program magazine. All members of the Program are welcome to their submit poetry, essays, reviews, art work. Published approximately four times per year, Femmes is a terrific creative and scholarly outlook for students and faculty alike!

Read the latest editions of Femmes d'Esprit:


Honors Conference Day Highlights Rigor and Reach of Honors Studies

April 26, 2017

Students from the Honors Program at The College of New Rochelle showcased a wide range of scholarly research at the 32nd Annual Honors Conference Day on April 20, 2017. The event featured projects by members of the Honors Junior Colloquium, participants in three Honors seminars, and a student who studied away at the Williams-Mystic Maritime Studies Program.

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CNR Honors Students Immerse Themselves in Maritime Studies through Williams-Mystic Partnership

February 28, 2017

Fabiola Padilla Rios SAS’18, a psychology major at The College of New Rochelle, can tell you what it’s like to serve as the member of a crew of a 130-foot ship sailing the open water. So can Spanish major Lina Arboleda SAS’18. In fact, for each of the past six semesters, a CNR Honors student has hauled lines and stood watch on deck as part of a unique “study away” experience through Williams-Mystic, the maritime studies program of Williams College and Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. 

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CNR Honors Program Field Trip Enriches “December in America” Course

November 7, 2016

Members of The College of New Rochelle’s School of Arts & Sciences Honors Program visited the “Day of the Dead” exhibit at the New Rochelle Public Library on Friday, November 4, 2016, as part of the seminar “December in America.” The course, taught by Dr. Amy Bass, director of the Honors Program and professor of history, explores the roots of holiday celebrations in the United States, using them as a lens into topics such as immigration, identity, religion, ritual, and family..

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Honors Conference Day Showcases CNR Scholarship

April 21, 2016

Students representing many facets of Honors studies at The College of New Rochelle held a celebration of their collective scholarship on April 21, 2016. The 31st Annual Honors Conference Day featured presentations by members of the Honors Junior Colloquium, participants in various Honors seminars, and students who studied away from campus, among others.

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Four Honors Students Represent CNR at Conference in Cambridge, MA

April 9, 2016

Four students from The College of New Rochelle’s School of Arts & Sciences Honors Program attended the Northeast Regional Honors Council’s annual conference from March 31 to April 3 in Cambridge, MA. The group was accompanied by Dr. Amy Bass, Honors Program director and professor of history.

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Students Present at Annual Honors Conference Day

"CATASTROPHE!: THE COLLOQUIUM," the theme of the 30th Annual Honors Conference Day on April 23, fostered research presentations by Honors Program students that were as diverse as they were thought-provoking.

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Honors Students Present at National Honors Council Conference

On April 9, SAS Honors Program students and Program Director Dr. Amy Bass traveled to Gettysburg, PA, for "Battlefields of Change," this year's National Regional Honors Council's annual conference.

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Professor Talks Common Core with New Rochelle Principal on WVOX

Dr. Amy Bass, Professor of History and Director of the Honors Program, recently spotlighted some of the issues facing local educators, interviewing a New Rochelle principal on her WVOX radio show Tuesday, December 9.

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Honors Convocation Recognizes Student Achievements

The academic achievements of students in the School of Arts & Sciences and School of Nursing were recognized during the Honors Convocation Saturday, October 18.

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Holocaust Survivor Story Inspires CNR First-Year Honors Students

The story of a deaf Jewish woman's courage and survival from her parents' neglect, a childhood rape, and escape from Nazi Germany has inspired many — and even changed the perception of the Holocaust for some freshman Honors students at The College of New Rochelle.

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Honors Research Projects Tackle ‘The Body'

Tattoos, the Islamic veil, and representations of cyborgs and the paralyzed in films were just a few of the subjects of student research presented at the annual Honors Conference Day on Thursday, April 24.

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Students Attend Northeast Regional Honors Council Annual Conference

Three students from the Honors Program in the School of Arts & Sciences attended the Northeast Regional Honors Council's annual conference, which took place in Niagara Falls this year, April 3 to 6.

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Rashaa Parker, Katy Baudendistel, Claudia BenitezHonors Students Present at the Association for Women in Psychology

Honors students Rashaa Parker, Katy Baudendistel, and Claudia Benitez attended the AWP conference, "The Personal is Political," in Columbus, Ohio, with Dr. Rebecca Lafleur, Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of Women's Studies at CNR.

Katy presented "Fat Talking Feminists? The relationship between race, feminist, ideology, and negative body talk" with Dr. Lafleur, while all of the students attended a series of workshops and panels. They also volunteered at the conference, making new connections with other students and professionals from across the country.

Chemistry Major Spending Spring Semester at Maritime Studies Program

Chemistry major Manuela Patino is spending the Spring 2014 semester at the prestigious Williams College American Maritime Studies Program in Mystic, Conn.

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Honors Alum Joins Houston Museum of Natural Science

Congratulations to Molly McMurray, Honors Class of 2013, who just got a job at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Founded in 1909, the museum is one of the most heavily attended in the United States, and hosts the Burke Baker Planetarium, the Cockrell Butterfly Center, and a variety of exhibits that include astronomy, space science, Native American cultures, paleontology, chemistry, gems and minerals, and so on.

A history major, Molly hopes to begin her graduate work soon, with aspirations of becoming a forensic archeologist. She is thrilled to have found her "perfect job!"

Student Research Touches on Memory at Annual Honors Conference Day

Students in the Honors Colloquium "Memory, Remembering, Re-telling" shared their diverse research projects on the theme with peers, faculty, and staff for the 28th annual Honors Conference Day April 25.

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CNR Honors Program Students Shine at Regional Conference

Honors Program students from The College of New Rochelle offered well-received presentations at the Northeast Regional Honors Council Conference, which took place April 4 to 7 in Philadelphia.

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First Sr. Dorothy Ann College of New Rochelle Hall of Fame Scholarship Announced

The first Sr. Dorothy Ann College of New Rochelle Hall of Fame Scholarship was announced by The College of New Rochelle's president, Judith Huntington, at the Westchester Women's Hall of Fame Luncheon held at the Rye Town Hilton on March 8, 2013.

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Honors Students Take an Academic Approach to the Holidays

A new honors seminar at The College of New Rochelle is bringing some intellectual rigor to the holiday season, with a dozen students learning how holidays, from Halloween through New Year's, originated and how they have been shaped by immigration, pop culture, consumerism, and numerous other factors.

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WAG Magazine: Sporty Summers

If teacher Amy Bass were to answer the traditional back-to-school essay sparker, "How I Spent My Summer Vacation," she'd have one helluva story to tell.

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The College of New Rochelle History Professor Supervises NBC's Olympic Research Room

This summer, The College of New Rochelle's Dr. Amy Bass, Professor of History and Director of the SAS Honors Program, will once again attend the Olympics Summer Games in London, England. This will be Dr. Bass's eighth Olympic Games as supervisor of NBC's Olympic Research Room.

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American Princess: Once Upon a Time – Dr. Amy Bass

Think of this: a boy and a girl want a balloon. Their mother steps up to the balloon vendor and asks for two. The vendor asks the boy which color he'd like, and then turns to the little girl: "I bet you want the pink one, right?" She accepts.  American girls are inundated with all things pink, all things pretty, and all things princess. This seminar doesn't condemn pink, but rather problematizes it. To like princesses is fine. To only like princesses is not. In this exploration of what has been called the rise of "girlie-girl culture," students will explore a variety of Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm to Hans Christian Anderson; the "Disneyfication" of American culture; childhood belief systems from Santa Claus to the Tooth Fairy; and a range of modern heroines from Twilight, to The Hunger Games, to Harry Potter. Students will attend a performance of Cinderella on Broadway, be encouraged to create movie nights in the Honors Living and Learning Community, and take part in CNR's "Institute for Imagination, Inquiry, and Innovation."

American Anxiety – Daniel Smith

In 1881, the neurologist George Beard published American Nervousness, drawing widespread attention to a "large family of functional nervous disorders" that were becoming so common as to be dubbed "Americanitis." More than 130 years later, anxiety disorders affect 40 million American adults each year, making them the nation's most prevalent form of psychiatric complaint by a wide margin — and helping to make the anti-anxiety medication Xanax the nation's most popular psychiatric drug. This course will investigate the longstanding notion that there is something inherent in American life that produces and fosters anxiety. Do we live in a prototypically nervous-making culture? If so, what specific elements of American life are the likeliest culprits? In an effort to answer these questions, we will discuss a diversity of texts — including works of psychology, fiction, and cultural criticism — and explore subjects ranging from consumerism to commercialization to the role of technology in private life.

Gender & Sexuality — Dr. Roblyn Rawlins

Sexualities are personal, social and political. They are also deeply gendered – both in the sense of gender as difference and gender as dominance. In this seminar, we will use provocative readings to focus on the social, psychological, ethical, political, historical, cultural, and personal dimensions of gender and sexuality. The writings and ideas of classic and contemporary theorists, researchers, scholars, artists, and ourselves will launch our explorations of how gender and sexual identities are constructed and maintained, challenged and contested, in the American social fabric.

Discourses of Slavery in the Americas – Dr. Nereida Segura-Rico

The critical attention garnered by recently released movies such as Twelve Years a Slave and Django Unchained, and newly published novels, including James McBride's The Good Lord Bird, signal a heightened interest in the "peculiar institution" of slavery. Through the analysis of the works mentioned above and of written accounts by enslaved men and women, including the narratives by Frederick Douglass, Mary Prince and Juan Francisco Manzano, this seminar explores how slaves overcame a system that, in Manzano's words, considered them as "dead beings." The study of personal narratives and films, as well as anti-slavery novels and contemporary fiction, will serve as the basis for the discussion of the similarities and differences among distinct cultures of slavery in the Americas. The central questions of the course will be: How do these works depict the figure of the slave? How do these works present the impact of slavery in their different societies? How do current political, social and economic conditions influence artistic representations of the slave past?

Philosophy of Law – Dr. Daniel McCarthy

What if you wanted to sell a spare body part (say an eye or some bone marrow) to the highest bidder? That wouldn't be legal, but should it be? Should it be legal to be a "surrogate" mother, or to marry anyone you like, or to refuse to hire someone with a mental disease?  Should laws enforce morality? If not, what ought the objective of the legal system be? If so, how do we know what is moral? What kinds of immoral behavior should be illegal? How, if at all, should inequalities based on wealth, ethnicity and gender be addressed? How much freedom should we have? This course examines debates about what kind of legal system would really be a system of justice. It is not a study of legal procedure, and no background (or interest) in pre-law or political science is necessary. Rather, it pushes thinking about what the purpose of laws and the legal system is, and what it should be.