Success of West Campus IDH Students Exemplifies Purpose of IDH Program

IDH-Students-grove

Left to right: Students Bridget Frost and Maria Serrano

A message from Falecia Williams, President, West Campus

In the past year, the Seneff Honors College flagship course track — known as the Interdisciplinary Studies track (IDH) — has undergone major revisions to the curriculum and staff. IDH has been transformed from a chronological exploration of humanities throughout the ages to an infusion of the sciences, philosophy, ethics and literature — with an emphasis on developing students’ critical thinking and writing skills.

Two West Campus students — Bridget Frost and Maria Serrano — have demonstrated the effectiveness of the program changes.

Bridget, a recent graduate of Valencia, was part of IDH both before and after the program revisions. Bridget was the recipient of two scholarships this year, one from the Seneff Honors College that was awarded based on overall engagement and academics as an honors student, and the other was the Mayor Richard T. Crotty Valencia-University of Central Florida (UCF) Alumni Associations 2+2 Scholarship, worth a total of $4,000 to be dispersed throughout her time at UCF.

The IDH track helped take Bridget’s education to the next level.

Her favorite components of the track were:

  • The IDH Lecture Series, designed to expand learning beyond the classroom by bringing in guest speakers
  • Having at least two professors present for each class who contributed a unique disciplinary perspective
  • The opportunity to travel to places like the The Ringling Circus Museum in Sarasota, the Center for Great Apes in Wauchula and the nation’s capital, Washington D.C.

This fall Bridget will be attending the UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management. She currently works at Universal Studios in a guest services capacity and hopes to advance there with the skills she has acquired at Valencia.

Maria, on the other hand, just completed her first year as an honors student in the IDH track.

During that time, she completed a civic leadership internship by working for Senator Marco Rubio as a constituent services representative. She also represented Valencia’s West Campus as a delegate to the Southern Regional Model United Nations Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. This past spring, she was awarded the Bill Castellanos Civic Leadership Scholarship for the amount of $700.

“The Honors interdisciplinary track has motivated me and, in fact, given me a quick wit for curiosity, which has helped me gain hands on experience and has pushed me to eliminate all limitations that I had before,” said Maria.

Her favorite parts of the program have always been the final exams. First year IDH students are encouraged to demonstrate their creativity through creating a performance representing a specific character from “Antigone” or “Oedipus Rex” and through a poster session designed for students to share their integrated knowledge of genetics and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” 

Maria will start her second year of IDH in the fall. Once she graduates, her plans include attending Florida International University with a double major in international relations and journalism.

Bridget and Maria are excellent examples of the accomplishments of IDH students.

Students in IDH must satisfy 24 hours of general education credit over the course of two years. Courses are taught by faculty from the four general education areas: Humanities, Communication, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences. Students in IDH move through the sections ideally as a cohort, forming close relationships with other students and the faculty, who are committed to teaching these sections. IDH students tend to have a high level of curiosity and are driven to explore the opportunities presented to them outside of the prescribed curriculum.

The IDH faculty are privileged to have the opportunity to work with these students and look forward to highlighting more individual accomplishments in the future as the program expands.

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