MMC Celebrates Academic Excellence at Honors Day 2023
In one of the most important events of the academic year, MMC recognized the extraordinary scholarly achievements and creativity of students and faculty at its 46th Annual Honors Day, held on April 11.
Sponsored by the Faculty Standards and Honors Committee and the Alpha Chi Honor Society, the day celebrates excellence at the College and builds awareness among students of the importance of intellectual achievement within the academic community.
It is centered around the Honors Colloquium, where select students present research papers, creative projects, and scientific projects to the College community. This year’s colloquium featured eight panels and 36 student presentations that ran the gamut in topic, from the role of Covid in Wisconsin’s 2020 Democratic primary to queer coding in a popular Chinese video game.
The day also includes ceremonies to induct deserving students into the College’s honor societies. And, for the first time, it incorporated the presentation of Senior Academic Awards, such as Gold Keys and Honors in the Major.
On Honors Day, “We celebrate critical and creative inquiry and practice, which are at the heart of an MMC education,” said President Kerry Walk. “We celebrate the free and open exchange of ideas, a core value of our College and institutions of higher learning nationwide. And we celebrate exceptional Marymount Manhattan students who are being honored today and who are sharing the fruits of their scholarly and creative labors.”
“Your dreams,” she told students, “have captured the imagination of everyone who’s joining us here today.”
Honorees included the two winners of the Dean’s Award for Excellence, which recognizes the strongest overall student submissions as determined by the Academic Honors Committee. Alice Moye-Honeyman ’23, a senior illustration and animation student, received the prize for her project The Gear Workers. Jennifer Martinez, a student in MMC’s college program at the Taconic Correctional Facility for women, received it for a poetry collection entitled Five Poems.
Moye-Honeyman and Martinez also served as featured student speakers, with Martinez’s brother Luis reading a statement on his sister’s behalf and the poems in her collection.
Martinez used Five Poems to explore her life before and during incarceration and the community and culture that has sustained her.
In her statement, she said she was “honored and grateful for the award” and thanked the Taconic College Program, which MMC runs along with the nonprofit Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison, for the opportunities it extends to incarcerated students.
“Being a part of MMC has reminded me that I am not the sum total of a mistake I’ve made,” Martinez said. “I thank [Taconic Professor Keith] Meatto for his encouragement and for helping me to reunite the little girl who was afraid to write [with the adult] who cannot imagine living without a pen today.”
Moye-Honeyman said that her creation, which uses clocks as its theme, employing gears that viewers must turn to understand the full work, was inspired by labor movements and exploited workers. The art tells the story of a group of laborers who live inside a clock and whose skills are only deemed valuable when they’re productive and profitable.
“I’ve always been interested in the power of a union as a collective, which is a power that, at least by numbers, usually outweighs the strength of management and can be harnessed,” she said.
She created her first sketch last May before beginning a fabrication process that included 3D design and printing, made possible by the state-of-the-art equipment in the College’s Judith Mara Carson Center for Visual Arts.
Other honors included the Writing Program Award, presented to Jennifer Burks, a student in MMC’s Bedford Hills College Program, for her project The Insanity of Incarceration: The Pressures Corrections Officers Endure; the Student/Faculty Collaboration Award, presented to Biology post-bac student Eliana Fassihi for the study “Fecal Indicator Bacteria in New York City Playgrounds,” which she conducted with Chemistry Professor Alessandra Leri; the Alpha Chi Award, presented to Peter Del Re ’23 for his project The Stars & Stripes in Film: An Analysis of the Patriotic Film Through the “Has Fallen” Franchise; and the Alumni Association Award, presented to Sydney Worthy ’23 for her dance Lose Yourself.
In addition, Journalism Professor Tatiana Serafin presented the Teaching Excellence Award to Jill Stevenson, Professor and Chair of the Department of Theatre Arts, on behalf of the Teaching Excellence Committee.
“Teaching excellence is modeling what we ask of students,” Stevenson said. “Try, risk, fail, reflect, come back. I’m sure that each student presenting work or receiving an award today has followed that path.”
View photos from the event in the gallery below.