This weekend, more than 100 students from eight surrounding colleges will head to OTC for the eighth annual Honors Program Conference. The event, organized by the OTC Honors Program, will feature more than 40 student presentations ranging in topics from anarchism to Alzheimer’s disease to genealogy and outer space.
Todd Yerby, OTC Honors Program director, says he created the event to give his students the opportunity to contribute to a conference early in their academic careers.
“This event allows our students to participate in an academic conference well before they would traditionally be able to, either educationally or professionally,” he explained. “In conjunction with that, the conference brings together a variety of philosophies from different honors colleges and programs throughout the state and beyond. Our students get to interact with one another, share ideas, and gain new perspectives on their education.”
Participating colleges include Missouri State, Drury, Missouri Southern, SBU, UMKC and even Northeastern Oklahoma A&M. OTC has articulation agreements with several of these colleges to ensure a smooth transition for students who wish to continue their education in an honors program or college beyond their associate degree program.
Sarah Buxton, a 2017 OTC graduate and honors program student, transferred into Drury University’s Honors Program on scholarship. A presenter at this year’s conference, Sarah will discuss the stigma that exists toward “blue collar” work and how Missourians can – and should – overcome this attitude.
“My research, which is entitled, “Dirty Jobs Aren’t Dirty,” is focused on breaking the stigma associated with skilled trades and how community colleges can best market their skilled trade programs to potential students,” she explained. “My topic was partly inspired by my experience at OTC, and I am honored to be presenting it on the campus that inspired me to start this journey.”
This spring, Sarah will graduate summa cum laude from Drury with a bachelor’s degree in strategic communication. She credits the OTC Honors Program for much of her academic success.
“The OTC Honors Program was a tremendous experience that prepared me well for my time at Drury,” she said. “Mr. Yerby and the other OTC Honors staff helped me through the transfer process, challenged me to dream bigger, and taught me to never settle for ‘mediocre’.”
About the OTC Honors Program
The OTC Honors Program is open to both current students and incoming freshman. Approximately 50 students are admitted into the program each year. To graduate with OTC Honors Program distinction, students must complete five honors courses, volunteer at campus and community events, and maintain a GPA of 3.5 or higher.