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Honors Poster Session Showcases Projects

Submitted by on December 15, 2015 – 4:59 pm
Rachael Sarcione presented her Honors Experience poster "Fueling the Mosh Pit" during the honors poster session.

Rachael Sarcione presented her Honors Experience poster “Fueling the Mosh Pit” during the honors poster session.

Heavy metal bands, custom houses, polymers, and a graphic novel were just a few of the topics Northern Essex Community College’s Commonwealth Honors Program students researched for their final projects and presented to the college community during the honors poster session in the Hartleb Technology Center.

“Fueling the Mosh Pit” was the focus of Rachael Sarcione’s honors project. The Haverhill resident explored the lyrics written by various heavy metal bands including Anthrax, Metallica, South of Heaven, and Megadeth. The project, completed for her American Government and Politics class, revealed that the lyrics showed the bands to be “politically aware and sensitive,” she said.

“They were often expressing thoughts on the trauma of war through their lyrics,” she noted.

For her Information Security class, Margaret Kostiew, looked at cyber security for her honors project titled “Cyber: An Unbalanced Battlefield”.  The Kingston NH, resident equates today’s cyber hackers with the Russian spies of the Cold War. People should realize that while some hackers make quick hit and runs, many infiltrate a network and troll for years, she said. Avoid a breach, she said, by “locking down” social media accounts and creating lengthy account passwords.

“The Evolution of Custom Houses in New England Port Cities,” was the title of Laurine Faro’s honors project. The Newburyport, Salem, and Boston Custom Houses served as inspiration for the Newburyport resident’s project for her History of the Merrimack Valley class.

“Prior to the income tax of 1913, the duties collected by U.S. Custom Houses funded the early growth and infrastructure of the United States.”

"Say No More" a screenplay and potential graphic novel, was Jennifer Lebron's Honors Experience Project.

“Say No More” a screenplay and potential graphic novel, was Jennifer Lebron’s Honors Experience Project.

For her screenwriting course Lawrence’s Jennifer Lebron wrote 30 pages of what she hopes will become a full, graphic novel titled “Say No More”.

“The Importance of Nonverbal Communication,” was the topic of Stephanie Jimenez’s honors project for her Interpersonal Communication Class.

“We need to start connecting and communicating in ways other than through technology,” the Lawrence resident said, citing a study that revealed that 93 percent of all communications is conveyed through tone of voice and body language.

Seabrook’s Drew Hartnett had polymers and water content (think diapers) on her mind when she selected her project topic for her physiological chemistry course. While she hypothesized in her “Are Polymers the Answer?” project that polymers could be used to keep soil moist, she found the opposite to be true. The presence of polymers dried out the soil.

These were just a few of the 10 honors projects displayed during the honors poster session Monday, Dec., 14. The research projects were the final project for the Commonwealth Honors Program students.

Honors students must complete either two honors courses or an honors project in two regular courses. Students who opt for the honors project work with a faculty mentor. At the end of the semester, the student produces a 10-15-page paper; presents the project to the class, and participates in an Honors Poster Session. In addition, honors students must enroll in an honors colloquium course and earn at least a B.

The honors program is ideal for students who are independent learners, who have motivation and perseverance, as well as the passion to pursue an honors level project, says Hurajt. Some students, she says, do just one honors course or project without committing to the honors program. That course receives honors designation on the transcript.

Students in the Commonwealth Honors Program also participate in an Honors Community Service Learning Activity, and have volunteered for hospices, veterans centers and homeless shelters.

The Commonwealth Honors Program is designed along the guidelines of the National Collegiate Honors Council and has full status as a Commonwealth Honors Program. This guarantees transfer to a Massachusetts four-year state college or university honors programs upon acceptance to that institution.

Students who complete all of the Honors Experience requirements receive special recognition at graduation and a Commonwealth Honors Scholar seal on their diploma.

Other Commonwealth Honors Program participants and their projects included Sofia German, “Technology in the Deaf World,” April Campano, “Hidden Existence of My Adventurous Treasures,” Whitney Lischke, “Blood Spatter Analysis” and Ripley Iwen, “Perception and Realities of the Human Body”.

For additional information on the Commonwealth Honors Program contact Ginger Hurajt at or visit the Commonwealth Honors Program page.