OC’s Honors Summer Academy Welcomes 97 Students from 15 States

Jul 11, 2018

Almost 100 high-achieving students will test-drive college this week at Oklahoma Christian University. From Sunday through Friday, students will study mechanical and software engineering, visit the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and take part in a Harry Potter-themed quidditch match, among other activities at OC’s Honors Summer Academy. HSA runs July 8-13.

Other learning experiences include solving a cold case, practicing civil debate, touring a local augmented and virtual reality company, learning from healthcare professionals at Mercy Hospital and culturing HeLa cells (which were featured last year in the HBO and Oprah Winfrey movie “The Immortal Life of Henryetta Lacks”). 

 “OC’s Honors Summer Academy provides an academically challenging environment where complex discussions of scholarship and faith are embraced,” said Jim Baird, director of OC’s Honors Program. Baird earned a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Oxford. “Each course and professor feature a spiritual and intellectual perspective. During the week, students become part of a true Christian learning community.”

For the third year in a row, “The Art of Public Persuasion: How to Debate Issues Without Being a Jerk” is a timely class following a statewide election. Brian Simmons, who serves as associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and professor of communication, will teach the course. Students will participate in debates for their field experience.

OC’s annual, weeklong college experience encourages the pursuit of excellence by gifted students entering their sophomore through senior years of high school.

By the end of the program, students will have developed the confidence to continue their academic pursuit of excellence, link academics to their faith and demonstrate the impact of experiential learning and service to others. Each participant can earn two hours of college credit.

Students stay in OC’s University House, which offers the opportunity to live in a community dedicated to equipping Christian students for the pursuit of academic excellence.

This is the ninth year that OC has hosted the Honors Summer Academy. This year’s class features 28 students from the Oklahoma City and Edmond areas, 41 more from across Oklahoma and 38 from another 14 states and Rwanda.

“We put a lot of work into making this an excellent experience for the students,” Associate Director of the Honors Summer Academy Ryan Jones said. “Honors Staff Associate Veleasha Johnson has helped to make sure students will learn, have fun and create new friendships.”

A few of the week’s highlights include:

  • An “Introduction to Spanish” course in which students read books in Spanish to children and learn to cook an authentic Spanish food. July 11, 2:30-4:30 p.m. Students in this class will also play soccer. July 13, 10:30-11:20 a.m.
  • Learning how engineers simulate earthquakes in design testing or using engineering techniques to design an electronic game in the two “Introduction to Engineering” classes, which are taught by OC engineering faculty. July 12, 2-4:30 p.m.
  • A tour of an FBI mobile cybersecurity lab for the class “Introduction to Computer Science: Can Computers Think Like a Human.” No cameras allowed. July 13, 2-4:30 p.m.
  • A “Harry Potter”-themed quidditch match for “Choose Your Own Adventure Night.” July 10, 7:30 p.m. in Lawson Commons.
  • As part of the “Introduction to Scriptures of the Holocaust” class, students will engage in a community service project with the Lighthouse Medical Clinic and Capitol Hill Church of Christ’s Book Buddy literacy program (Academy students will select, read and give away books to elementary through junior high students in the Capitol Hill area of Oklahoma City). July 9, 12:30-2 p.m.
  • The “Evolution of Video Games” course will include a tour of AR and VR projects at Trifecta Communications in Moore. July 11, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
  • Culturing HeLa cells. July 19, 3-4 p.m. & July 13, 2-5 p.m.
  • An “Introduction to the Bible and Worldview” course that includes a private visit to the Green Collection of the Museum of the Bible that features more than $100 million in artifacts relating to the history of the Bible prior to the exhibit’s upcoming world tour. July 10, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
  • A Forensic Science class in which students tour OSBI in Edmond. July 9, from 1-3 p.m.
  • In the same class, students also wash a dollar bill to test for drug residue. July 10, from 9:30-10:20 a.m.
  • A site visit to Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City for the “Introduction to Healthcare” class. July 10, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
  • An “Art of Public Persuasion: How to Debate Issues Without Being a Jerk” class, culminating in student debates. July 12, 2-4:30 p.m.

The Honors Program at Oklahoma Christian includes 160 students and continues to grow each year. According to Baird, the average ACT score for honors students is over 31, and about a quarter of those students are National Merit Scholars. Admission is highly selective, but not solely exam-based.

Accomplished alumni have gone on to attain professional degrees in business, law and medicine, and many others have received scholarships to prestigious doctorate and post-doctorate programs across the United States.

Most OC Honors students study abroad in the fall or summer of their sophomore year (Vienna, Austria or Pacific Rim). All Honors students participate in Symposium each Monday; past Honors Symposium speakers have included philosopher and apologist Stephen Meyer, best-selling author Lee Strobel, biblical scholar N. T. Wright and Yale scholar Miroslav Volf. More information is available at www.oc.edu/honors.