National Collegiate Honors Council Recognizes Three Seahawks

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Two UNCW Honors College scholars and a faculty member received recognition at this year’s National Collegiate Honors Council Conference in Seattle in October.

Senior Audrey Taylor, a geography major, was among four students in the U.S. who received the 2016 Portz Scholar award. Tiffany Ernst, a senior majoring in marine biology, placed third in the student poster competition. Bill Atwill, an associate professor in the English department and former associate director of the Honors College, was designated as an NCHC Fellow.

Taylor’s research paper on the chemistry of ancient plant compounds to investigate past climate change was among 42 papers reviewed by the Portz Awards and Grants Committee. She presented her research at the conference. The Portz Scholars Program began in 1990 to enable NCHC to support creative and innovative research endeavors that cross boundaries.

Ernst’s presentation, “Glucose Transporters in the Acoustic Lipids of Tursiops truncatus, the bottlenose dolphin: Effects of tissue type and developmental stage,” placed third in the natural sciences and mathematics category. Her project was funded through UNCW ETEAL Spring/Summer Undergraduate Research and Creativity Awards grant. Ernst, who also serves as a student member of the NCHC Board of Directors, has presented at the conference for the past three years.

“I am so excited that after three years, and my last year with NCHC, I was able to impress the judges and earn recognition for my research and my presentation skills,” she said.

Atwill received the designation of NCHC Fellow due to his leadership, record of sustained commitment to honors education, outstanding honors teaching at UNCW and scholarly activities related to honors education.

“Easily, the highlight of my professional career has been the opportunity to work with so many bright students and intelligent faculty in Honors,” said Atwill. “I’m particularly indebted to Diane Levy, UNCW’s first Honors director, who got me started, and to current director and 2010 NCHC Fellow, Kate Bruce, who inspired me through her leadership at the national level. Being recognized by my NCHC colleagues is quite an honor, but also humbling in light of all their achievements.”

“Our UNCW Honors College has a very strong regional and national reputation because of our outstanding honors students and faculty. I was so proud to see Audrey, Tiffany and Bill recognized,” said Bruce, UNCW Honors College director and a past-president of the National Collegiate Honors Council.

UNCW had six total student presenters at the NCHC conference. In addition to Taylor and Ernst, biology major Ashley deMey; environmental studies major Mary Jaskowiak; creative writing/English major Caroline Orth; and communication/theatre major Sean Owens. Bill Atwill, Zachary Underwood and Kate Bruce were also presenters.

The National Collegiate Honors Council is the professional association of undergraduate honors programs and colleges. It provides support for Honors education through curriculum development, program assessment, teaching innovation, national and international study opportunities, internships, service and leadership development, and mentored research.

-- Venita Jenkins


Audrey Taylor

Audrey Taylor (center) with Kate Bruce and Jerry Herron, NCHC President

Tiffany Ernst

Tiffany Ernst with (from left) Kate Bruce, NCHC President Jerry Herron and Poster Judging Chair Mike Sloane

Bill Atwill

Jerry Herron, NCHC President with Bill Atwill (right)