Honors Program Alumnae

Congratulations to our Fall 2015/Spring 2016 graduates!

MyLeah Barriteau
Julia Campbell
Sarah Chapman
Elizabeth Chard
Cassandra Clark
Brianna Cook
Meda Gause
M. Chandler Hagan
Margaret Mendenhall
Diana Pliego Padilla
Kayden Reilly
Smeerah Sabree
Colleen Scrutt
Jasmine Stanley
Charlotte Turner
Venelina Vateva
Jessica Wagoner
Sarah Weaver
Jessica Woodford


Below are a few alumnae testimonies about their experience in the honors program:

The Honors Program introduced me to the world of engaged learning. I gave presentations on a variety of different topics at conferences throughout the country. When I started graduate school at the University of Virginia, I was shocked to learn that this level of engagement is rare for undergraduates. The one-on-one interactions I had with faculty sparked my interest in working in higher education. In fact, I use the Program’s model of challenge and support when working with my students at Georgetown University. ~Amanda Ruthven (’02)


The Honors Program at Columbia College allowed me to grow into the woman I am today. Honors challenged me to reach my highest potential as a student and later as a professional. My experiences in the program facilitated my admission to law school and my current employment as a prosecutor at the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office. The confidence and competence I learned at Columbia College are things I use on a daily basis when I interact with judges, other attorneys, defendants, and victims. The emphasis on collaborative learning continues to help me see issues from different viewpoints, and the focus on creative thinking helps me find solutions to complex problems. I know I am a more well-rounded and efficient prosecutor today because of my experiences with the students and faculty in the Honors Program. ~Marina Emory (’09)


The highlights of my four years in Honors at Columbia College are broad, but together these opportunities enhanced my collegiate experience by intertwining academics and real-life events into powerful lessons. Honors courses themselves proved challenging, but small classes of engaged students and professors made for meaningful and experiential learning opportunities. My two favorite memories are time spent studying abroad and presenting at conferences.

During my sophomore year, I learned of an honors study-abroad experience in Swansea, Wales.  Within a matter of weeks, Dr. Z helped me orchestrate the transfer of scholarships, grades, and myself overseas, broadening my world view and igniting my passion for traveling. Realizing that I moved to a foreign country without knowing a soul inspired me to make the most of my time abroad.  Adapting to the vastly different ‘big school’ environment, exploring Europe, learning to cook, and making the best of friends allowed me to recognize innate capabilities for exploration and growth within myself.

Honors also afforded me the unique opportunity to present at many National Collegiate Honors Council and Southern Regional Honors Council conferences. These symposiums honed my public speaking skills and provided ample opportunities for interacting with and learning from Honors students and faculty across the country.

After graduating from the Honors Program in 2008 with degrees in Business Administration and Accounting, I began working for the Corporate Audit department within Bank of America in Charlotte.  Through a rotational management training program, I audited spaces across the country and later worked with senior Audit management to create executive reporting for our Audit Committee. Now a happily married homeowner with a one-year-old Weimaraner, I am a Senior Auditor II and recently returned to auditing the Consumer and Legacy Asset Servicing spaces. The Honors Program helped to prepare me for the corporate world – and post-college life in general – through an internship at Lloyds TSB in Wales as well as demanding coursework, dedicated faculty, and opportunities for broader learning outside of the classroom; for that, I am grateful. ~Chelsea Eichorn (’08)


I can honestly say that I would not be the woman I am today without Dr. Z and the Honors Program. My experience in the Honors Program helped me learn how to challenge myself, think outside the box and see the world in a whole new light. I use these skills everyday as a practicing attorney, and I am forever grateful for Dr. Z’s encouragement, enthusiasm and genuine love. ~Kiosha Hammond Dickey (’04)


My first memory of my participation in the honors program is when I presented at an honors conference concerning the constitutionality of the Citadel’s then all-male policy.   The experience was challenging, terrifying, exhilarating, and it inspired me to participate in as many Honors opportunities as Dr. Z saw fit to put in front of me.  As a result of my participation in the CC Honors Program, I attended law school in the Northeast, excelled in my study of constitutional law, and have been blessed to work for the federal judiciary, in the public interest as a business and criminal trial attorney, and as a constitutional law professor.  That first presentation was the first step in a life of learning, teaching, and exploring who we are and how we live. 

I was the first Columbia College student to attend an NCHC Honors Semester.  That Semester was my first trip to New York City as we sought to explore the impact of immigration on the cultural and political structure of American society.  For the first time in my life, I was in a major metropolitan city, surrounded by world-class art, culture, high-finance, and ethnic diversity that was virtually non-existent in the South back then, or perhaps I was not as aware of or sensitive to the diversity around me at home.  It was culture shock of the best kind, and Columbia College’s Honors Program made it all possible.  ~Tish Gotell Fauks (’04)


To read more alumnae testimonies click here.