Honors Summer Academy welcomes 97 students from 17 states This is the eighth year that OC has hosted the Honors Summer Academy.

Jul 06, 2017

  • Oxford-educated Dr. Jim Baird, the director of OC's Honors Program, stands among students creating sidewalk chalk art at Honors Summer Academy.
Oxford-educated Dr. Jim Baird, the director of OC's Honors Program, stands among students creating sidewalk chalk art at Honors Summer Academy.

Almost 100 high-achieving students will test-drive college next week at OC. From Monday through Friday, students will build and test rockets, visit the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and take part in a Harry Potter-themed literature game, among other activities at OC’s Honors Summer Academy.

Other learning experiences include solving a cold case, practicing civil debate, touring a local animation and training studio, learning from healthcare professionals at Mercy Hospital and culturing HeLa cells (which were featured this 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 science and faith are welcome,” said Jim Baird, director of OC’s Honors Program. Baird earned a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Oxford. “Each learning experience and professor emphasize a spiritual and intellectual perspective on serious areas of study. During the week, students are encouraged to contribute to a true Christian learning community.”

For the second year in a row, “The Art of Public Persuasion: How to Debate Issues Without Being a Jerk” is a timely class following a divisive 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 finishing their freshman through junior 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 eighth year that OC has hosted the Honors Summer Academy. This year’s class features 20 students from the Oklahoma City and Edmond areas, 46 from Oklahoma and 51 from another 16 states.

“We really enjoy planning and preparing months in advance for this week,” Managing Director of the Honors Program and Summer Academy Lisa Carroll said. “Associate Director Vivian Hoffmeister has helped to make sure students will learn, have a lot of fun and forge new friendships.”

A few of the week’s highlights include:

  • Designing and testing water-powered rockets or using engineering techniques to design an electronic game in the two “Introduction to Engineering” classes, which are taught by OC engineering faculty. Students in the rockets course will compete to see who can fly their ships the highest. July 13, 2-5 p.m.
  • A course titled “Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy: Is Math the Language of God?” with a tour of American Fidelity Assurance in OKC. July 14, 2-4:30 p.m.
  • A “Harry Potter”-themed scavenger hunt for the class “Fantasy Literature: The Soul of Harry Potter. Students examine story architecture through a Harry Potter-themed scavenger hunt. Two teams set off for adventure, one searching for a Horcrux to destroy, the other for Deathly Hallows to protect. July 12, 2-4 p.m.
  • As part of the “Reading the Hebrew Bible After 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 10, 12:30-2:30 p.m.
  • The “Introduction Game Design and Development” course that will include a tour of the PluralSight studio in Oklahoma City. July 12, 2:30-4:30 p.m.
  • Culturing HeLa cells. July 10, 3-4 p.m. & July 14, 2-5 p.m.
  • A Forensic Science class in which students tour OSBI in Edmond. July 10, 1:30-4 p.m.
  • In the same class, students also wash a dollar bill to test for drug residue. July 11, 9:30-10:20 a.m.
  • A site visit to Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City for the “Healthcare Professions” class. July 11, 2:30-4:30 p.m.

The Honors Program at Oklahoma Christian includes more than 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 biblical scholar N. T. Wright, astronaut Doug Wheelock and Yale scholar Miroslav Volf. More information is available at www.oc.edu/honors.