Honors Course Spotlight – Eva Koster ENTO 210

Besides stand-alone Honors sections, students pursuing Honors graduation distinctions at the department, college, or university level can earn Honors course credit through course contracts, independent study, graduate courses, or in stacked (or embedded) Honors sections. Stacked Honors sections have the same professor and meet at the same time and place as the non-Honors section (sometimes with an additional meeting), but have broader, deeper, or more complex learning experiences and expectations. In this post, University Scholar and biomedical sciences major Eva Koster ’18 describes her experience in a stacked Honors section.

By Eva Koster ‘18

Eva Koster '18
Eva Koster ’18

This past fall I was enrolled in Global Public Health Entomology (ENTO 210). This class focused on vector-borne diseases and their impact not only on human health but socio-economic development throughout the world. These course objectives further led into discussions about the public health infrastructure as well as various vector control measures.

Once I glanced through the syllabus, I knew I wanted to expand on my knowledge in this area. After taking a similar course the previous semester, I was hooked on anything that could potentially cause a zombie apocalypse. When Dr. Michel Slotman, the course professor, offered a separate honors section for ENTO 210, I jumped at the chance. Dr. Slotman explained that this separate section will still attend the regular course, but will compose an additional scientific research paper outside of class. The honors students were to analyze malaria vector monitoring data collected by his team in Bioko Island from 2009 to 2013, which included insecticide resistance frequency, human biting rates and malaria infection rates. We were to interpret our findings in terms of the impact of mosquito population control.
To be honest, I was very apprehensive at first. I had never written a research paper before, much less analyzed years’ worth of data statistically and coherently. But Dr. Slotman and his teaching assistants must have sensed that we would have no idea where to begin, and they offered us an abundant amount of guidance and assistance throughout the entire semester. The daunting task was now surprisingly very manageable.

My aspiration is to become a physician, and after shadowing a few doctors I’ve realized the importance of continuing one’s education by keeping up-to-date with recent discoveries. I recognized that it was not only important to be able to interpret data collected in a study, but to be able to incorporate this analysis to a plan of action, whether that be a disease treatment or prevention measures. Thanks to this honors course, I have gained invaluable knowledge in how to approach a problem, and I have humbly gained self-confidence that I am able to do so effectively.

Because of the honors section of ENTO 210, I am now pursuing research that has to do with zoonotic diseases and their impact on humans. By simply following my interests, I was granted an opportunity to expand my knowledge and worldview. And I beg you to do the same. Who knows, maybe thanks to an honors course contract you’ll be able to stop a zombie apocalypse one day.

For more information about options for earning Honors credit, visit http://honors.tamu.edu/Honors/Earning-Honors-Credit.

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