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What BHC Can Do for You

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Bing Honors College program goals

  • To give you space, resources, and an uninterrupted block of time in which to focus on your thesis
  • To enhance opportunities for you to form mentoring relationships with faculty and advanced graduate students
  • To foster intellectual community and mutual support among students pursuing honors work, both within and across academic disciplines

You can focus on whatever aspect of your thesis you want to

  • Reading
  • Finding experimental strategies or critical approaches
  • Narrowing your topic
  • Starting a literature review
  • Writing a partial outline
  • Drafting text
  • Collecting, analyzing and/or integrating data

What the Students Say

Do you think that participating in BHC gave you an edge either academically or pre-professionally, and if so, why?

A resounding yes! I think that having the block of time in the summer gave me an edge to put more effort into my thesis rather than trying to spread my time out between my thesis and classes during the school year. By the time I took Bio199W (the thesis course satisfying my writing in the major requirement) I had already completed all of the writing necessary for that.

--Georgia Toal (Biology, Class of 2016)

BHC most definitely gave me an edge academically. I had my entire literature review written before the academic year started. Pre-professionally, BHC also matured my writing. I am now much more confident when I am writing up scientific papers for publication.

--Christine Yeh (Biology, Firestone Medal Winner, Class of 2016)

What was your sense of community while participating in BHC?

There was a strong sense of community within my BHC cohort, definitely. Since I wrote a thesis in American Studies, there wasn’t really a cohort for my major, so I was placed with the English department’s. Professor Stavely was amazing at making me feel welcomed and helped, even though I wasn’t in the major. During fall quarter, she checked in with me about my thesis process, going above and beyond in providing assistance to someone who wasn’t even in her department. I felt community with the English cohort because we all were braving new academic territories together—none of us had undertaken research like this before, and we commiserated through that experience.

--Benina Stern (American Studies, Class of 2016)

I did build a community during BHC because we spent so much time together. From there, it was comforting to see familiar faces in classes and having this unspoken solidarity that we were both flooded with class and thesis work. I didn't feel alone. I felt supported.

--Norma Gonzalez (Human Biology, Class of 2016)

BHC students at the closing dinner

How did Bing Honors College contribute to you achieving your research and writing goals for senior year and beyond?

BHC helped me plan a timeline for my research and made me think seriously about the scope of my claim -- as a historian, it is always a challenge to balance being narrow enough to be provable in your claim as well as broad enough to be interesting. BHC forced me to start grappling with that balance. The single two most helpful aspects of the program were making us read past successful theses and introducing us to forms of writing software. The first gave us a frame of reference for how the component parts of this massive writing exercise fit together, and the latter exposed us to information we simply didn't have before on writing software.

--Holly Dayton (History, Class of 2017)

Making the jump from assisting with other people's research to suddenly having to become creative is not an easy task, but BHC was perfect because it brought together people going through the same experience, under the guidance of a professor who had been through the process too. I really don't know if I would have come up with my topic had I not participated in BHC, and I'm glad that I did because I'm still working on research related to my thesis to this day (when I'm not doing problem sets)! Of course all of the other support provided by BHC and the Hume Center more generally were extremely helpful throughout the year, especially the opportunity to work with a writing specialist. The style, structure, and ultimately content of the paper were much better for it.

--Miguel Acosta (Public Policy, Class of 2014, Current Columbia PhD in Economics)

BHC students at the opening dinner

BHC was definitely integral in shaping my work ethic for my thesis senior year, making sure that I wrote at least a little bit every week, no matter how bad I thought my writing was at the time.

--Benina Stern

[My advisor] pushed me to be a stronger researcher, even through the tears and doubts. She was there. The writing boot camps helped strengthen my motivation to work on my thesis. I also had other brains to pick when I ran into trouble. I achieved my goals in completing my research and presentation a month ahead of my peers. I was ready because of the guidance I received through BHC and the Hume Center.

--Norma Gonzalez