Walk with honors

Program an asset in, out of class.


Photo courtesy of Emilio Gomez

From closest to farthest, Annalica Gutierez, Thyra Cobbs, Alex Sterling, Matt Carson and Bianca Arechiga. They are on a hike in Yosemite on the Honors Retreat during the weekend of Sept. 13-15.

Spencer Batute, @BatuteSpencer

Have you ever wanted a program that offers cool classes, academic opportunities, fun trips and a sense of community, all in one? Look no further than Los Medanos College’s Honors Program.

The Honors Program, now entering its 21st year at LMC, offers students a wide variety of benefits including partnerships with top universities, uniquely designed and engaging classes, personal transfer guidance and social opportunities for students.

One of the program’s most well-known draws is its partnership with high-profile four-year universities.

These partnerships offer guaranteed, or priority admissions and scholarships to top-name colleges. For example, through the Honors Program, LMC is the only East Bay college to participate in the UCLA Transfer Alliance Program, a program that can almost triple odds of admission to UCLA’s College of Letters and Science.

The Honors Program also offers customized courses with smaller class sizes and more intimate student-professor relations. Courses range from Honors versions of GE classes to specifically designed interdisciplinary courses in which students learn about real-world issues and ethical dilemmas.

“It’s like a college AP class,” said Honors Director Jennifer Saito on the rigor of Honors courses.

Ryan Hiscocks, an Honors professor, said, “Students [in Honors courses] are generally more engaged, and did more work and with a higher quality.”

Professor Scott Cabral added, “In my Honors astronomy classes, I cover a number of interesting topics that I do not cover in the non-Honors classes. For example, the Honors students learn about the five eras of the universe, which we do not have time to cover in a standard class.”

Emilio Gomez, an Honors student, commented on the benefit of Honors courses, “Rather than taking normal classes, you learn to take certain concepts and apply them to your life.”

That said, the Program offers students more than just honors and—it offers a community.

All Honors Program members are automatically members of the Honors Club, “an extra-curricular student organization which adds a social and leadership dimension to the Honors Program,” according to the Honors Student Handbook.

The Club puts on events like pizza parties, volunteering at community events, and trips to college campuses and beyond.

The most recent Club event was the annual fall Yosemite retreat. This year’s retreat, which took place Sept. 13 to 15, was attended by 26 students and seven faculty members. Activities included star-viewing, hiking in Yosemite, and presentations by various faculty members.

“It was a great experience, and there were a lot of new people,” said Lopez.

A cornerstone of the Honors Club is the Honors Center, a social space where Honors members are free to hang out and collaborate with one another. The Center offers members resources like computer access, free printing, tables, couches and other general office supplies.

“It’s sort of a way to turn Los Medanos into your home,” said Saito, commenting on the Honors Club. “We are a community on campus. A place where you belong.”

While applications for membership in the fall semester are no longer open, applications for spring 2020 will be opening soon.

For more information on the Honors Program, visit the Honors Center located in the portable outside of the College Complex or the Honors website at losmedanos.edu/honors/, or contact Honors Director Jennifer Saito at [email protected].