Student leaders of Citizen & Self (HON 251) reflect on the course

This is the second in a series of blog roundtables for the Honors course Citizen and Self (read the first on here). The students here completed the course last year and then applied to be a part of the course’s leadership team this semester. They act as coaches, editors, and support to the current students, working closely with the professors to develop and adjust the course. A central part of the course is the idea that learning is most likely when the material is engaging, inspiring, and relevant. The student leadership team for the course works hard to help make this happen. Students who have taken Citizen and Self are eligible to apply to be on the leadership team for the Spring 2013 semester. You should contact Prof. Elizabeth Gish ( for more information on applying.

Anna Helton is originally from Dothan, Alabama but later moved to Glasgow, Kentucky. She graduated from High School in 2011 and is majoring in History and French. An interest in octopi led her to, unfortunately, choose Biology as a major at one point. Her interests include cats, libraries, stream-of-consciousness, the 16th century, Hieronymous Bosch, and a multitude of other dead people. She plans to study abroad in Europe, specifically France and the British Isles. At the moment, she plans to go to graduate school to study library sciences and history with a specialty in book and library history. Her dream is to be an academic librarian at anywhere that she is employable.

Phil Pearson is from Belleville, Illinois, a mere 5 minutes from St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated from Belleville Township High School West in 2011. He is majoring in History with a focus on Pre-Law. His hobbies include playing sports for fun or competition, for example, soccer or volleyball. He also follows just about every sport religiously. He is also a die-hard fan of the Harry Potter series. His future plans include going to Law School and then begin his career as a prosecution attorney. (Phil is pictured here with two other Citizen and Self graduates: Adam Rumor and Ben Conniff.)

Sarah Brazier grew up in Wadsworth, Ohio as the middle child of seven. After graduating from Wadsworth Senior High School in 2010, she came to WKU where she is studying Broadcast News. On the weekends she attends tournaments across the country with the WKU Forensics team, and when her thoughts are not occupied by performance, she reads Hemingway, writes prose-poetry, and thinks about if she’s chewing on “food” or a “food-like-product.” In the future, she plans to pursue greatness, live in Texas, go to Delphi, Greece, and save the world, one recycled water-bottle at a time.

Kaitlyn Dickinson was born in Owensboro, KY, but grew up in Muhlenberg County, KY. She has lived in Bowling Green for about 10 years. After graduating from Greenwood High School in 2011, she decided to pursue her dream of going to law school by declaring her major as English, with professional writing and Pre-Law concentrations. Her job at a local law firm is one of her favorite things. She does real estate and divorce work at this law firm and thoroughly enjoys the stressful atmosphere that comes along with it. Her hobbies include watching TV including NCIS and the Bachelor, reading action/romance novels, and going on random and crazy adventures with her best friends. Her future plans are to attend a law school and begin her successful career as an attorney.

Jordon Hagan grew up in Tompkinsville, KY and graduated from Monroe County High School in 2011. Growing up in a family of business owners, she feels a passion to pursue a career in business and is double majoring in Business Administration and Accounting. She loves to travel the world with her mom, get ambushed by her three pugs, and is a health enthusiast. Jordon’s future plans include furthering her education with a MBA; discovering more corners of the world; and living a full, healthy life while inspiring others to do so as well.

Bradley Blankenship was born and raised in Scottsville, KY. He is a biology major with a Pre-Med focus, planning to pursue a career in oncology. He enjoys traveling anywhere and everywhere, and plans to study aboard in Greece and Kenya while here at WKU. He enjoys most every genre of music, playing piano and acoustic guitar, as well as spending time with his family, friends, and SAE fraternity brothers.

You took Citizen and Self last year and then decided to come back to be part of the course again for independent study credit. Why is that?

Kaitlyn: I fell in love with this class last semester. It took up a lot of my time, but the rewards were outstanding. I wanted to take all that I learned and give back to the new students. I wanted to show them that the more you put into the class, the more you will get out. I’ve never been challenged this much in a class before, so the curriculum, questioning, and intense discussions were quite new to me. I knew I wanted to come back, as I will continue to come back for semesters in the future.

Anna: Citizen and Self presents a great opportunity for students to grapple with the real issues of community that often get glossed over by either misdirected idealism or politicized negativity. This class helped me to gain a sense of personal empowerment in taking on roles in the community, and in many ways changed the way I looked at the oft-complicated reality of “change.” This I think is a very transforming experience that I wanted to continue being involved with.

Phil: I felt like I could give back to this class which gave to me much more than a measly grade. The concept that is being delivered in this class has so many benefits besides another school class. In addition, I know how difficult it is to take a class like this in your first semester, because it truly is unlike anything I’ve ever taken, so I was more than happy to help out and try to guide the students this semester, making their lives a little easier.

Sarah: It was the first time the my role in the world didn’t feel quite so sterile. Suddenly problems were tangible, moveable, changeable things. Like everyone else, I felt empowered, important, and I wanted to give someone else that opportunity. I love asking questions. I love chatting with strangers. I love finding out why people do what they do. Being on the student leadership team was a great opportunity for me to do that.

Jordon: This course was rather challenging for me. I felt the questions presented had a philosophical bent, which forced me to think deeper, dream bigger, and question more. I personally developed so much through this course and continue to till this day because of the doors that were opened for me. I wanted to return to the course to encourage others and help guide them towards their own discovery of themselves. I wish to see the students reflect on this class and see it as a tremendous stepping stone in their journey through discovering their purpose and goals in life.

Bradley: Some of the discussions we had in the class last year really struck a chord with me. I wanted to continue to be a part of this course so that hopefully I could connect with the new students this semester and help them reap the same benefits I did, as well as learning more myself.

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One Response to Student leaders of Citizen & Self (HON 251) reflect on the course

  1. Jan says:

    Such an interesting article. It makes me want to take the class! These students certainly are interesting. It’s encouraging to know these future leaders are on the road to changing the world. We need more like them.

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