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Past Winners

2016- Faith Taylor- Jamaica

When Faith Taylor ’19 decided to research coral in the Bahamas, the first thing she had to do was learn how to breathe under water.

“I had never snorkeled before, so I had to learn how not to drown,” laughed Taylor, of Columbia, MD.

The marine science–biology major, who was the 2016 recipient of the Timothy M. Smith Inspiration Through Exploration Award, spent five days on the Abaco Islands, where she compared the current health of a reef that had been studied 52 years prior.

The Timothy M. Smith Inspiration Through Exploration Award is an annual grant given to stimulate international travel and writing among Honors Program students. The award was established to honor the life of Smith, a lawyer by trade, whose true passion was traveling the world.

Past recipients have taught English and cared for elephants in Sri Lanka, studied mixed-ability dance concepts in England, learned about dolphin-assisted therapy in Turkey, volunteered with a nonprofit providing free cleft surgery to children in Ghana and worked with researchers from the Pacific Whale Foundation in Australia.

Taylor heard about the award through her Pathways to Honors course as a first-year student where she was required to write a draft application for practice. When she received positive feedback from her professor, Taylor decided to submit it for real.

“I didn’t think I’d get it as a freshman,” she said. “Having that relationship with my professors was incredibly helpful.”

Taylor’s Introduction to Marine Science professor, Michael Slattery, helped Taylor craft her research project and assisted in its implementation in the Bahamas. The two hope to continue researching the area in summers to come and present their findings at a conference and in an academic journal.

“It was amazing that he was able to help along the way,” said Taylor, a President’s Leadership Fellow and vice president of UT’s Environment Protection Coalition. “I learned a lot, and that it’s hard to do alone.”

Slattery and his wife were planning on taking a vacation anyway, so the opportunity aligned well, and he saw it as an opportunity to facilitate the professional growth of a student.

“When you have the opportunity to engage with a student having Faith’s drive to get involved with marine science and ability (proactively on her own in this case) you just can’t let that chance pass you by,” said Slattery. “For me it’s an opportunity to further engage with a delightful student showing incredible promise as a professional. Ultimately, it’s a lot of fun getting involved with students outside the classroom and serves as a learning experience for me as much as them.”

Slattery said what Taylor learns in the classroom sets a good foundation for what she can apply in the real world.

“Doing independent or even closely monitored research takes that applied knowledge to the next level and further increases the student’s chance of success as a professional,” he said. “These skills to conduct research (field research, lab research and analysis) are coveted by employers and graduate schools.”

Taylor, a member of UT’s track team with a school record for the 4x4, has volunteered and interned in aquariums, attracted to their beauty and with respect for the work nonprofits do. She is spending this semester as a coral education intern at the Florida Aquarium. She rides her bicycle there three days a week, facilitating the touch tanks where guests dip their hands into shallow tanks to feel bamboo sharks, stingrays, anemones and sea stars. She also coordinates interactive programs for guests.

“Working at the aquarium has changed my career goals,” said Taylor, who now sees herself possibly pursuing a career in academia. “I love animals, but I learned that I love educating people. Animals are fun, but more so when you know more about them.”

Taylor said her time in the Bahamas gave her a deep appreciation for the need for conservation.

“I’ve never been able to take my marine science outside of the aquarium until now,” said Taylor, thankful for her firsthand experience and concerned about future generations’ ability to do so. “It’s just so different seeing animals in their natural habitat.”

2015- Griffin Guinta- Dublin Ireland

An excerpt from Griffin's blog he wrote daily while in Ireland. To read full blog click here

"Before I begin, I have to start by saying that Ireland is amazing. The people are incredibly friendly, the food is spectacularly bland, and the scenery is unbeatable. Life is perfect here, it would seem.

For some, though, Ireland isn’t seen through rose-colored glasses. In the city today, I spotted a myriad of homeless individuals in some of the more tourist-centric areas. You may not have noticed them if you weren’t looking, however. Most were cloistered up in some kind of sleeping bag or blanket, “turtling” inside their makeshift forts to escape the harsh Dublin winds. When they did peek out, it was only to check if anyone had tossed a few euros in their Styrofoam cups.

Before I approached any of the homeless individuals, I stopped by Focus Ireland, a non-profit organization that seeks to get people off the street and return them back to the workforce. A representative named Melissa agreed to meet with me for an interview later in the week. I’m hoping she can provide some insight as to what exactly is being done to help remedy the highly apparent issue. From what I’ve gleaned so far, it doesn’t seem to be a lot.

Two homeless individuals in particular stood out to me today: Keith and Steven. Keith gave me a brilliant interview at the modest price of a few crisps and a soda, and Steven had written a poem in chalk about unnecessary judgement of homeless people. From what they told me, neither were into drugs, alcohol or other addictions. They were instead caught in a catch 22 wherein they could not hold a steady job. In order to have a job in Dublin, one must have a permanent address. However, all the money that they saved for a permanent home had to be used for food, clothing, and temporary housing.  Speaking of which, both Keith and Steven feel that there is a distinct lack of housing options for low-income individuals. I haven’t fact checked this yet, but Steven even claimed that some of the temporary hostels encouraged drug use as a means of coping."

Me in my stage managing outfit

2014- Eden Frazier- Great Britain

I boarded the flight to London Heathrow on June 23rd, 2014 knowing how to be a tourist in Britain. A slightly oblivious passerby whose interaction with the local population is limited to questions like, “where is the nearest bus stop?” and whose main goal is to see as many stereotypical landmarks as possible. Despite my anglophiliac nature and my two previous visits to Great Britain, I remained a happy tourist.

I boarded the same flight knowing how to be a dance student in America. Show up to class six nights a week, learn six different ways of doing a step from six different teachers, dance in two major performances a year, spend four weeks of summer training eight hours a day with six other teachers, go home, repeat. Simple and exhausting.

I boarded that flight with a vision of how my trip was going to go. I assumed I would be observing lots of classes and rehearsals, taking lots of notes, and hopefully dancing a bit, and I expected my tourist knowledge to suffice for the most part.

My name is Eden Frazier, and I am a junior student at the University of Tampa studying physics and dance. I applied for the Timothy M. Smith award to travel to the United Kingdom to work with GDance, a company that specializes in inclusive dance practice. I knew I would be supporting their during production called Stuck in the Mud, which combines professional ballet dancers from Ballet Cymru, professional disabled dancers, dancers from the community, and primary school children into a whole dance performance. What I didn't know is that it would I would be participating in so many things beyond that production and that I would be learning much more beyond dance.

My first truly new experience was working in an office. To some this might seem dull and boring.

To me, office work was intimidating and intriguing. For the first time, I was stepping behind the curtain to see the inner workings of a dance company. The company’s director, Cath, gave me plenty to keep me busy. She set me to work on mailing promotional materials to target audiences in Swansea, Wales.

In addition to my office work, the GDance team gave me a list of classes to observe and symposiums to attend. I observed an integrated class with VIA Dance Company, I attended Dance4, a dance festival that featured symposiums about the development of integrated dance as well as performances, I watched the final presentations of a group of primary school children that had been training with an associate of GDance, and I attended a PE teachers’ conference with another representative of GDance. Seeing such a wide variety of people and hearing about so many different advancements and opportunities really showed me how far GDance’s network extends and how much integrated dance itself encompasses. Although there are still many barriers in the dance world that need to be broken down, the field of integrated dance continues to grow and expand, especially in the UK.

After nearly a week of a pleasant office job, I made my way to Swansea to support the production of Stuck in the Mud. I had no idea what my duties would be in relation to Stuck in the Mud, but I was excited to see the professional dancers in action and to be around the familiar rehearsal atmosphere again. The production team kept me on my toes for the entire week. I took morning class with Ballet Cymru and the disabled dancers each day, then for the rest of the day I did a variety of tasks from assisting with the community cast to shopping trips to prop management to costume alterations and repair. In between I watched as much of rehearsals as I could.

By the time the performances rolled around I had a list of jobs and props I was wholly responsible for, and I could focus on those specific things. My main job was prop management: making sure the silks were folded and set in their proper places and making sure an adequate amount of balloons were prepped and set for the finale. 

While I worked very hard during my residency in Britain, I still reserved some personal time to be a tourist. I visited Gloucester Cathedral and the birthplace of Shakespeare at Stratford-upon-Avon. As a very big science fiction fan, I went to the city of Cardiff to see the Doctor Who Experience. My dad and I took some lovely drives through the countryside, stumbling across some off-the-beaten-path villages along the way. I spent my last Monday in England exploring London, particularly locations associated with Sherlock Holmes, with my dad. I really tried to make the most out of every moment I had in such a wonderful country.

My time in Britain with the GDance team affected me in many ways, some expected, some unexpected. As anticipated, I learned an incredible amount about integrated dance itself. Immersing myself in integrated classes, performances, and seminars really opened my eyes to how straightforward inclusive practices can be. There really is no special secret to teaching an integrated dance class. The special secret lies in generating interest among dance teachers, potential dancers, and their guardians. I hope to see the integration movement continue to spread in Britain and to become an accepted idea here in America.

Within my six days spent in the office, I noticed an increase in my adaptation to English culture. I had never really considered the cultural differences until I was submerged in a work environment with English people. I learned how to write a British business letter, being sure to end with “yours sincerely” or “yours faithfully.” I started subconsciously changing my vocabulary from words like “awesome” and “great” to “lovely” and “brilliant.” I learned that there is a mandatory cup of tea to be drunk at 2 pm each day. I discovered that Wellingtons are rain boots and that “Doctor Who” and “Tardis” are household words. I tried to soak up as much of the culture as I could. I had the chance to meet some of the hardest-working, sweetest people in the world while in England who were completely willing to help me along with anything and everything.

When talking with other dancers and instructors, I began to appreciate the differences between dance education in America and Europe. I take for granted the variety of training and teachers I have had, even within the small realm of ballet. I also forget that most legitimate dance schools in England and Europe use an exam system; in order for students to progress, they have to pass dance exams and prove they can complete a certain set class. Such a structured curriculum produces excellent dance students, but for dance students with disabilities of any sort, the exam system can really hold them back. In America, integrating dance students of any abilities into a class should be simple, although sometimes, depending on the biases of the instructor, welcoming these students is far from easy.

Interestingly, I also got the opportunity to see what transpires behind the scenes in a dance company. My usual place in a dance production is on the stage; I did not know exactly what went on to make all that possible. Working on Stuck in the Mud with GDance, whether it was in the office or on site in Swansea, really taught me about the unseen individuals that make a production run smoothly. Working with the production team taught me a great deal about hard work and unsung heroes.

I boarded my flight from London Heathrow on July 15th, 2014 full of new memories, a new culture, new lessons learned, and new connections made. I experienced so much beyond what I could have ever imagined when I applied for the award in the fall of 2013. I will continue to find inspiration from this trip for the rest of my life.

Katelyn with her new friends in Ghana.

2013 - Katelyn Edwards Board Smile Train to Ghana

In Ghana, Katelyn Edwards first noticed the pothole, polka dot roads with street vendors walking precariously through the lines of traffic. Once she got outside the urban buzz of Kumasi, the warmth of hospitality took over.

Edwards, an English major with art and economics minors, was in Ghana this July as a volunteer with Smile Train, a nonprofit whose mission is to provide free cleft surgery to children in developing countries, train doctors and medical professionals, and provide speech therapy, dentistry and orthodontics.

Edwards stayed with Dr. Solomon Obiri-Yeboah, a plastic surgeon at Smile Train's sponsored partnership, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.

“More than simply offering me a place to stay, the entire Yeboah family treated me as one of their own,” Edwards said. “The children called me Auntie Kate.”

Despite the 5:30 a.m. rooster wake up call, Edwards said she enjoyed her host family, helping get the children ready for school before she headed to the hospital with Yeboah. Edwards joined surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses to observe the cleft surgeries, blogging about the experience for Smile Train and photographing before and after photos of the children as well as gathering informal data from the children’s mothers. In the afternoons, Edwards joined the hospital social worker on follow-up calls to healing patients in rural communities.

Edwards, of Orlando, was this year’s recipient of the Timothy M. Smith Inspiration Through Exploration Award. The award was established to honor the life of Smith, a lawyer by trade, whose true passion was traveling the world.

Past recipients have taught English and cared for elephants in Sri Lanka, studied Spanish in Costa Rica, learned about dolphin-assisted therapy in Turkey and worked with researchers from the Pacific Whale Foundation in Australia.

Edwards wanted to work with Smile Train because she grew up in a family that supported the organization. Edwards’ younger brother, Spencer, was born with a cleft lip and palate, however her family was able to cover the expenses to cover his necessary surgeries. Smile Train helps families that aren’t so fortunate, and the Edwards are long-time supporters.

“This cause has always been near and dear to our hearts, and to get a chance to do something so hands-on is amazing,” Edwards said.

In addition to her UT travel scholarship, she has raised more than $4,500 to cover additional travel expenses as well as cleft surgeries for eight Ghanaian children. Her advocacy efforts are important to changing the stigma of those born with clefs.

“In a developing world where superstition supplants science, people do not understand that a cleft is caused either by genetics or environmental influences, such as maternal smoking or alcohol consumption,” Edwards said. “Through my work with the Smile Train and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, I hope that we can dispel such an ignorant understanding of clefts.”

 

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Sommer Kuhn ’13 observed dolphin-assisted therapy with the help of the Timothy M. Smith Inspiration Through Exploration Award.

2012 Turkish Trip is a Sommer Adventure

When Sommer Kuhn ’13 was a child, she traveled from Wisconsin with her family to Orlando’s Sea World. At the first sight of the dolphins, she was hooked.

“I fell in love with them,” said Kuhn, a marine biology major with a minor in psychology, who has since immersed herself in learning about the mammals. “I’ve come to really respect these amazing creatures.”

Kuhn was this year’s recipient of the Timothy M. Smith Inspiration Through Exploration Award, an annual grant given to stimulate international travel and writing among Honors Program students. The award was established to honor the life of Smith, a lawyer by trade, whose true passion was traveling the world.

Past recipients have taught English and cared for elephants in Sri Lanka, studied Spanish in Costa Rica and worked with researchers from the Pacific Whale Foundation in Australia. Kuhn went to Turkey.

She cast a wide net in search of facilities that offered dolphin-assisted therapy, an approach that integrates swimming with dolphins and one-on-one therapy. She wanted to spend her two weeks observing how people with challenges like autism, cerebral palsy and even depression, respond with this type of therapy. She found Dolphinland in Antalya, Turkey, and spent May 13-28 in the water with dolphins and on land, exploring the blended European and Middle Eastern culture in Turkey.

“It’s not a super scientific therapy, but it opens the door to other therapies, aiding with things like socialization,” said Kuhn.

Her 16-year-old brother’s autism and a search for an alternative to traditional therapies is what piqued her interested in the method. While in Turkey, she observed a 7-year-old German girl who had come to Dolphinland with her family to give dolphin therapy a try. Kuhn was able to be in the water with the girl and observe her change over the course of two weeks.

“To be able to share in the experience with her – in her joy and laughter – was a whole different reaction than I had seen in her arrival,” said Kuhn. “Being able to have an opportunity like this also brings her family together again in a shared experience.”

Professor Gary Luter, Honors Program director, said students who receive the Timothy M. Smith Award gain new perspectives through cross-cultural experiences and expand their understanding of global diversity.

"Most significantly, they leave their personal comfort zone and risk the unfamiliar," said Luter. "This last idea is key to becoming a truly educated person."

Kuhn, who is interning at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium this summer, said she’d like to find a career that marries her passions for special needs children and dolphins, and this experience in Turkey helped confirm her direction.

“It was an amazing and scary and awesome experience all at the same time,” said Kuhn, who was caught off guard the first time she heard the melodic Muslim call to prayer, seeing the mountains and Mediterranean waters in Olympus and enjoying conversations with a diverse group of travelers she met along the way. “It was very enriching to experience the culture there.”

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Poojah, a 25 yr old female elephant is probably the naughtiest elephant here. And I use naughty in the nice way here, meaning mischievous or even bordering on playful.

2011 - Kaushal Vaddiraj - The Sri Lankan Sojourn

The last two weeks passed really quickly and I am really going to miss MEF a lot( not the dung cleaning part though). I headed east last night on a train from Polgahawela to Trincomalee. Trincomalee is the largest port in the country and has two natural harbors. The city has been developed on the peninsula that divides these two harbors. My train reached early in the morning at around six. Deciding to immediately go and cover the Konneshwaram temple during the morning pooja I hired an auto.  After a lengthy exercise in translation I managed to get him to understand where exactly I wanted to go but he still dropped me only at the base of the hill. I did manage to hike up(I haven't done any climbing whatsoever since the Guadalupe escape!)  I hadn't really done my research on the temple so I was pleasantly surprised to find the temple on top of a hill which gives a panoramic view of both the harbors in Trincomalee. What I found quite interesting was one of the bays is known as Chinabay, simply because of the Chinese trade taking place here since the time of the Dutch. Though it had been destroyed several times by different colonialists, the temple always had been rebuilt by the generous donations of the Tamil population in Trincomalee.

Continue reading at http://theslsojourn.blogspot.com/

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2010 - Serena Edinger, Costa Rica


Serena Edinger ’11 has a life philosophy of “daring adventure or nothing.”

So when she was awarded the Timothy M. Smith Inspiration Through Exploration Award, she decided to head south to Costa Rica, work on her Spanish and travel the country.

She has seen an amazing countryside, photographed the rainforest clouds, snorkeled with fluorescent fish, heard the calls of rainbow-feathered parrots perched in trees and watched giant lizards comb the white beaches. She’s also navigated her way on a bus system using her broken Spanish, ended up in unintended cities having magical experiences and even jumped head-first in a 265-foot bungee jump off the Colorado River Bridge.

“I’ve had an incredible experience,” Edinger said. “Every day was an adventure.”

Edinger, an honors student who is studying nursing, knew that traveling was in her future but the opportunity and the funds hadn’t been as available as she had hoped. When she applied for the award, she decided to make the most of her experience.

During the weekdays, Edinger researched cultural sensitivity in a nursing framework by volunteering through International Volunteer HQ in San Jose. She split her time between three sites: a childcare program for disadvantaged youth who have survived domestic abuse, a home for AIDS patients and a private ambulance service. She provided health education such as teaching the children teeth-brushing techniques and the proper hand-washing method to the tune of “La Bamba” (Mi lavo mis manos... mi lavo mis manos con jabon y un poquito de agua....)

“Overall, this experience has been exhausting and challenging, yet invaluable,” said Edinger. “It has made me more globally aware and enhanced my appreciation for the culture. It has inspired a lifelong commitment to understanding the underlying factors behind poverty, poor health care and current health care issues worldwide.”

The impact this experience is having on Edinger – in something as basic and sterile as teaching blood pressure measurements to children – is apparent in one of her early travel blog entries (part of the requirements for the award, including a 5,000-word essay on return).

“I made a promise to myself today, inspired by those little laughs, those eager eyes, and those clinging arms around my legs,” Edinger said. “I made a promise to myself to influence the world with beautiful, helpful character... doing all the good I can, by all the means I can, in all the ways I can, in all the places I can, at all the times I can, to all the people I can, as long as ever I can.”

While traveling alone can be scary for young people, Dr. Gary Luter, director of the Honors Program, said it pays off in the end.

“It makes them more comfortable intermingling with people of other cultures and with taking risks,” he said. “It makes them more global citizens.”

Edinger’s weekends were spent exploring the country, enjoying hammock time and drinking the country’s famous coffee. Following a trip to Tortuga Island, Edinger summed up what travel has inspired in her on one of her final blog entries.

“As I lay on the pristine, baby-powder beach, I think to myself: every day should be as exhilarating as this one, full of mystery, overwhelming beauty, and energy,” she wrote. “I believe that every day can be full of curiosity, anticipation and ecstasy. Though each and every day may not begin with a run on a misty beach, followed by relaxing at beautiful waterfalls, and visiting mystical, remote islands, there should never be a dull page in the stories of our lives. Every day can be like a fairytale.”

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2009 - Erin Dumas, Greece and Turkey

For University of Tampa sophomore Erin Dumas, globetrotting is a way of life. In just the last few years, the international and cultural studies major has spent time in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

As this year’s recipient of the UT Honors Program’s Timothy M. Smith Inspiration Through Exploration scholarship, Dumas plans to spend next summer on Europe’s eastern edge, exploring Greece and Turkey.

The visit to Turkey carries with it a somewhat personal purpose for Dumas. Her older brother, a member of the U.S. Army Rangers, was recently deployed to the Middle East. The trip, she says, is an opportunity for her to get a sense of his life in his current surroundings.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to have been able to travel throughout much of Europe already,” Dumas said. “But much of my experience has been to countries that are more developed.”

In her application essay, Dumas explained to UT’s Faculty Honors Committee that Turkey represented a “crossroads” of cultures, between east and west. She intends to explore Istanbul and Athens as well as, time permitting, Crete and the other Greek Islands.

Dumas plans to pursue a career in a health-related field, specifically a job related to health care in developing countries. A long-term goal has been to join the Peace Corps to work in AIDS education in Africa. This past summer, she worked as an intern for a health-based education program geared toward parents and teens in her hometown of Portland, Maine.

“Having that experience and seeing the need for public health on the local level solidified my need to work internationally,” Dumas said.

The Timothy M. Smith Award is given annually to a UT Honors Program student to fund travel during the summer to virtually any destination worldwide. Students who win the highly competitive award receive $2,500 and are required to compose an essay detailing the experience upon their return to the United States.

Dr. Stephen Blessing, chair of the Faculty Honors Committee and assistant professor of psychology, said Dumas has had a well thought out proposal of how she wanted to use the award.

“She demonstrated a passion for travel and desire to learn more about the cultures of the world,” Blessing said.

While Dumas has been a world traveler throughout her life, her recent series of excursions began even before she enrolled at UT. As a high school student, she spent time at an American boarding school in Paris, France. Later, in her senior year, she joined a student exchange program that sent her to Tasmania in Australia for several months. While there, she befriended fellow students from countries throughout the world, including Italy, which she later visited as well.

Dumas chose to attend UT, in part, because of the many opportunities the school offers to study abroad.

Her trip to Greece and Turkey will follow a planned journey to Buenos Aires, Argentina, that scheduled for the spring semester. The Argentina trip is part of a UT Study Abroad program and will help Dumas complete a Spanish minor. She also earned credit toward her major from an Honors Abroad trip to Japan.

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2008 - Lorian Schweikert (Knapp), Australia

Over the course of 11 days next summer, University of Tampa sophomore Lorian Knapp will work aboard a boat in Hervey Bay, Australia, gathering information with a team of researchers from the Pacific Whale Foundation.

Using highly sophisticated marine science equipment, the team will spend eight hours per day locating and collecting data on the Australian humpback whale population.

The resulting research could find its way into any number of scholarly publications and provide influence on environmental policy worldwide.

The overseas voyage is a rare opportunity that Knapp chose to pursue upon her receipt of the Timothy M. Smith Inspiration Through Exploration Award – an annual scholarship awarded by the Faculty Honors Committee. The highly competitive award provides $2,000 to a UT Honors student for travel during the summer to virtually any destination. Upon returning to the U.S., the student is required to write an essay detailing his or her experiences overseas.

“Australia is a place I’ve always wanted to go,” Knapp said. “I was floored when they told me I had won. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t think I would get it.”

For Knapp, a native of Ronkonkoma, N.Y., who has never before traveled abroad, the award is one of her more notable achievements in less than two years at UT.

Knapp originally aspired to be an animal trainer at Sea World, so her initial academic interests were focused in the field of marine science. After having participated in an internship at Sea World, however, she decided that knowledge of psychology was essential to understanding animal behavior. Thus, she is now committed to a psychology major with a marine science minor, with aspirations of being a marine field researcher. Most of her extracurricular activities relate to these fields of study.

Among her academic achievements, she has recently started to work with Dr. Jeffrey Klepfer, an associate professor of psychology, in an honors research fellowship study that examines how emotions influence investment decisions.

“I knew it would be beneficial to have a very sharp student to help with the study,” Klepfer said. “Lorian is very bright. She has a lot of initiative and a winsome personality.”

Knapp is involved in all aspects of the study, a complex experiment involving the practice of giving extra credit points to students in UT psychology classes, Klepfer said. In addition to helping design and administer the study, Klepfer said Knapp would also assist with an analysis of the final data and a presentation of the initial results at a January conference. Klepfer added that the final results will likely be published in a peer-reviewed journal in psychology – something he hopes will benefit Knapp in future academic and professional pursuits.

“I would love to see it come to fruition before she graduates,” Klepfer said. “She’s a sophomore and already she has accomplished a lot here at the University. She’s just one of the very best. I would say she is one of the top 10 students I have taught at The University of Tampa, and I’ve been here since ’93 so that really says something.”

In addition to her academic involvement, Knapp serves as a resident assistant in UT’s Smiley Hall, is a violinist in the UT orchestra, an active member of Campus Crusade for Christ and one of the founders of a new group called Active Minds, which strives to raise awareness about students with mental health disorders on college campuses.

She has also participated in several internships and leadership activities that correlate with her interests in marine science and psychology. On a recent leadership excursion, she traveled to Crystal River, FL., to swim with manatees and other sea life.

“I’m used to having a lot of things to do,” Knapp said. “I feel very unproductive if I don’t.”

Knapp’s decision to use the Timothy Smith Award to fund an internship with the Pacific Whale Foundation was one that was particularly impressive to the members of the Faculty Honors Committee, according to Dr. Richard Piper, the Director of the Honors Program.

“Lorian had such a well-described project,” Piper said. “It tied right into her minor. Her’s was the most clearly presented and the best written.”

At the conclusion of her voyage overseas, Knapp will return to the United States and write an essay detailing her experiences for publication in Respondez!, UT’s honors journal. Beyond that, Knapp says she intends to participate in more research fellowships before going onto graduate school. 

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2007 - Amber Osbourne, Europe

Amber Osborne has been named by the faculty Honors Committee as the 2007 recipient of the Timothy M. Smith Inspiration Through Exploration Award.

The committee received four outstanding applications for this award, established by the family and friends of Timothy M. Smith. A lawyer by trade, Smith loved to travel and write about his many experiences.

In her application for the Timothy M. Smith Award, Amber submitted an essay titled “Mr. Standish,” and described her plans to travel to Europe in Summer 2007 and to write about her experiences there.

From Amber:

I have until recently been one of those people who thought that traveling to far off lands was going to New York City. I was born and raised in New Port Richey, FL for the full extent of my twenty one years on this planet. When I was a little girl I was told by my mother before she passed away from cancer, “You are too big of a person to be in such a small town.” I never really thought much of it till I got to travel to Germany last summer, then I realized exactly what she was talking about.

My creative strengths have always been writing and photography, however like any strength you need to exercise to make it stronger and to do that you need motivation and inspiration. Those are two things that I thought were stored and filed back with my high school diploma. Traveling, I have found is what gives me the inspiration to not only document my experiences but to turn the camera around on myself to figure out my own place in this world.

One of the things I found about traveling to foreign lands is that despite being thousands of miles away from home, nothing is really foreign. The people you meet may speak another language but they aren’t space aliens with laser rays, they are fellow human beings with lives, families, dreams and aspirations just like you. This is where my passion for traveling lies, in the meeting of these people and in experiencing their culture as they do in everyday life. It could be a Holocaust survivor in a café in Leipzig or homeless mohawked punk kids on a subway in Berlin. I have met so many interesting people in my travels to Europe so far, I want to meet all the billions I missed.

In this, I have found my meaning for life something that takes most people most of their lives. I will live in Germany, if only for a year or the rest of my days. As I have sadly learned from my mother, life is too short to sit around in a small town contemplating my fate. Among learning more about myself, I wish to learn more about the language, culture, politics and most of all the lives of people in Europe. For the only benefit I wish to receive is the knowledge that another little girl in New Port Richey may read about my experiences and know that the world outside her door isn’t such a scary place but a beautiful world where people love and live life.

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2006 - Adrienne Nadeau, Israel

Adrienne M. Nadeau, a junior writing major from Clearwater, has been awarded the Timothy M. Smith Inspiration Through Exploration Award by the UT Honors Committee.

The award is presented annually to an Honors Program student near the end of the fall semester. It provides a talented student author with an opportunity to travel and find additional inspiration for pursuing literary aspirations.

The selected student receives $2,000 for summer travel expenses. The award is offered through the Honors Program and funded by the family of Timothy M. Smith to honor his memory.

Nadeau has earned a nearly perfect 3.94 grade point average at the University while pursuing a rigorous Honors Program curriculum. In addition, she has had an article published in the 2005 issue of Respondez, the annual Honors Program nonfiction journal, and recently entered the Florida Collegiate Honors Council Writing Contest.

In her application for the Smith Award, she described her plans to travel to Israel in summer 2006 and write about her experiences there.

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2004 - Elizabeth Lew, Japan

From Elizabeth Lew:

Attached is a copy of the essay that I wrote after my trip to Kyoto, Japan. Also attached is a link to a few photos from my trip (they are too large to send over e-mail in good conscience).

I would like to thank you and your family and Inspiration through Exploration for this wonderful opportunity. Thank you, as well, for your enormous patience with me and with Tulane. This trip was very important to me, especially as I took it directly after hurricane Katrina and during a really difficult period in my life. It helped me to understand a great deal about my environment and about perspective.

I hope that your foundation will continue to impact the lives of young writers as deeply as it impacted mine.