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MCC Honors Program is on the grow

2017 Honors Graduates in caps and gowns

Several of the MCC Honors Graduates posed for a group photo prior to the May 2017 commencement ceremony. They are, front row: Luisa Ortega, Allison Roberts, Mariela Tellez, and Josh Benda; middle row: Yahaira Espinosa, Hannah Stone, Alyssa Strait and Megan Ellis; and back row: Lucas Ruby and Steve Adelmund.

Challenge, opportunity, motivation, mentoring and recognition are just a few of the reasons that interest is higher than ever in the Honors Program at Marshalltown Community College. Following record participation last spring semester, Honors Program Coordinator Marie Sheneman is committed to continued growth this year.

“The word is out about the MCC Honors Program,” says Sheneman, MCC Social Sciences Faculty. “We are emailing current students, talking to freshmen classes, distributing posters and brochures, putting news on our website … anything we can think of to get the word out about this opportunity.”

The program is for students who are willing to pursue and complete work beyond the academic requirements of regular courses. The work is designed to challenge students to think, analyze, investigate, and discover at a more advanced level than commonly demanded, and it provides special recognition and rewards for academically outstanding students.

“Most of the work is customized one-on-one between the Honors students and their professors,” says Sheneman. “Honors students may take regular courses for Honors credit, enroll in Honors seminars, complete individualized Honors projects, and have the opportunity to graduate with a degree in Honors if they complete all of the requirements. Our faculty are very committed to the Honors Program because we see the value and we enjoy working with these highly motivated students. The Honors courses and projects are always impressive, and receive positive feedback from everyone involved.”

Past Honors seminars have included such unique and socially relevant topics as Escaping North Korea, Tattoos & Piercings, Ghosts & Monsters, Mythbuster Math, Reasoning, Art in the Environment, The Leaf in the Pen, and The Hunger Games.

2016 graduate Megan Ellis of Marshalltown explains, “The MCC Honors Program benefitted me because it challenged me to become a better student academically. What I liked about the Honors Program was how we were challenged and the opportunities that my participation brought to the table.” 2017 graduate Mariela Tellez of Marshalltown added, “The Honors Program made me realize that I could do more than what I thought I was capable of.”

Last fall MCC hosted its first Honors Symposium, where Honors students had the opportunity to showcase their work in a public format. Sheneman said she hopes to have a similar event this year if there are enough projects ready to share and showcase.

MCC Biology Faculty Dr. Danielle Kness worked with multiple Honors students and projects last year. “The most rewarding part of working with a student on an Honors project is getting to know student and sharing in his or her excitement and satisfaction when all the hard work pays off in the end. It is a unique program that allows students to explore topics that they are passionate about or perhaps didn’t even know existed. The Honors Program allows students to unlock their inner potential, and the results have been amazing and inspiring!”

Sheneman adds, “The biggest selling point for the Honors Program, in my opinion, is the deeper one-on-one relationships that are formed between the student and faculty participants, which is priceless. Our faculty provides mentorship, they provide references, and they can offer a wealth of advice for Honors students both here and after graduation.”

Other benefits for Honors Program participants include reaching their fullest potential, experiencing unique learning opportunities, enhancing their academic transcripts, improving transfer and scholarship opportunities, and bolstering their resumes. In addition, MCC Honors participants get priority registration ahead of other students.

Anyone interested in more information about the MCC Honors Program can find details on the College website at Sheneman also welcomes calls and emails at 641-844-5733 or

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