news-category: Summer Enrichment Programs

Gardner-Webb Honors Experience Introduces Qualified High School Students to College Life

students in a classroom

Participants Automatically Invited to Compete for Full-Tuition Scholarship

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—While experiencing life on the Gardner-Webb campus, high-achieving high school students attending this summer’s Honors Experience can learn about writing with sound, the physics of everything, or other topics. More importantly, the program will incorporate scholarship and service by involving students in activities to help neighbors in need. 

The college immersion program is open to academically gifted and talented students in grades nine through 11 and will be offered July 16-21. Students who are accepted into the program are automatically invited to compete for Gardner-Webb’s Ignite Excellence Scholarship.

“The Honors Experience has evolved into a real signature summer program at GWU,” praised Gardner-Webb President Dr. William M. Downs. “Participants get a unique insight into what it means to be a student at a world-class, Christian university. What’s so special is that many of these high schoolers subsequently make GWU their college of choice, and that’s a win for everybody. When high-ability, high-character young people walk onto our campus for the Honors Experience, chances are we’ve just welcomed new Runnin’ Bulldogs to the family.”

The credit-bearing college courses are designed to help students engage academics with Christian faith. “Faculty from various backgrounds have prepared custom collegiate-level courses within their areas of interest, offering prospective students a compact university experience,” noted Director of University Honors and Assistant Professor of Physics, Dr. Wilson L. Hawkins.

Courses include:

  • Dr. Jennifer Buckner, Professor of English — Mic Drop: Writing with Sound
  • Dr. David Granniss, Associate Professor of Exercise Science — Exercise Science: An Intro to How We Improve
  • Dr. Paula Qualls, Professor of Religious Studies — Lions, & Tigers, & Prayers, Oh My!: Danger and Prayer in the Bible
  • Dr. Wilson Hawkins, Assistant Professor of Physics — Atoms to Galaxies: The Physics of Everything
  • Ms. Jessica Maloney, Assistant Professor of Photography and Design — The Art of Storytelling Through Image-Making: Photography and Videography
  • Dr. Venita Totten, Professor of Chemistry — Forensics: Sherlock Holmes to CSI

In addition to the academics, an essential part of the Honors Experience is providing students community service opportunities. “Students will meet the people of our community, serve them and serve alongside them,” asserted Robbie Gaines, associate minister for Community Engagement & Athletic Ministries. “Wherever our students come from, they will engage with the people, learning how to identify the needs of the community and actively serving them. Then, wherever they go from here, they will have the heart and tools to care for their neighbors. It is our commitment to ‘become an indispensable partner to the town, county, and region.’ This is one way that we inspire students to do the same.”

Along with their community service, the students will collaborate on an Innovation Challenge that brings classroom learning together with community engagement. Before they arrive, students will receive a prompt related to a problem affecting the community. When they come to campus, they will be divided into teams to work together on creating solutions. At the end of the week, they will present their ideas to a panel of faculty, staff and community partners.   

Applications must be submitted by July 1, 2023. Learn more about the Honors Experience and apply, here.

Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request 10 working days prior to the event.  Please call 704-406-4270 or email [email protected] with your request.

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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