news-category: Summer Enrichment Programs

Gardner-Webb Honors Experience, July 14-19, Introduces Qualified High School Students to College Life

Participants Automatically Invited to Compete for Full-Tuition Scholarship

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—The Honors Experience at Gardner-Webb University this summer invites students to explore an array of topics through innovative learning techniques. Offered July 14-19, the program gives high-achieving high school students an opportunity to experience all aspects of life on the GWU campus from attending classes and chapel to staying in residence halls and eating at the many campus dining options.

Professor and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Dr. Robert Prickett noted the planning team’s excitement over the wide variety of courses to be offered. “Due to interest and demand, we have upped the number of academic interests, ranging from photography to psychology to physics to exercise science and more,” he related. “What is really exciting about the Honors Experience is that we are getting at these academic fields through the study of viruses, Taylor Swift, NASCAR, podcasts, food, and more. Thus, we are combining our amazing faculty and their interests to present such engaging and meaningful interactions and education.”

The college immersion program is open to students in grades nine through 11 who have an unweighted GPA of at least 3.7. Students who are accepted into the program are automatically invited to compete for Gardner-Webb’s Ignite Excellence Scholarship for a chance to win a full-tuition scholarship.

Gardner-Webb President Dr. William M. Downs shared his praise of The Honors Experience: “The clearest indicator we have of this program’s impact is that summer participants so often turn later into enrolled students at GWU. Those of us who work and learn at Gardner-Webb know first-hand what a special place this is, but high schoolers won’t just take our word for it; instead, they too need to live it to believe it. For high-ability students, the combination of a rigorous but engaging weeklong curriculum along with a glimpse into our strong Christian community really is the experience they need as they prepare for college.” 

The credit-bearing college courses are designed to help students engage academics with Christian faith.

Courses include:

  • Dr. Jennifer Buckner, Professor of English — Mic Drop: Writing with Sound
  • 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
  • Jessica Maloney, Assistant Professor of Photography and Design — Delicious Perspectives: Exploring Food Photography
  • Dr. Joshua Vadeboncoeur, Assistant Professor of Sport Management — Stock Cars and Society
  • Jessica Grant, Assistant Professor of American Sign Language — Voice of Silence: See the World Through Deaf Eyes
  • Dr. Iva Naydenova, Professor of Psychology and Counseling — Fatal Attractions: Introduction to the Study of Close Relationships
  • Dr. Meredith Rowe, Associate Professor of Biology — Viruses, Vaccines, and You
  • Dr. Nicole Waters, Professor of Nursing, and Angel Queen, Instructor of Nursing — Taylor Swift’s Tortured Poets Department Seminar: Exploring the Poetic Depths of Swift’s Eras

Another essential part of the program is providing students community service opportunities, which are coordinated by Gardner-Webb’s Associate Minister for Community Engagement & Athletic Ministries, Robbie Gaines. “The Honors Experience at Gardner-Webb is truly transformative because of the faith-oriented atmosphere and the relationships made with other participants, staff, and faculty,” Gaines observed. “This experience taps into the vibrancy of campus life that gives a glimpse to prospective students on what makes GWU feel like home. Designed to be an immersive experience living on campus and traveling to field experiences, the Honors Experience lays the foundation for a student’s success in college.”

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.   

The cost to attend is $600, which covers five nights of lodging and meals, transportation to field experiences, course instruction, activity fees, and materials. A $50 application discount is offered to children of current faculty, staff, and alumni; a student who brings a friend to apply (both receive the discount), and returning Honors Experience participants.

Applications must be submitted by July 1. 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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