Senior public relations major Everett Kirkman gained confidence and influenced change within the Honors College during her time as the organization’s 2020-21 president.
Everett began her time in this leadership position during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. She said though this led to disappointment because of canceled or postponed events, it allowed the Honors College council to brainstorm and enact change in the foundation of the program through redefining what it meant to be an active Honors student and making changes to the organization’s constitution.
“Even though it hasn't been the same in the ways of getting to do big events or things like that, it's been really cool to see changes happening that I know will affect the future,” Everett said. “That has been a big part [of this year], like slow movement, but knowing it'll cause a big change by next year.”
One of the ways Everett was able to create this change was through planning and organizing the first Harding Undergraduate Research Conference, which took place on April 15-16, 2021. She said listening to student research in a variety of fields helped her appreciate the diversity within the Honors program.
“One of my favorite parts about being involved with the Honors College is it's just a cool community of people from all across campus,” Everett said. “That is our main common bond.”
Everett said although her year of presidency did not go the way she had planned it, she gained confidence through different experiences in the organization and through the support of Honors College faculty.
“It helped build my confidence in those leadership skills, even just for things like leading meetings with other people,” Everett said. “Dr. Miller, Dr. Huff and Dr. Kehl are very good mentors and very good encouragers [of] my talents. Just taking that in throughout the year and realizing that change can happen even if it's not in big, obvious ways — I feel like just internally [that] has changed me a lot.”