Kellogg Honors College promotes new director

By Aanuoluwapo Akingbemi and Kaitlyn Oliveros, Dec. 13, 2022

The Kellogg Honors College received a new Director, Claudia Garcia-Des Lauriers, who had been serving as interim director since January 2020, and was promoted to permanent director in June 2022.  

The Kellogg Honors College is a community on campus that focuses on helping students achieve academic excellence with the help of honors courses and much more. Its mission is to help foster a nurturing environment to prepare intellectually curious, civically engaged and lifelong learners.  

“I’ve had the benefit of serving in this role as the interim director since 2020, so I took over at a very challenging time,” said Garcia-Des Lauriers. “It’s been challenging at times because of the pandemic but it’s wonderful now that we’re able to return to campus and plan in-person activities and reinvigorate our community.” 

When Garcia-Des Lauriers first received the offer for the position, she was more than excited to do it due to her positive experience as a student in the honors program at California State University, Bakersfield. Her experience as the director so far has exceeded her expectations.  

“It’s been wonderful to participate and have the re-envisioning of some of the elements of our program,” said Garcia-Des Lauriers. “It’s always a really exciting time when we bring in a new cohort and also when we graduate a cohort of honors students.” 

Garcia-Des Lauriers credits her predecessor and the Honors College academic coordinator, Won Choi, for the Honors College success and making her initiation into the position a smooth one.  

 “This is thanks to the previous director, Suketu Bhavsar, and our academic coordinator, Won Choi, it has been a really wonderfully well-run program,” said Garcia-Des Lauriers. “So when I stepped in, I didn’t have to start from scratch or anything. It was already a well-oiled machine.”  

One of the aims of the program is to provide that opportunity for students to grow, self-reflect and the program offers opportunities for civic engagement. The program also offers students research opportunities to help them build skill sets like critical thinking and leadership.  

Garcia-Des Lauriers is looking to organize more opportunities for growth within the program, within the classroom and beyond. 

 “Dr. Garcia has looked at offering a greater diversity of honors classes,” said Choi. “She wants to grow the Honors College and now just grow it with more students but a greater diversity of students.” 

Image courtesy of Won Choi

Choi and Garcia-Des Lauriers are very passionate about providing support for their students. Choi spoke about the goals he and Garcia-Des Lauriers has for the upcoming semester and year.   

“We’d love to offer more honors classes, increase the diversity and the overall size of the honors college and offer scholarships,” said Choi. “One of my primary jobs is advising Honors college students, helping them choose their classes and answering their questions about navigating through the university.” 

President of the student club  for the Kellogg Honors College, Madison R. Sarmiento has noticed a shift in the program directly after Garcia-Des Lauriers was appointed.  

Sarmiento shared that Garcia-Des Lauriers has helped a lot with planning events for the student club. She said she’s very supportive of the club and always encourages student ideas for events. 

“She’s really been hitting home on trying to form a community,” said Sarmiento. “Dr. G. has been trying to implement the club more in Honors College activities, so that we can build that community in it.” 

The Kellogg Honors College program accepts only freshman and transfer students. The application for the program can be found on their website.  

Choi, along with the Honors College, also offers opportunities for community service along with various events that give opportunities for students interested in helping out in their community. 

The Honors College isn’t only for academic involvement. Some of its members include students in athletic teams, students who are presidents of fraternities, sororities and students who’ve served as ASI presidents. 

Feature image courtesy of Won Choi 

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