The University of Michigan holds an Honors Convocation each year to celebrate the achievement of undergraduate students with distinguished academic records. This is the 95th year the event has been held in Ann Arbor, and the first year UM-Flint has held its own reception to recognize its student recipients. UM-Flint’s reception took place Wednesday, March 14.
“Our students are being recognized for their hard work and stellar academic achievements,” said UM-Flint College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Dean Susan Gano-Phillips. “By holding this reception at UM-Flint, we provided our students and their supporters another chance to celebrate while expressing how proud we are of our students within the University of Michigan system.”
The students honored are recipients of the following awards:
James B. Angell Scholar
Students who achieve an “A” record (all grades of A+, A, or A-) for two or more consecutive terms are recognized as James B. Angell Scholars. The student must have taken a minimum of 14 credit hours each term, including at least 12 credits elected on a graded (A-E) basis. Recipients of this award are recognized during Honors Convocation according to the number of consecutive terms they have earned the Angell Scholar designation.
The University Honors designation is awarded to students who earned a 3.5 grade point average or higher during a term. The student must have taken a minimum of 14 credit hours during the term, including at least 12 credits elected on a graded (A-E) basis. Students who achieve University Honors designation for both the winter 2017 term and fall 2017 term are recognized at Honors Convocation. Seniors who achieve University Honors for at least one of these two terms are recognized at the Honors Convocation.
William J. Branstrom Freshman Prize
First-term freshmen who rank in the upper five percent of their class within their school or college are awarded the William J. Branstrom Freshman Prize. The student must have taken at least 14 graded (A-E) credits during the fall 2017 term to be eligible for this award. Advanced placement credit does not disqualify a student for consideration of this award. Recipients of this award are recognized during Honors Convocation.
Angell Scholar Janice McCoy
At the UM-Flint reception, CAS’s Janice McCoy was the only student to be honored as an eight-semester Angell Scholar. “Ms. McCoy has demonstrated an incredible amount of focus and drive during her time with us,” said Dean Gano-Phillips. “In addition to her academic dedication, Ms. McCoy is known for being a regular presence on campus and in the community, a talented artist, and a supportive classmate. We extend to her our deepest congratulations.”
McCoy is a senior set to graduate with a BS in Visual Arts Education and a BFA in Studio Art with a concentration in painting. She’s also earned a minor in Art History. During her time at UM-Flint, McCoy has been a part of the Honors Program, a member of the Greater Flint Arts Council and the Buckham Gallery, and a student member of the College Art Association. She has also worked for offices in the School of Management and University Outreach.
“I was honestly shocked to hear that I am the only one [who attended the UM-Flint event] to receive this honor,” said McCoy in response to earning the eight-semester Angell scholar award. “I just try my hardest each semester to be as successful as I can be. I am invited every so often to attend the Angell Scholar dinner and I am never able to go because of the time of the year and the distance between Flint and Ann Arbor.”
This year, McCoy will be attending the March 18 Honors Convocation in Ann Arbor.
McCoy’s motivation to achieve comes from her own high standards. “I have extremely high expectations for my work and an insane work ethic. I love the learning process and I love the feeling of mastery or capability,” she reflected. “I enjoy being good at things. Even more, I enjoy being excellent at things. I guess I do have a competitive streak, too, when it comes to my career aspirations.”
“Additionally, I want to create a positive image of the artist and arts education as a whole,” she said. “I think that starts with being knowledgeable in your field, being able to do multiple things, and being articulate, professional, passionate, and outspoken.”
McCoy also noted the support she had in achieving her goals. “I would like to thank the staff and faculty at UM-Flint. I have learned so much in my time here and developed strong relationships in many departments. In particular, I would like to thank Dr. Maureen Thum (of the UM-Flint Honors Program) for preparing me for the professional and academic rigor that university life demands. Additionally, I would like to thank Professor Christine Waters and Professor Sarah Lippert for their career and academic support, along with the rest of the faculty and staff in the Department of Art & Art History.”
McCoy chose to attend UM-Flint when she was offered a full-ride scholarship that included books. “This seemed like a good financial decision and I was intrigued about being able to receive a University of Michigan degree in a location other than Ann Arbor,” she noted. “I have been surprised by the diversity of the campus, in age, gender/sexuality, race/ethnicity, and religion. I truly have encountered people from all walks of life and I consider that to be a tremendous asset as I move forward into the world. I consider myself a better person for having been able to be here.”
As both a student and an employee, McCoy grew to know the campus community well. “UM-Flint’s greatest asset is the community it resides in and the people that make up its staff, faculty, and student body,” she said. “It is such a small, intimate campus in comparison to the huge size of Michigan State University or the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.”
“I think that because of the smaller class and department sizes, students have a lot more opportunities to become recognized for their strengths and everyone here is a lot more likely to know one another,” McCoy continued. “And most people here are extremely genuine, authentic, and hard working. Everyone has an interesting story. Everyone has a job, or two, or three. Everyone has a hustle. I think that there’s a kind of bond we all have that we’re all in this struggle together, attempting to better ourselves any way we can.”
McCoy also found a strong bond within her department. “The greatest strength of my academic program is the camaraderie that exists between students, disciplines, and between staff and students,” she reflected. “The Art & Art History Department is like a second family to me, nearly all of my good friends and close colleagues have been a result of my classes and experiences in the studio and art history setting.”
McCoy’s undergraduate experiences allowed her to flourish academically while preparing for life after graduation. “My time at UM-Flint has made me a great deal more confident in myself and my own abilities,” she noted. “The opportunities that I have had to participate in academic research, develop artistically in multiple fields of study, work as a designer for several projects, and gain experience in the field of education have provided me with a wide variety of skills and lessons that I maybe wouldn’t have been able to do in a larger school with more competition.”
“Through these experiences, I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of problem solving and overcome a lot of challenges. I’ve learned that I can overcome most things I’ve encountered with persistence and hard work, which is extremely empowering,” McCoy concluded.
After graduation, McCoy plans to work on her art and portfolio. Within a year she will apply for graduate school to receive her MFA and transition into post-secondary education or find a K-12 teaching position in a nearby school district.
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