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Amira Smith – Honors College Class of 2020

As an incoming freshman, Amira Smith was immediately amazed by what Oregon State University and the Honors College had to offer. Already sold by OSU’s incredible environmental science program, Amira became truly immersed in her new community when she jetted off for the London Study Abroad trip with the HC before even starting classes. 

Now a senior, Amira has experienced much of what Oregon State and the Honors College have to offer: she has met lifelong friends, taken enlightening colloquia classes, worked on an extensive thesis project, and improved herself as a student and individual. 

Amira has been “in love,” as she describes it, with environmental science since high school, and Oregon State and the HC allowed her to fully explore the field and what it has to offer. 

Amira’s course of study has merged well with her honors experience. One of her favorite classes taken at Oregon State was one provided by the HC, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, which focuses on sustainability practices from a Native American perspective. 

For her thesis project, Amira was able to write a thesis that blended her passions for educating others and environmental science. Created in collaboration with professor Cory Buxton from the College of Education, the thesis includes information on environmental education, garden education, nutrition, and more for elementary school students. The project consists of three parts: a deep dive into the history of environmental education in the United States; six lesson plans for teachers teaching grades K-5 with information and activities focused on environmental education; and a plant identification book as a resource for the community. 

Though Amira has enjoyed the academic aspects of her OSU and HC experience, her favorite parts have been the time she’s spent with the community. Her favorite memories consist of hours spent in the SLUG, studying and hanging out with friends and fellow honors students. 

“The Honors College has been valuable to me for two main reasons: I was able to find a community that valued learning, and I had the opportunity to take different classes, go on study abroad trips, and interact more deeply with peers and faculty,” Amira says.

Now, Amira will be taking a gap year before graduate school to build her work experience. In that time, she will be serving in the FoodCorps in Portland at KairosPDX before applying for a master’s program in education or teaching. Specifically, her dream is to get into the University of Washington’s IslandWood program, which focuses on justice-oriented education. 

To incoming Oregon State and Honors College students, Amira’s advice is simple: “If you have the opportunity to try something out of your comfort zone, definitely just go for it. The Honors College really offers so much for you to try.” 

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