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Student Life

Exploration Trips with the Honors and Scholars Program

Students in the University Honors and Scholars Program ventured to New York City and Asheville during fall break as part of Cultural Explorations and Outdoor Exploration trips.

A group of four students stand around a site-seeing device at the top of a building in New York City
University Honors and Scholars Program students in New York City during fall break

By Maren Carter

Each fall, the University Honors and Scholars Program (UHSP) sponsors cultural and outdoor exploration trips for students. Myles Gregor, a sophomore studying computer science, went to New York City with the UHSP this October for the program’s Fall Break Cultural Explorations trip. An annual tradition in the UHSP, students on the New York trip spend four nights in the city connecting with peers, exploring cultural landmarks, enjoying Broadway performances, and seeing some of the city’s most striking views. Gregor remarked on how they “packed more into three days than I thought was possible,” noting their visits to the top of the Rockefeller building and their outing to the Highline.

“The highlight of the trip for me was definitely the Broadway shows,” Gregor shared. “We were lucky enough to be able to go see three Broadway shows, Wicked, Chicago, and Thoughts of a Colored Man. Thoughts of a Colored Man was my favorite. It was an amazing piece of spoken word poetry turned into a play.” Having been a lighting designer for school plays and musicals, Gregor said he was especially excited to see the best that technical theatre had to offer.

For the UHSP’s Outdoor Explorations trip this fall break, we spoke to Erin Kohn, a junior studying environmental sciences. Kohn and other UHSP students traveled to Asheville, where they got to enjoy the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains and learn about the rich history of the city. Taking a biking tour downtown, a guide taught students about Asheville’s place in history. Kohn said that the highlight of the trip for her was appreciating nature with other students, as well as paddling down one of the oldest rivers in the world, the French Broad. “[It] was absolutely beautiful and I loved getting to talk to the raft guides about their experiences in the outdoors.”

University Honors and University Scholars students at the Manna food bank in Asheville.

Kohn first went on the Outdoor Explorations trip to Asheville when she was a first-year and says she “loved being outside and connecting with those around me,” so when she was asked to lead the trip, she was “thrilled to go back to Asheville.” Commenting on leading the exploration trip, Kohn said “I have a minor in outdoor leadership, and this experience was my first multi-day trip in which I used what I am learning in the classroom in practice.”

“Having [. . .] responsibility on an outdoor trip really reinforced that I want to continue to explore outdoor education and embrace new challenges that it presents. I learned about one of the many ways to connect my passion for the outdoors to my education goals.” 

For University Honors and Scholars students interested in joining future fall or spring break exploration trips, check the UHSP website and look for updates on application deadlines and trip details in your email.