2009 Hugh Egan Scholar
Jason Diaz '09
When Jason began his college search he knew that he wanted to find a smaller school with a good science department. Although he looked at a number of colleges, it was the Honors Program that played a significant role in his decision to attend Ithaca College. In his past few years here at IC, the program has provided him with many rewarding and challenging experiences. He's found a community of friends and thinkers, mentors and intellectuals, and his classroom experiences, the seminars, have been among his most interesting and enriching.
One experience in particular that has been transformative for Jason was his honors seminar with Naeem Inayatullah, professor of politics. From his initial seminar and through subsequent classes that he's taken with Naeem, he's learned new ways of engagement and exchange. Jason feels Naeem's teaching method is fairly unconventional, but it has truly challenged his worldview and method of thinking. Through his experiences in Naeem's class he's come to a fuller appreciation of the critical examination of our emotional reactions and basis for beliefs. It was difficult process at times for Jason, because Naeem encouraged him to ask not simply what he thinks but why he thinks this and from where these specific ideas and reactions originate. Jason thought this was a very self-conscious and uncomfortable process, which involved discussion in class of emotional character and personal history. In this sense Jason found the experience immensely difficult, but one he believes is profoundly humanizing. Naeem pushed him to think on a deeper level about himself and his relationship to society, and Jason feels that encapsulates certain goals of the honors program, as well.
The Honors Program has introduced Jason to like minded and driven people, many of whom he feels are his closest friends here. During his past few years at IC he became involved in numerous campus groups and activities. He was a member of the Honors Student Advisory Board, and was the economics chair for Students for Sustainability, a student run organization that works to educate and advocate for environmental, economic, and social equality in the local campus community and beyond. He also worked as a teaching assistant for two science courses here at IC, and truly loved it. Teaching has been an interest of his, and after TAing he's considering it as a career. In addition to his interest in teaching, the sciences and the environment, Jason has always had a great interest in Japan and Japanese culture. This curiosity motivated his decision to study abroad in Japan for the Spring 2008 semester.