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    Phone: (307) 766-2929

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    Meet Four Honors Students

    head photo of a man
    Delio Carducci in the Gateway Center. (Photo by Austin Jackson)

    UW’s Honors College offers students amazing interdisciplinary and experiential learning opportunities at home and abroad.

    By Sunnie Lew

    The mission of the University of Wyoming Honors College is to provide a diverse body of motivated students with an interdisciplinary academic experience that positions them for success. The Honors College is an inclusive community that challenges students to think ethically, creatively and collaboratively, and to cultivate inquiry, reflection and personal growth. Four students and their powerful stories were nominated by Honors College Dean Peter Parolin to exemplify UW student excellence.

    Delio Carducci

    Throughout the latter half of high school and the beginning of college, Delio Carducci, of Las Vegas, actively ran an Instagram account (@aesthetic_plastics) dedicated to action figure photography — specifically, 2-inch-tall modern military micro action figures. He was inspired by his older brother, Nunzio (@faceless_trooper), who also engaged in action figure photography. Wanting to set himself apart, Carducci’s page focused on figure photography coupled with creative writing with themes of wartime stories, counsel, philosophy and psychology. It served as a creative outlet and application of his life and educational experiences.

    When it came time for Carducci, who recently graduated with a degree in psychology and a minor in honors, to choose his honors capstone, he knew he wanted to incorporate his personal hobby in the project. He decided to combine his action figure photography with the Russia-Ukraine war, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine had occurred just one year  before the capstone proposal. Carducci used his art to examine the conflict, using the perspectives of active service members in a grounded, realistic and nonfictional manner. Accompanying the images were captions that accentuated distinct issues with modern warfare that related to the psyche of the soldiers.

    Carducci familiarized himself with news coverage of the conflict and developed his knowledge of psychology concepts related to war. What he learned was how pervasive combat-related symptoms are in the given population; the sheer amount of devastation the war has brought about; the complex nature of the experience on both sides of the battlefields; and the provocative words from active-duty soldiers. He came to understand not only the physical, tangible consequences of modern warfare, but also the psychological horrors that soldiers witness on a constant basis. Carducci’s project did not advocate for a particular side nor convey any particular message regarding the war, but rather raised awareness and facilitated reflection on combat experience and the mental health of active-duty soldiers.

    “Something needs to be done,” Carducci says. “Effective psychotherapy, ample social support, proper mental health resources and veterans’ services are crucial to help alleviate their burdens, their trauma and their wounds. We need to wage our own war on the mental front — rise to the challenge and fight with those who give their lives for us.”

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    Bailey Bottoms. (Photo by Austin Jackson)

    Bailey Bottoms

    Bailey Bottoms wasn’t sure what she wanted to do when she arrived at UW from Loveland, Colo. She began in speech pathology but realized it just wasn’t for her. Suddenly, she found herself as a junior without a major. She knew she wanted to work with people or animals, and biology seemed like a great fit, but two subjects that she struggles in are math and science.

    “I didn’t want to pick a degree that didn’t challenge me,” Bottoms says. “I picked biology because it would set me up for success in whatever career I decided to go into — I felt it was a good baseline. And on top of that, I knew it would kick my butt. I wanted to experience being pushed really hard, and I have. I’ve also had a lot of support from tutors and professors. School is hard for me. And that’s how I wanted it to be. I wanted to have to dig in and really push myself.”

    At the time when Bottoms switched her degree, she hadn’t taken a math class since high school. She was required to take calculus as a junior. After logging 78 hours in the tutoring center, she passed the course with an A.

    Bottoms’ experience belies the theory that, in order to succeed in STEM, you must be naturally gifted in mathematics and science. She recognizes that memorization doesn’t come easy to her, which is a big part of biology in understanding cellar systems and processes or memorizing physics equations. Bottoms hasn’t let anything hold her back. Despite her pathway being more challenging, she’s succeeding in some big ways.

    “Now, thanks to support from the Honors College and the Education Abroad office, I will be spending my last semester studying abroad in Fiji,” Bottoms says. “The biology major is what made me decide to go there, because the marine biology program there is just absolutely insane. It’s all fallen together perfectly, which has been wonderful. I’m pleased with where I’m at and with where I’m headed.”

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    Grant Dillivan in Coe Library. (Photo by Austin Jackson)

    Grant Dillivan

    Senior Grant Dillivan of Powell, Wyo., can be described as a deeply involved student and the life of the party. He’s a dual major studying criminal justice and psychology, with dual minors in sociology and honors. He’s a Cowboy Coach who is also involved in undergraduate research with the Legal Decision-Making Lab. He’s preparing to present at conferences and has taken advantage of education-abroad opportunities.

    “I really enjoy being busy,” Dillivan says. “Friends tell me I’m the busiest person they know. I really enjoy hectic high energy and meeting new people. But advice I always give to other students is to try to have a balance between work and fun. It’s great being super-involved and being really passionate about your academics, but I also think it’s equally important to do what you enjoy.”

    Dillivan believes that being heavily involved has provided him with amazing opportunities. However, he says that some of his favorite memories have come from the moments when he prioritized saying yes to new experiences. The most recent adventure was attending the Shrek Rave in Fort Collins, Colo., an event where attendees dress like characters from the Shrek movies and dance to electronic music.

    “It was so much fun,” Dillivan says. “It was silly and ridiculous. The energy was great, and everyone was super fun. We dressed up and had a great time.”

    Dillivan plans to attend more events throughout his semester. In addition to electronic dance music, he enjoys reading and longboarding. He’s been described as happy-go-lucky and gregarious, in addition to being a serious student who gives a lot of time to the university.

    “The things that give me enjoyment are the things that keep me sane,” Dillivan says. “These are the things that keep me motivated. My work just wouldn’t be as enjoyable if I didn’t have fun.”

    person holding a violin
    Gregory Barr. (Photo by Austin Jackson)

    Gregory Barr

    Upon coming to UW from Franktown, Colo., Gregory Barr was seeking a rigorous academic experience. He began as a music major and has since expanded to majors in English and Spanish and a minor in honors. Now in his junior year, Barr has experienced a series of unique opportunities offered by the Honors College that have helped shape his worldview and are preparing him for life after graduation.

    Through his honors minor, Barr had the opportunity to attend Shakespeare in England and Italy — a study-abroad course that introduces students to Shakespearean literature while they attend live performances at major theaters such as the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Globe, as well as smaller and regional venues.

    “It’s been such a wonderful opportunity to take advantage of classes that are above and beyond the normal curriculum,” Barr says. “I received the honors scholarship for study aboard, which I am grateful for because that’s actually how I could afford to go.”

    It was because of his education-abroad experience that he decided to take on an English major. Currently, he is preparing his thesis as an independent study focused on exploring how medievalist literature influences storytelling within role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons and the rise of Renaissance literature within popular culture and how that informs who we are as a society.

    Over the years, Barr has wanted to help create places of learning and pass on similar opportunities to other students: “We should continue to build institutions that allow exploration and learning and help people receive similar experiences that I’ve received. I feel incredibly lucky and blessed to be able to take these study-abroad classes, come to UW, learn all these things and meet all of these wonderful professors. I think building that community and building that community outside of traditional university style is super crucial to me.”

    Contact Us

    Institutional Communications
    Bureau of Mines Building, Room 137
    Laramie, WY 82071
    Phone: (307) 766-2929

    Find us on Facebook (Link opens a new window) Find us on Twitter (Link opens a new window)