Honors Students in Action

Bianca Nguyen

Major: Graphic Design and Communication

In April 2019, Bianca Attended the AIGA design conference in Pasadena, California.

“The AIGA Design Conference was a spectacular educational experience for me because I believe there were key points that were discussed that all graphic designers should know. I learned a variety of design related subjects and met so many great people! I enjoyed the different activities that were available to do such as the screening printing and the face illustration session. Throughout the time I spent at the conference, I met a variety of amazing designers and connected with them very well. My favorite general session speakers were Hrishikesh Hirway, Emily Ruth Cohen, and Francoise Mouly. They were all incredible because I got an understanding of the real world of working with clients and they presented key points that all designers should know.”


Callie M. Sorrento           Natalie R. Andrews            Serena S. Valentin
Major: Performance        Major: Music Education      Major: Music Education
Callie, Natalie, and Serena were recipients of the Barden Travel Fund in the Spring 2018-2019 Intersession. They had attended the National Opera Association’s National Conference Scenes Competition, where they competed in the competition and attended informational lectures and workshops to learn about opera production, music education through opera, and other various facets involving the career they are working toward.

“This was an experience that I will cherish forever. It was such a privilege to be surrounded by professionals and students in my field. Additionally, I and my peers from WCSU took part in the OperaScenes Competition Finals with a scene from Mozart’s “Die Zauberflöte” and won second place!” – Callie S. 

This conference offered tremendous opportunities to grow as a performer, a musician,
and a teacher (teaching music, opera, etc.), helping to prepare me for a successful and exciting
future. I could not be more grateful for the opportunity to attend this conference and compete at a
national level. Thank you for your gift, and for making this trip of a lifetime financially possible. – Natalie A.


Erika M. Sabovik
Major: Communication Studies
Concentration: Women Studies
Erika had applied to the Barden Travel fund and was able to commute to her internship from her home in Shelton, CT to New York, NY at Lambda Legal, a nonprofit law office. This opportunity was also made possible with many thanks to the Hancock Student Leadership Program directed by Dr. Averell Manes.  As part of the internship, Erika was able to receive direct experience working in a nonprofit, communicating with different teams and departments, and working on one of her many passions, LGBTQ+ issues and laws.
“By interning at Lambda Legal, my knowledge and skills in the LGBTQ+ will only grow and strengthened…This opportunity is once in a lifetime, and while my parents were originally going to help me pay for travel, they have been overwhelmed the last three years with countless medical bills…”


Li Ting Lin
Major: Psychology
Li Ting graduated from Western Connecticut State University with a Bachelor of Art in Psychology. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate degree in Counseling Psychology. In March 2018, she presented her research at the Eastern Psychology Association conference with helps from the Barden Foundation.
“I wish to offer my service to students as a professional psychologist working in a college counseling center as well as a private practice…The conference anable me to present the research that I worked on for a year during my undergraduate study at WCSU. Presenting at the EPA in a professional capacity was also an important aspect of my graduate school application.”


Shannon K. McFarland
Major: Biology
Concentration: Ecology Science
Shannon was a recipient of the Barden Travel Fund and she attended the 2018 Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology meeting in San Francisco and presented her senior research.
“The Barden travel fund helped defray the costs of an incredible opportunity I had as an undergraduate biology student to present my scientific research at a national professional meeting. It was an amazing experience for me to grow both personally and professionally and I was even able to visit local attractions.”


Hieu Nguyen
Major: Mathematics
Concentration: Economic/Statistic
Hieu was a recipient of the Barden Travel Fund. During the summer of 2017, he traveled to China to presented his research poster at the Second Paris-Asia Conference in Quantitative Finance, and attended the international Conference on Data Science.
“I have been conducting researches throughout my academic career, and receiving this travel fund motivates me to share my result and connect with other expert during the conference. The trip gave me many valuable experience which helped me grow as a honors student.”


Rachel Peet
Major: Photojournalism (Contract)
Concentration: Spanish Language
Barden Scholarship Recipient for Summer 2017. Read her article about the trip: https://rgnn.org/2017/09/02/the-three-es-necessary-for-your-packing-list-education-effort-and-empathy/
“Last summer, the Barden’s Honors Travel Fund at WCSU not only furthered my wanderlust, but also furthered my knowledge in the realm of Photojournalism, my contract major, and the path I would like to pursue in the future. With the support of the scholarship, I carried out a two week Photojournalism Internship with the Rooster Global News Network (RoosterGNN) in Madrid, Spain. A group of about 12 students and I completed a series of Photojournalism related workshops, and we got to explore our personal passions by choosing our own travel article topics and publishing two articles by the end. Ironically, I ended up writing a travel article on “anti-tourism” in Spain at the time… From such, I concluded that travel journalism was not of my interest and that to travel with purpose is to travel with education, effort, and empathy. The internship itself surely taught me a wealth of knowledge in the two specific fields of photography and journalism. Yet, stepping out of my comfort zone and into a completely new and foreign environment taught my present and future self much more beyond the borders of these two fields of studies. I cannot express my appreciation for the opportunities the Barden’s Honors Travel Fund offered me and its proof that our education ultimately stretches beyond any borders we come across in our travels, near or far.”