Jacob Smathers
Jacob Smathers

January 14, 2022

Graduating last semester from Shawnee State University, alumnus Jacob Smathers excelled in his academic and personal experiences while at the university. Applying to SSU after achieving a competitive GPA and ACT score at Waverly High School, Smathers decided to also apply for a place in the university’s Honors program.

“I knew I wanted to be involved in an undergraduate honors program,” said Smathers. “I submitted a personal statement essay to illustrate my intent for the program while I was in high school, and then followed up with letters of recommendation from my teachers and mentors. Soon after, I received acceptance to Shawnee State University and the Honors Program, and the rest has been a wonderful history.”

Within the Honors Program, students receive the opportunity to work one-on-one with Honors professors, conduct research, socialize with other Honors students, gain priority registration, live in designated Honors housing, get advancement opportunities such as internship placement assistance, study abroad opportunities, and more. The program benefitted Smathers by being one of his first steps in finding a sense of community on SSU’s campus.

“As a commuter student for my first semester of college, the Honors Program was one of the first places I found a true community on campus,” he said. “The faculty and students alike were so open to discussion, learning from one another, and supporting each other that I knew this is what it meant to be an academic college student.”

Smathers spent the majority of his time at SSU dedicated to his studies and being involved in campus life. He served as a Resident Assistant for the Office of Housing & Residence Life, was the Club Coordinator of the Student Government Association, and was a founding member of the SSU Musicals and Theatre Club, among volunteering for several offices and participating in campus events. Enjoying his years at SSU, he considers much of his success and willingness to be involved to come from his participation in the Honors Program.

“I am now planning on furthering my education to gain my Masters of Human Resources Management in the Fall of 2022,” he said. “This is an incredibly competitive program to get into, and I would like to thank the Honors Program director, Dr. Scott, and all my Honors mentors for investing in me and my education. The SSU Honors Program has allowed me to gain several internships during my undergraduate career that helped put me further ahead on my path.”

Aside from his favorite memories at SSU – including performing in the annual Drag Show and playing Bingo each month with the Student Programming Board – Smathers also enjoyed the events he attended and participated in for the Honors Program. He attended the Honors Conference all four years at the university and completed an Honors Capstone project. He also offered advice to every new class of freshmen while he was in the Honors Program each year.

“Fully involve yourself,” he said. “Much like your college experience you will gain as much out of the Honors Program as you put in. Get involved, attend honors events, and you will truly walk away with knowledge and tools that put you ahead in the classroom and in your undergraduate career.”

To learn about the application requirements and for more information on the Shawnee State University Honors Program, visit or contact Program Director Dr. Jennifer Scott at