July 21, 2022

Taking part in Shawnee State University’s Honors Program and its experiential learning opportunity, Elizabeth Sullivan (Hometown: Ironton, Ohio) recently took a trip to Europe to explore its culture and how it related to her recent coursework. Majoring in Adolescent-to-Young Adult English Education, she was excited to expand her knowledge of how literature is represented in historical and political events.

Elizabeth Sullivan posing in front of tower

“I have always been interested in literature, history, and communication,” she said. “My favorite part of my classes is analyzing literature for its themes that reflect the ideals of the people in the time period it was written.”

As part of the Honors Program, SSU students are able to connect one-on-one with faculty members and receive funding and opportunities to complete experiential learning. Earlier this summer, Sullivan’s trip throughout Europe allowed her to develop more of her interests.

“Taking Honors Conferences through the year allows me to work one-one-one with a faculty mentor to develop a topic that interests me,” she said. “The class combined with the trip to Europe was an incredible opportunity for me to more thoroughly understand how and why the West has developed in morality, theology, philosophy, and culture. I actually happened to have an American Literature course during the spring semester and was able to see the connection between the development of literature and the development of other fields such as politics and science.”

Sullivan visited several historic sites throughout her time in Europe including Versailles, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Louvre, a concentration camp in Germany, the Musi d’Orsay, and the church where Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door.

“I was able to almost see the narrative of history unfold before my eyes,” she said. “With my background knowledge, I was actually able to characterize much of the artwork and architecture by observation.” 

Sullivan’s favorite memories of the trip related to her love of literature. In the Louvre in Paris, she was able to find the original “Lady Macbeth” painting that she had seen before in several prints throughout her courses. She also spent time in The Abbey Bookstore, finding books to take home that would further her love of literature and her education.

To other SSU students, Sullivan encourages them to take advantage of all the opportunities that the Honors Program offers to campus.

“It is a great opportunity to make connections with faculty, work on studies that undergraduate students typically aren’t able to, and receive one-on-one guidance from experts in their fields,” she said. “It offers a community of students who are motivated to go above and beyond what is required of them.”

New, current, and transfer students at SSU are all eligible to apply for admission to the Honors Program. The program is designed to give students a personal and tailored-learning experience that encourages academic curiosity.

To learn more about Shawnee State University’s Honors Program, visit or contact Honors Program Director Dr. Pablo Salinas at