News Story

May 05, 2017

La Roche Students Receive High Honors

PITTSBURGH, May 5, 2017 – Seven graduating seniors at La Roche College presented honors theses at the annual Honors Convocation on Tuesday, April 25.

The attainment of such honors signifies the highest approbation the College can bestow upon an outstanding student and is considered a reflection of mutual scholarly attainment by both the student and the College community. Under the direction and guidance of a committee of La Roche faculty, students conduct research, write and then present their theses at the College’s annual Honors Convocation.

These students presented the following projects at the 2017 Honors Convocation:

Rachel Baacke of Sewickley
“Improving the Mental Health of the Elderly”
Honors Institute

Carley Malenka of Pittsburgh
“Household Food Consumption and Food Waste: Family Food Fight”
Honors Institute

Jodie Sauer of Pittsburgh
“Examining an Apparent Correlation Between the Presence of Streptomyces Bacteria and Absence of Detectable Escherichia coli/Salmonella in the Feline Microbiome”
Honors in Biology

Audra Soltis of Valencia
“Practical Materialism in Developing Countries: A Study of Hidden Treasures"
Honors in Interior Design

Hannah Strauch of Mechanicsburg
“The Importance of Understanding: Biomimetics and Sensory Architecture for Children with Mental Illness”
Honors Institute

Sarah Vorsheck of Cranberry Township
“‘Teach Me How to Repent:’ John Donne’s Struggle with Repentance as Presented in the Holy Sonnets”
Honors in English Studies: Journalism and Professional Writing

Ashley Woollett of Moon Township
“Our Food System Unveiled”
Honors in Interior Design

Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean Howard Ishiyama, Ph.D., said, “We are proud of these outstanding graduates who continue to set the bar of academic excellence. Writing and presenting original research is both challenging and commendable. The La Roche community congratulates these graduates, and we look forward to watching them take the next step in their careers.”

Sarah Vorshek received the Richard G. Kotarba Outstanding Honors Presentation Award for her honors thesis. Ms. Vorshek examined questions of repentance through the Holy Sonnets of John Donne and its connection to the works of three theologians.

The runner-up, Jodie Sauer, presented on the connection of bacteria found in the gastrointestinal tract of cats. Her project extended current research on the significant impact the microbiome of an organism has on an organism’s health.

The Honors Institute at La Roche cultivates intellectual discourse and promotes scholarly achievement. Designed for exemplary students, the program embraces challenges and provides outstanding educational opportunities that will serve as a pathway to a successful future.

Supporting the La Roche Mission, the Honors Institute seeks to broaden and deepen academic excellence, and introduces students to alternative viewpoints, contemporary social issues and the call to better the world.

About La Roche College: A private liberal arts college in the North Hills of Pittsburgh, La Roche College offers more than 50 undergraduate majors, six graduate degree programs and one doctoral program, with particular strengths in education, business, criminal justice, psychology, and health and medical sciences as well as interior design and graphic design. This residential college provides a vibrant campus community for more than 1,500 men and women enjoying 30-plus student organizations and an exciting NCAA Div. III athletics program. Founded by the Sisters of Divine Providence in 1963, La Roche College embraces its Catholic heritage while welcoming people of all faiths and backgrounds. With a legacy of social justice and a commitment to international exchange, La Roche College educates students to be lifelong learners and achievers in an increasingly diverse and global society.