How the Honors Program Impacted My Time at MSMC

by · April 21, 2017

Today we will hear from Diana Pernicano, a senior nursing student in the Honors Program. Diana has been a guest on the blog once before, when she talked about being a nursing major at the Mount. Today, she will share her experiences as a part of the Mount Saint Mary College Honors Program, and how it has helped her to become a well-rounded student.

One of the great aspects of the Mount is that there are countless opportunities for students to get involved outside of class. I have been involved many different activities, including two Division III sports (Cross Country and Track) and being the secretary of  the Get Creative Club, the president of Colleges Against Cancer, and co-chair of MSMC’s Relay for life. I have also been an active member of the Honors Program throughout my time here at the Mount.

Students are invited into the Honors Program when they are accepted to the Mount based on their high school GPA and standardized test scores. Honors students are expected to complete 18 credits of honors classes, and maintain a 3.4 GPA throughout their college career.

I have had many opportunities to enhance my education as a member of the Honors Program. My favorite honors course that I have taken was Honors Developmental Psych with Dr. Fallon. This class was a requirement for my nursing degree, and I was able to make it an honors class as well through honors-by-contract. You can make any class an honors class by working with your professor to design an honors-level project that will enhance your experience in the classroom. For my class, I wrote a paper and taught the class about the psychological impact of having a family member with cancer, using Erikson’s developmental stages.

I also had the opportunity to take an interdisciplinary seminar, where you can explore a topic that combines two different academic disciplines. My interdisciplinary seminar, which combined economics and philosophy, focused on the writings of economic theorist Adam Smith. I enjoyed discussing the book with my classmates and learning about different perspectives.

Currently, I am working on my Honors Research project, which is an independent study where you conduct in-depth research on a particular topic of interest. I partnered with Dr. Fallon to study the psychological impact of students returning to school after taking time off for a chronic illness. This topic is incredibly important to me, because during my time here at the Mount, I was diagnosed with cancer and had to take a year off from school. I am now cancer-free, and I enjoy researching the psychological impacts of cancer on children and teenagers. I think the project will be a wonderful learning experience for both of us!

One of the best parts of the Honors Program is that you get to know people from other majors that you wouldn’t necessarily get a chance to meet otherwise through classes, trips, and events. One of my best Honors Program experiences was when we took a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art during my freshman year. We had such an amazing time exploring the museum, and it was a great way to bond with my peers. I also really enjoyed the Faculty vs. Student trivia game we held a few semesters ago, where honors students faced off against faculty members in the ultimate trivia showdown. It was awesome beating my nursing professor on an anatomy and physiology question!

If you were invited to the Honors Program, I would definitely encourage you to accept that invitation. The Honors program has been such a great experience for me, and I’m glad that I did it. If you have any questions about the Honors Program here at the Mount, feel free to reach out at


Diana Pernicano, Class of 2017, is a nursing major from Yorktown Heights, NY, with a minor in biology.

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