Honors Program

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Honors Program Class

Mission Statement

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The Honors Program at Fayetteville State University promotes inclusive excellence, recognizing and rewarding outstanding achievement throughout the curriculum. The Honors Program creates incentives for all students to achieve at a level that leads to graduation with distinction. The Honors Program also provides opportunities for high-achieving students to enrich their educational experience through research or creative activity, experiential learning, and co-curricular engagement. The Honors Program prepares students to excel in the careers, become civic leaders, and to achieve overall personal well-being.

Student Resources

Maya Martin

Honors program bracelet


Student Members


Merit Scholarship Recipients


Cumulative GPA of Honors Program Scholars


  • 3.5 unweighted high school GPA or in the top 10% of graduating class
  • Strong record of extracurricular activities
  • Complete a minimum of 15 hours each semester OR 30 credit hours per academic year
  • Participate in Honors Program activities to accumulate 15 points per academic year
  • Complete all Honors Program yearly focus


  • Honors Housing
  • Priority Registration
  • Discipline specific research experience
  • Group Social Outings
  • Personal and career development workshops
  • Cultural learning experience/outreach



Dr. Jiyoon An
Dr. Jiyoon An
Assistant Professor
I believe in education to enrich the lives of the communities beyond the classroom and am excited to engage with the honors program. I am honored to be named an Honors Program Affiliated Faculty at Fayetteville State University as a representative of the Broadwell College of Business and Economics. As a former data scientist at the VF Corporation (NYSE: VFC) with a Ph.D. in Business, I will be able to facilitate interdisciplinary conversations for the community. My global professional and educational experience from Seoul (South Korea), Paris (France), to San José (Costa Rica) may inspire my students and colleagues to be more adventurous in various domains, from community engagement and career advancement.



Dr. Zhenlu Cui
Dr. Zhenlu Cui
Dr. Zhenlu Cui is a full mathematics professor at Fayetteville State University. His main research interests are in applied mathematics focusing on multiscale modeling and computation with applications in soft matters and biological fluids. He has served as an editor for Far East Journal of Applied Mathematics and Far East Journal of Mathematical Sciences for years. He has served as a reviewer for numerous science journals including Nature Communications. He worked as a Provost Fellow at Fayetteville State University between July 2017- June 2019. Dr. Cui received his Ph. D in Applied Mathematics from Florida State University in 2005, then he worked as a postdoc in the Department of Mathematics at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for two years. He joined Fayetteville State University in 2007.



Dr. Maria Orban
Dr. Maria Orban
Associate Professor
Dr. Maria Orban earned her PhD in Modernity and Theory/American literature from the University of Oklahoma in Norman. Her areas of interest include Native American fiction, postmodernism, Shakespeare, and ethnic women writers. She is an Associate Professor of English and teaches American literature, World literature, Shakespeare, and Native American fiction (whenever she gets a chance) She also serves as the English department online education coordinator. Dr. Orbanco-edited Charles W. Chesnutt Reappraised: Essays on the First Major African American Fiction Writer, winner of the Chesnutt Association’s Sylvia Lyons Render Award for outstanding contribution to scholarship on the life and works of Charles Waddell Chesnutt, and included in the CHOICE e-collection for African American Studies. Her work was published in The Edinburgh Companion to Nineteenth-Century American Letters and Letter-Writing, and journals like American Indian Culture and Research Journal, European Review of Native American Studies, and World Literature Today.



Dr. La'Chandra Parker
Dr. La’Chandra Parker
Assistant Professor
Dr. Parker is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle Grades, Reading, and Special Education. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Special Education: Learning Disabilities K-12 from East Carolina University; a Master’s Degree in Special Education: Behavioral Emotional Disabilities from North Carolina Central University; a Masters in School Administration from Campbell University; and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Management from Capella University. Prior to transitioning to FSU, Dr. Parker was a Cross Categorical Resource Teacher and Special Education Department Chair at Wake STEM Early College High School. She has over 20 years experience in different roles from the classroom, as a special education teacher (at all three levels), an administrator, as a high school Assistant Principal, and district level administrator, as a Special Education Program Director. Her research interests focus on investigating effective positive behavior supports and interventions for students with behavior and emotional disabilities and effective alternative education instructional practices for students with disabilities.



Dr. Melanie Shorter
Dr. Melanie Shorter
Assistant Professor
Dr. Shorter is a 1995 graduate of Hampton University with a Bachelor’s in Biology. She then matriculated to Howard University where she earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery in 2001. Currently, Dr. Shorter is a proud member or Cohort 25 in Fayetteville State University Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership with a concentration of Higher Education. Dr. Shorter has a passion for health sciences and anything medical or dental related. Her desire to educate future healthcare providers gives her extreme joy. She will be doing research for her dissertation on mental health and the stigma on post- secondary students. Dr. Shorter is also interested in doing research on oral bacteria and its effect on the cardiovascular system. When Dr. Shorter is not educating and uplifting, she can be found sitting by the beach or hanging out with her two beautiful daughters. She also has two fur babies, Brooklyn and Queen that she adores.



Dr. Rob Taber
Dr. Rob Taber
Associate Professor
Dr. Robert Taber is a historian of Haiti, the Caribbean, and the Black Atlantic. Dr. Taber's research emphasizes the roles and experiences of women in the long transition from creole governance to multiracial democracy. A member of the Bronco family since 2016, he teaches courses on World, Latin American, and African American history, including Atlantic Revolutions, Caribbean Piracy, and Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition. In 2019, he was the FSU McNair Program's "Outstanding Mentor." Dr. Taber is currently writing The Haitian Revolution and the Making Modern World, under contract with Reaktion Books/The University of Chicago Press. During Spring and Summer 2023, he is serving as Advisor in the Office of the Secretary at the US Department of Education.



Trung Tran
Dr. Trung Tran
Associate Professor
Dr. Trung Tran is an Assistant Professor of Geospatial Science in the Department of Intelligence Studies, Geospatial Science, Political Science and History at Fayetteville State University. He is the Program Coordinator of the Geospatial Science Degree Program and Director of the USGIF-Accredited GEOINT Certificate Program. He is also the current President of the Potomac Region American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS). Tran received his PhD in Geography (concentrations: remote sensing, GIS, land cover/use change) from the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability at the University of Oklahoma (OU). As a geospatial scientist, his research and teaching interest is to leverage geographic information science (GIScience), geovisualization, remote sensing, and unmanned aerial systems (UASs) to the understanding of transportation-community linkages as well as human-environment interactions across a variety of landscapes from mountains to floodplains and from urban to rural. His past projects have included remote sensing data fusion for forest disturbances, sub-pixel classification for land cover heterogeneity in urbans, satellite remote sensing approach for linking desertification with conflicts, remote sensing to detect war impacts on landscape change in Ukraine, multi-dimensional visualization of mobile objects and epidemics, geospatial analytics of on-demand transportation, and network analysis for understanding of urban expansion impacts on accessibility. Currently funded projects include geospatial data science approach for flood monitoring and management (NASA funded) and geospatial data analytics for upward social mobility in rural areas toward clean energy (NSF funded). He is also the principal investigator and director of the NASA-funded five-year Precollege Summer Institute as well as director of the NASA-funded GLOBES Lab (Geospatial anaLysis & OBserving Earth for Sustainability).



Dr. Zahra Shekarkhar
Dr. Zahra Shekarkhar
Associate Professor
Dr. Zahra Shekarkhar is an associate professor in the department of criminal justice. She is a first-generation college graduate. She earned her BA in Criminology from the University of Miami in 2006 and received both her MA and PhD in Criminology from the University of Florida. She has over 16 publications related to her research agenda which explores how race, ethnicity, immigration, and gender intersect with social contexts to produce disparities in offending and victimization among youth. She is advisor to the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice student organization at Fayetteville State University.

Honors Experience

The University Honors Program promotes honors-as-experience. University Honors provides an honors experience in academics, community, and leadership. It allows students to follow their respective degree plan and does not require additional credits. University Honors employs a points system that is designed to encourage student participation and develop students as described in the program mission statement. The points system does not exclude honors course contracts; instead, it allows students other options to customize their honors experience (See table below).

Category Points Required Note
Course Contract 1-2 10 1-2 cr: 1 pt; 3-4 cr: 2 pts
Service 1 1 Service-Learning Course or 15 Hours Service/Semester
Presentation 1-2 1 Local: 1 pt; Regional/National: 2 pts
Thesis 5 5 Honors Capstone or Thesis
Elective 4 Contract, Service, and/or Presentation
Leadership 1 1
Total 22 Required for graduation with Honors

First-Year Honors Experience

The First-Year Honors Experience (FYHE) is a year-long leadership development program designed specifically for first-time freshman in the University Honors Program that allows students to develop their leadership style through application and experience. The FYHE consists of two phases: professional development and a leadership project.

  • Fall Semester - Professional Development
    Students will participate in workshops that focus on: personal/social responsibility; community engagement; diversity/inclusion; and experiential learning.
  • Spring Semester - Leadership Distinction Project
    The Leadership Distinction Project will integrate one of the social issue themes of the Think Tank Initiative (Division of Student Affairs). The Leadership Distinction Project is a self-designed in-depth, individualized learning experience and will include a form of research and methodology, reflection, and academic writing.

Honors Excellence

University Honors Scholarship
The University Honors Scholarship (UHS) Program promotes honors-as-excellence. The goal of UHS is to increase the number of students graduating with Latin honors in four years.

The UHS is awarded, at the beginning of sophomore year, to first-time students with a minimum GPA of 3.2 and 30 credit hours, with no previous merit scholarship(s) and is renewable up to three years. Students are awarded $750/year. (Note: This award is independent of the University Honors Program - Honors Experience.)


  • Entered as first-time freshman
  • Not an Early College High School graduate
  • Minimum Cumulative GPA 3.2
  • Minimum credit hours earned: 15/semester or 30/year


  • Award: $750/year
  • Renewal: up to 3 years

Coming soon

Alpha Kappa Mu

Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society

Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society (Rho Beta Chapter) National general scholarship honor society open to juniors/seniors in all academic areas to promote high scholarship; to encourage sincere and zealous endeavor in all fields of knowledge and service; to cultivate a high order of personal living, and to develop an appreciation for scholarly work and scholarly endeavor in others.

Membership Criteria

  • Junior/Senior
  • Complete minimum 50% of credit hours at FSU
  • minimum cumulative GPA of 3.3



FSU Honors Club

Additional Information


Southern Regional Honors Council




Honors Program Staff