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The S. Daniel Abraham Honors Program

Students in the S. Daniel Abraham Honors Program enroll in honor courses, enjoy faculty mentoring, and complete a major research project. In addition, they participate in exciting extracurricular events - outstanding speakers, cultural outings to top NYC destinations, and leadership workshops.

For more information please contact: 

Director
Cynthia Wachtell
wachtell@yu.edu
646.592.4157
215 Lexington Ave, Room 616

About

The S. Daniel Abraham Honors Program was founded in 1999 with the goal of enhancing the college experience of high-achieving students.

Built on the premise that outstanding scholars should be brought together, challenged and encouraged to excel, the program nurtures students as it helps them to grow both intellectually and personally. There are both academic and extracurricular components to the Honors Program.

The academic program stresses writing and critical analysis, research and individual mentoring. Students select honors courses from offerings in the humanities, Jewish studies, natural sciences and social sciences, as well as interdisciplinary seminars. In their final three semesters, honor students each complete a senior project under the individual guidance of a faculty mentor.

Students completing the honors program will have the Honors distinction noted on their transcripts and their diplomas.

Stern College honors students also participate in a rich variety of extracurricular events. Each semester the honors programs calendar includes a speakers series, leadership workshops and an exciting array of outings to operas, plays, museums and other cultural destinations. From Elijah or Swan Lake at Lincoln Center; to Jane Austen's Life and Legacy at the Morgan Library and Museum; to walking tours of Grand Central Terminal, Art Deco Manhattan, and Central Park, the program draws on New York City's vast resources. The honors program pays for all events.

Program Director

Dr. Cynthia Wachtell is the founding director of the S. Daniel Abraham Honors Program at Stern College. She earned her PhD in the history of American civilization and an AM in English at Harvard University. She jointly earned an MA and a BA, summa cum laude, from Yale University in American studies.

Her academic field of expertise is American literature of the 19th and 20th centuries. In addition to teaching at Yeshiva University, she has taught at Harvard University, the New School for Social Research and Fordham University.

She is the author of War No More: The Antiwar Impulse in American Literature, 1861-1914 (2010) and editor of The Backwash of War: An Extraordinary American Nurse in World War I (2019) for which she wrote the first biography of Ellen N. La Motte.  She also has published numerous articles in books,  journals, and and other publications, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Huffington Post.

For more information about the S. Daniel Abraham Honors Program, please contact Dr. Wachtell at wachtell@yu.edu and visit the program's pages on the Office of Admissions site, where you can also apply.

Program Information

To be eligible for honors courses, a student must have Deans List status or, in the case of first-year students, have a minimum high school average of 90 and a minimum SAT score of 1200.  In general, honors courses are more rigorous and/or advanced than regular courses and have the following characteristics:

  • Involve a critical investigation of primary sources
  • Make use of and/or demonstrate current methods of field inquiry
  • Entail a heavy writing component (not merely summary thinking)
  • Stress analysis and original thinking
  • Require students to revise and re-write essays and/or other major assignments
  • Emphasize library and lab work
  • Deal with and/or encompass relevant theoretical issues
  • Require students to engage in independent research work

To see the current semester's honors course offerings, please visit www.yu.edu/schedules:

  1. Select the current semester 
  2. Select Beren and "All" subjects
  3. Do a keyword search (Ctrl+F) for "Honors"
  4. You should now see the current semester's honors course offerings.

Sample Semester

  • ARTS 1635H - The New York Skyscraper
  • ARTS 1975H - Topics: Jewish Illuminated Manuscripts
  • BIBL 1087H - Biblical Exegetes I
  • BIBL 3307H - Job
  • BIOL 3521H - Molecular Biology    
  • CHEM 1046H - General Chemistry II
  • COMP 4930H - Topics: Natural Language Processing
  • ENGL 1200H - Freshman Honors Seminar
  • ENGL 2924H - Topics: Female Friendship
  • JHIS 4934H - Topics: Jewish Illuminated Manuscripts
  • JHIS 4935H - Topics: History of Halakhah
  • JPHI 4933H - Tps: Jewish Illuminated Manuscripts
  • JUDS 1591H - Topics in Jewish Civil Law
  • JUDS 1846H - Advanced Talmud II
  • JUDS 1848H - Advanced Talmud
  • JUDS 4932H - Topics: Compar American & Talmudic Law
  • POLI 2198H - Topics: Compar Am. & Talmudic Law
  • POLI 2494H - Topics: Zionist Political Thought
  • PSYC 3128H - Seminar in Moral Psychology
  • PSYC 3815H - Cognitive Neuroscience

Honors Courses

Students must complete a minimum of five honors courses. These courses may be used toward general liberal arts or major requirements. Examples of recent offerings include Introduction to Quantum Mechanics; Philosophy of Rav Soloveitchik; The New York Skyscraper; History of Halakha; Modern Poetry; and Mind, Language, Consciousness. Summer travel courses have included Marine Biology (New York/Maine); Art History in Florence; Literary London; Global Health (New York/India); and Archeological Fieldwork in Israel.

Honors students are expected to maintain a 3.6 cumulative GPA.

Senior Project

At the end of her junior year, each honor student designs a project that involves intensive work under the supervision of a faculty mentor. During her senior year, each student then completes her senior project, which represents the culmination of her academic career at Stern.

Mentors

During her second year on campus, each student is matched with a faculty mentor in her field of interest. The mentor provides ongoing guidance for the honors student throughout her time at Stern and serves as the faculty supervisor for the student's senior project.

Extracurriculars

Honors students travel to concerts, ballets, plays and such “only in New York” destinations as the American Museum of Natural History’s Rose Center for Earth and Science, New York City Opera, the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the historic Lower East Side and the United Nations. Also, each semester, scholars and opinion-makers from a broad array of fields—including politics, science, the arts and commerce—address the honors students in small, intimate settings. Finally, honors students enjoy leadership workshops on topics ranging from time management to financial literacy. 

News & Events

Spring 2021 Events

Honors students are invited to participate in a range of trips to cultural attractions around New York City each semester. These outings include visits to museums, plays, operas, concerts and trips to such ''only in New York'' places as the United Nations and the historic Lower East Side.

The Social Dilemma & Discussion - Thursday, February 18th

Before this event, we will independently watch the acclaimed documentary The Social Dilemma, which highlights the dangerous human impact of social networking. Then Jules Polonetsky, an internet privacy expert, and CEO of the Future of Privacy Forum, will lead us in discussion of the issues raised by the film. 

Pompeii: The City Frozen in Time - Friday, March 5th

We will travel through time and space for this fascinating virtual tour of the ancient city of Pompeii, which was famously buried by the volcanic eruption of Mout Vesuvius. An expert archeologist will introduce us to "the city frozen in time" and the daily life of its past inhabitants.

A variety of speakers are invited to address honors students each semester. These speakers are drawn from a broad array of fields, including politics, medicine, the nonprofit sector, business, science and the arts. They talk about recent developments in their particular fields, discuss their own research and work, and field student questions. Successful female professionals are also invited to share with students their strategies for balancing the demands of careers, children and community.

Genetic Testing - Tuesday, February 2nd

In this event, jointly offered by all the YU undergraduate honors programs, SCW alumna Esther Rose, a certified genetic counselor and outreach coordinator for JScreen, and Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz, director of Semikhah at RIETS, will discuss genetic testing from both a scientific and halachic perspective. 

Alumnae Panel - Wednesday, March 17th

A panel of impressive Honors Program alumnae, who span a range of professional fields, will discuss their careers, reflect on how they balance personal and professional goals, offer advice for making the most of SCW, and answer our questions.

Professionals and community leaders join honors students several times a semester to conduct leadership training sessions. These workshops are designed to help students master skills that will make them more effective leaders both at Stern and beyond. Sessions help students master fundamental skills in: networking, interviewing, negotiating, time management and conflict resolution. They also address such issues as applying for prestigious fellowships and developing financial literacy.

Workshop on Meaningful Work - Tuesday, April 13th

In this highly interactive workshop, Dr. Chris Golde -- a highly accomplished career coach at Stanford University -- will guide us in using the online Meaningful Work Kit to identify the values, skills, and elements of work culture that are most important to us.  (Please attend this event on a computer, not a small-screen device.)

Senior Project Presentations - Wednesday, April 28th

Senior Projects are due April 27th, and the next day we will celebrate our seniors and hear about their discoveries, when each briefly presents her research findings. It will be fast-paced and lots of fun! 

Fall 2020 Events

Honors students are invited to participate in a range of trips to cultural attractions around New York City each semester. These outings include visits to museums, plays, operas, concerts and trips to such ''only in New York'' places as the United Nations and the historic Lower East Side.

Etgar Keret - Sunday, September 13
The acclaimed Israeli writer, whose most recent collection of stories Fly Away (2019) was many times over named a "Best Book of the Year," will read a sampling of his work and then engage with us in a Q & A session.  

John Singer Sargent - Wednesday, December 9
Stephanie L. Herdrich, a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, will present highlights from the Met’s collection of Sargent’s works, which provide a captivating insight into European and American cosmopolitan life around the turn of the twentieth century.

A variety of speakers are invited to address honors students each semester. These speakers are drawn from a broad array of fields, including politics, medicine, the nonprofit sector, business, science and the arts. They talk about recent developments in their particular fields, discuss their own research and work, and field student questions. Successful female professionals are also invited to share with students their strategies for balancing the demands of careers, children and community.

Good Trouble - Tuesday, October 27
We will watch a special online screening of this new documentary chronicling the life and career of the legendary civil rights activist John Lewis and then engage in a discussion of the Civil Rights movement led by Ellen Schrecker, a professor emerita of American history at Yeshiva University.  

Climate Solutions Workshop – Monday, November 23
Dr. Tamara Shapiro Ledley, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Earth Science Information Partners, will lead this interactive workshop, in which we will learn how and why the climate is changing and test a wide range of strategies for addressing global climate change.

Professionals and community leaders join honors students several times a semester to conduct leadership training sessions. These workshops are designed to help students master skills that will make them more effective leaders both at Stern and beyond. Sessions help students master fundamental skills in: networking, interviewing, negotiating, time management and conflict resolution. They also address such issues as applying for prestigious fellowships and developing financial literacy.

Mastering the Art of Virtual Communication - Tuesday, September 22
Jackie Miller, a communication and public speaking coach and president of Bespoken Partners, will offer this very timely leadership session. 

Stress Management - Friday, November 13
In this workshop, led by a facilitator from Performance Management Consultants, we will learn to how to be resilient and effectively deal with stress to become more productive, happy, healthy, and in control of difficult situations. 

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