Scholars win conceptualization contest


Pictured: Michelle Calderon, Neida Perez, and Hope Kelly

By: Dr. Andrew Yox, Honors Director

For over ten years in the “BioTex” seminar at NTCC, honors students have experienced a November “email shootout.” This is something like a cross between an ongoing basketball game with scores changing in real time, and a fast-paced, scholarly-poetic thinkathon. The course challenges students to conceptualize the elements of their Texas history research essays, to utilize crossover “analogs, (terms)” particularly from biology, and to provide terse definitions of newly minted concepts.

This year’s winners of the 2 November event included a team appropriately named the “Tigers,” and an individual high scorer with a most promising “arresting concept.”  Neida Perez anchored the Tiger team’s win, attaining the most overall points.  Hope Kelly was the second leading scorer.  Michelle Calderon, and Haley Lewis completed the ranks of the victorious “Tiger” team.  Professor Jim Ward of the BioTex seminar helped mentor the group.

Haley Lewis
Haley Lewis

All four students are receiving $25 for their efforts.  They also now have promising “governing concepts” for their 3,300-word essays in Texas history, due at the end of Finals Week.  Perez is working on a pioneering effort concerning the microbial menace of Texas history.  Texans have tended to research diseases connected with overconsumption rather than coming to terms with viral and bacterial infestations.  Kelly has isolated a “kinetic vernacular,” examining mannerisms of the best Texas actors playing Texan roles.  Calderon is focusing on the indirect political strategy of Minnie Fisher Cunningham and the Texas suffragettes, a theme of this year’s film effort.  Lewis has conceptualized the place of Texas Governor Dolph Briscoe within the constellation of changing politics in the South during the 1970s.

Honors Director and Texas history professor Dr. Andrew Yox notes that “conceptualization is the key to writing an alluring, coherent essay, animated by a creative argument. Our students do this well, and there are many more we could mention not only in the honors seminar, but in non-honors sections of history where a state-mandated goal is to form a “creative argument.” At the same time, I am very excited about the conceptualized essays Calderon, Kelly, Lewis, and Perez are developing.”

Michelle Calderon and Neida Perez are 2022 graduates of Mount Pleasant High School.  Hope Kelly has had diverse educational experiences, in Europe, Central America, and Mexico. Haley Lewis resides in Lone Star and is a graduate of Daingerfield High School.