Scholar Societies

First-Year Honors Scholars spend their first semester in a Scholar Society, a cluster of two fall-semester classes coupled with out-of-class activities linked together to explore a common theme. Each Society is led by one of Tulane’s best faculty who engages you and a small cohort of your peers in intellectual discussions, fieldtrips, and on-campus events. Societies allow students to explore niche interests along with global and local phenomena to expand their realm of knowledge. First-Year Honors Scholars is a one-year experience.

How Scholar Societies Work

Scholar Societies are only open to First-Year Honors Scholars. During the fall semester, each Scholar Society is paired with two complimentary classes, an Honors Colloquium and a core-requirement, both themed around a similar topic. The society continues through the spring semester with out-of-class activities. Societies are led by one faculty and one upperclass mentor and are capped at 30 first-year honors scholars.

You would enroll in one Scholar Society and attend both classes plus any out of class activities hosted by the Scholar Society faculty lead. All-Society meetings will also be held monthly to introduce you to opportunities for high achieving students at Tulane. The year culminates with a graduation as First-Year Honors Scholars end the experience and plan for their second year at Tulane.

Why Choose to Participate in a Society?

Scholar Societies are a proven way to meet other high achieving students and build early connections with dynamic faculty. The small cohort allows for early, meaningful relationships with like-minded peers and provides an easier transition to college. Complimentary courses integrate concepts and allow for more interesting and holistic learning.


Scholar Society spots are on a first-come, first-served basis.The application opens on Wednesday, March 6 at 5p CST and closes at 11:59p CST on Friday, March 15. Prior to course registration, you will receive official confirmation of your society and be pre-registered for all Society courses so you can build the rest of your fall schedule around this course cluster. Please be sure to use your personal email and not your school email as your school email deactivates in the summertime.

Scholar Societies

Explore the 2024-2025 Scholar Societies below:

Books and Reading

This society conducts two book-related events/term, such as a Graveyard Poets reading in the fall and a formal dinner with a Tulane Creative Writing professor in the spring. The society also assists in the coordination of book related events in the English Department (e.g. the annual Ferguson Lecture) and across campus. We also gather less formally for discussions of books that the members are currently reading, either curricularly or extracurricularly. Some prospective events include a graveyard poet’s reading and a formal dinner with a creative writing professor.

Dr. Mike Kuczynski, Professor, English |  BIO

Brain, Arts and Music: BAM!

Recent advances in neuroscience allow us to explore the relationships between the brain and our musical and artistic experiences. For the first time, researchers are able to see how visual art and music change the brain as well as how individual brain differences influence artistic expression and creativity. The BAM! Society will explore the intersections of neuroscience, music, and the visual arts through readings, discussions, and local cultural outings. Members of this society will have the opportunity to interact with local culture bearers and to experience the city's unique musical and artistic heritage.

Dr. Lyle Colombo, Adjunct Professor |  BIO

Cultural Engagement

In the Cultural Engagement Scholar Society, we’ll visit art and history museums, independent movie theatres, and attend live theater productions on and off-campus. Some prospective events include a visit to the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), a trip to the WWII Museum, a private evening tour of the Newcomb Art Museum, and an outing to the Broad Theater.

Dr. Karissa Haugeberg, Associate Professor, History |  BIO

Common Course

HISU 2910 History of the 21st Century
Dr. Jana Lipman | MWF 10:00-10:50a


Feminist Frameworks

From public policy to popular culture, gender impacts the way we think about the world and our place in it. This society centers feminist approaches to literature, film, and public life in New Orleans and beyond. We will read and discuss essays from contemporary authors like Roxanne Gay and Brit Bennet, attend events in the city like the New Orleans Film Festival, and engage with feminist and activist community partners. We’ll talk about how to move from thinking about feminism to becoming more engaged citizens and members of the Tulane and New Orleans community. In the spring, we’ll explore the politics of Carnival with discussions and events that consider how gender performance shapes both the Mardi Gras ball and parading traditions. Prospective events include a tour of a neuroscience research laboratory, a discussion of psychoactive drugs, and an exploration of strategies for deeper learning.

Dr. Aidan Smith, Adjunct Professor, Women and Gender Studies |  BIO

Gray Matter

The human brain has a hundred billion neurons interlinked by a hundred trillion connections, relaying trillions more electrical and chemical signals during each second of your life. Out of this vast communication web emerges your every movement, sensation, urge, thought, decision, and dream. Today, there is no more exciting field than the study of the brain and its impact on our behaviors. The Gray Matter Society provides Honors Scholars with the opportunity to learn more about the fields of Neuroscience and Psychology as thriving sciences and potential career paths. Monthly events are led by faculty members and focus on a variety of brain-related questions such as (1) What do Neuroscience and Psychology tell us about the best strategies for studying and learning? (2) How do psychoactive drugs influence our brains and our behaviors? (3) What biological factors underlie psychological conditions such as anxiety, depression, and attention deficit disorder? In addition, guest faculty members provide valuable guidance for Scholars in planning their majors and future careers in academia, medicine, and other fields.

Dr. Jonathan Fadok, Assistant Professor, Psychology |  BIO

Healthcare Innovations for the World

The tools and technologies used in healthcare are often designed for well-resourced settings. In our society, we will explore how those technologies work (or don’t work) in the rest of the world, considering locations that may not have the same resources as we do in the USA, and considering the implications of healthcare tools and technologies designed for both diverse environments and diverse populations. We will explore innovations and innovators who are making contributions in this field. Conservation with faculty members at Tulane, discussion of inspiring stories of medical innovation, as well as online meetings with innovators in global health will provide topics for discussion of ways to incorporate design for all in healthcare. Some prospective events include a visit to the Global Health Clinic, a screening of a movie on Rwanda zipline drone medicine deliveries, and a trip to the Mobile Medical Museum. Dr. Bayer will also facilitate several conversations on topics relevant to innovation in biomedical engineering for global health.

Dr. Khaled Adjerid, Profesor of Practice, Biomedical Engineering |  BIO

Health Equity and Indigenous People

Before the first Europeans arrived, around 40 distinct indigenous groups intermingled in Bulbancha, or what we now know as New Orleans. Today, regardless of their geographical location or sociopolitical situation, health indicators are always poorer for indigenous populations when compared to the general population. This society will examine New Orleans through a biocultural framework, with a focus on issues confronting indigenous people. Students will meet with indigenous scholars and leaders, and visit an indigenous community impacted by climate change. Other prospective events will be film screenings, a Decolonized Walk of Bulbancha tour, and visits to cultural institutions that have roots in pre-colonial times. These experiences and scholarship will enable students to identify a paradigm oriented towards enhancing health equity through the pathways of research, advocacy, and leadership.

Dr. Lorelei Cropley, Associate Professor, Public Health |  BIO

Life and Death in New Orleans

Tulane was founded as a medical school. How have medicine and public health affected New Orleans? How does New Orleans' history, location, and culture affect the health issues of the city? This society will address health in New Orleans from a medical, public health, and historical perspective. We’ll focus on visiting places around New Orleans with medical and public health significance, such as the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, the Carville Leper Colony, the Tulane Medical School, the yellow fever chapel and cemeteries, and the Culinary Medicine center.

Dr. Emily Harville, Associate Professor, Epidemiology |  BIO

The Science of Happiness

The Science of Happiness Society will directly connect scholarly theories and research on happiness and wellbeing to our everyday lived experiences. Happiness is something humans universally strive for and in recent decades we have learned more and more about the biology, psychology, and sociology of happiness. This society will explore the big question of “What makes us happy?” through a lens of science, while also directly addressing how we can promote a culture of flourishing. Join us as we discuss this topic, hear from interdisciplinary guest speakers, and have experiences that positively affect personal and community wellbeing. Some possible events include volunteering (promoting kindness), field trips to museums/galleries/the zoo (creating awe), picnics in the park (connecting with nature), yoga (practicing mindfulness), writing letters and postcard (experiencing gratitude). This society is for anyone who wants to learn more about wellbeing while implementing practices that are scientifically supported to promote flourishing in your own life.

Dr. Carrie Wyland, Senior Professor of Practice, Psychology |  BIO

World Development

We will explore how different regions in the world developed economically. What was the role of geographical features like the quality of land, the abundance of domesticable animals, and natural resources in agricultural productivity? Has the effect of geographical features persisted to affect the development of countries today? What was the role of economic institutions for development? How have property rights and laws governing economic arrangements played a role in the growth of some regions or countries? How did the economy work in some ancient civilizations like the Incas or the Aztecs. More recently, how have major policy initiatives affected development? For example, how did the increase in world trade affect developing countries? Which government policies have worked best and worst to improve the development of nations? We will also study briefly the economic development of the city of New Orleans.

Dr. Felix Rioja, Associate Professor, Economics |  BIO

World Languages and Cultures

The World Languages and Cultures Society gives students the opportunity to discover new languages and cultures, to meet international faculty member and students, to practice their foreign language skills, and to develop their intercultural competence. The Society will hold monthly events that will put a different country and language in the spotlight. Each event will start with a general introduction to the culture and language of a country and will be followed by a social gathering where society members will meet and interact with faculty members and students from this country. The countries and languages will be: France & French; Morocco & Arabic; Nigeria & Yoruba; China & Chinese; Mexico & Spanish.

Dr. Charles Mignot, Senior Professor of Practice, French and Italian |  BIO