Honors Spotlight - Coastal Carolina University
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Honors Student Spotlight

Are you wondering what type of students are in the HTC Honors Program? Look at our Student Spotlight to find out! These students are doing great things both in and out of the classroom. The only characteristic that is common among them is they all want to be challenged academically. 

Profiles of our 2020 Honors Students »

Current Students Spotlight

Kallie Stephens is co-president of Honors Student Council, an Honors Research Fellow, and an Honors Orientation Leader. She is involved in the TORCH Psychology Lab at Coastal that is looking at the effectiveness of an online intervention (Beating the Blues) for depression in cancer populations and is conducting research for her senior thesis on how media reports play a role in depressive symptoms.

When asked about what she would tell future Honors students about the program she responded:

“Future students should definitely look for ways to get involved! There are tons of opportunities in the HTC Honors College, so putting yourself out there and getting involved in Honors organizations is very rewarding.”
Kallie Stephens
Surfside Beach, S.C. 
Psychology, Class of 2020

Kassidy Smith is co-president and social media coordinator of Honors Student Council, an Honors Research Fellow, an Honors Orientation Leader, a member of the Kenneth E. Swain Scholars Program, the CCU Softball team, the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, and one of the Sun Belt Conference Ambassadors.

She is currently working with the Breaking Suicide and Depression (S.A.D.) Initiative. This initiative is focused on finding the potential relationships between screen time usage and depression/suicide. The HTC Honors Program has been an amazing experience and has opened many opportunities in leadership that will be extremely beneficial for her after college.

When asked about what she would tell future Honors students about the program she responded:

“Never be afraid to challenge yourself, do things outside your comfort zone, and don’t be afraid to get involved on campus. Getting involved on campus will help you develop your networking skills for later in life, as well as create lifelong friendships with the people you meet.”
Kassidy Smith
Collinsville, Ill.
Biology, Class of 2020

"The Honors Program has opened up opportunities to study the things I am passionate about. My thesis has given me the opportunity to work closely with the Coastal professors and build my resume for future professional endeavors. I am currently writing my thesis on the responsibility of university leadership to protect student-athletes from sexual assault and Title IX violations."

In addition to her academics, Regan McComb is the treasurer of Honors Student Council and an Honors Research Fellow.

When asked about what she would tell future Honors students about the program she responded:

“I would like future honors college students to know that they can begin planning for their thesis and making connections with their professors from day one. There are plenty of opportunities through honors, you just have to reach out and get involved.”
Regan McComb
Pennsburg, Pa.
Recreation and Sports Management, Class of 2020

Meredith Persin likes being part of the HTC Honors Program because she is meeting fellow students who also have a passion for learning, and professors that really care about their student’s success. She also enjoys the fact her classes are great and the topics are diverse. She is the President of Students Advocating Gender Equality (SAGE), a member of Triota (national honor society dedicated to recognizing and encouraging academic excellence in  WGST.), Sigma Tau Delta (English Honor Society), and the Coastal Writes Fellowship. As if being in the Honors program and various clubs is not enough, she is also working to complete her degree in three years.

When asked about what she would tell future Honors students about the program she responded:

“Don’t be scared to join! The honors college faculty and honors professors are all super nice and willing to help you succeed. You can get so much more out of your education when you really push yourself!”
Meredith Persin
Myrtle Beach, S.C. 
English/Women’s and Gender Studies Minor, Class of 2021

Krystina Millar loves a challenge and wants a more advanced experience at Coastal. Her experience in the HTC Honors College has been phenomenal; she has had the opportunity to travel, present research, take advanced sociology courses, and work with great mentors. She is a member of the Triota Women's and Gender Studies Honors Society, SAGE, the Jackson Scholars Program, the Dyer Fellowship Program, and Phi Sigma Tau International Honor Society in Philosophy. She won third place in the 2018 CCU Undergraduate Research Competition and had been on the President’s list each semester.

When asked about what she would tell future Honors students about the program she responded:

“When choosing which courses to take for Honors, make a point to select courses that are especially applicable to your intended career path or area of graduate study. For example, I took my Research Methods course for Honors credit. This way, your advanced education will serve you in the best way possible! Plus you will likely have a closer mentor relationship with a faculty member that can help you seek out new opportunities and guide you as you continue on after Coastal.” 


  • “It’s Not Just, ‘I Don’t Agree with the Theory of Relativity.’ It is, ‘I Feel Like You Are Calling Into Question My Lived Experience.’”: Teaching Gender Studies in Higher Education
  • Double Jeopardy: Minority Stress and the Influence of Transgender Identity and Race/Ethnicity
  • Millar, K. 2018. “(C)locked Up: Transgender Women in the American Prison System.” Sprinkle: An Undergraduate Journal of Feminist and Queer Studies 11:72-86.


  • Millar, K. 2018. “The Value of Water: Gender and Desired Outcomes in Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring.” Paper presented at the National Women’s Studies Association Annual Conference, November 10, Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Millar, K. 2018. “The Value of Water: How Gender Shapes Participation in Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring.” Paper presented at the Society for the Study of Social Problems Conference, August 10, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • McCauley, J., and K. Millar. 2018. “"Not Just a Volunteer": Citizen Empowerment Through Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring.” Poster presented at the European Citizen Science Association Conference, June 4, Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Millar, K. 2018. “The Value of Water: Gender and Perception of Importance of Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring.” Paper presented at the New Directions in Gender Studies Conference, April 28, University of Notre Dame, Indiana.
  • Millar, K. 2018. “Gender Differences Regarding Motivation, Involvement, and Desired Outcomes in Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring.” Paper presented at the 2018 South Carolina Sociological Association Annual Meeting, February 23, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
  • Carlson, K. S., and K. Millar. 2017. “Challenges and Supports in the Romantic Relationships of Transgender and Gender Non-conforming Persons.” Paper presented at the 63rd Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association, March 9, Atlanta, Georgia.

Krystina Millar
Murrells Inlet, S.C.
Sociology, Class of 2019

Kyra Ricci says “The papers/projects that I'm most proud of and taught me the most were my honors projects.” Currently, she is studying neurodegeneration, a member of TriBeta Biological Honor Society and Aqua League. She has presented at the Undergraduate Research competition, spoke at the CoBRAS series at Coastal, and is published in the Journal of Neurogenetics.

When asked about what she would tell future Honors students about the program she responded:

“You get out of it what you put in. Sometimes the extra work can seem overwhelming, but it can give you some really useful experience and give a leg up for the next step after college.”
Kyra Ricci
Biology, Class of 2021

Zach Green enjoys being a part of the HTC Honors Program because, “being around academically ambitious peers is the best way to make the most of your college experience.”  He is the Founder and President of the Speed Racer Club, Upstage, and works with the Musical Theatre department. Zach has published an original play "South Dakota Is a Lie," and was published in the 2017 issue of The Outlet, an award-winning high school literary magazine.
Zach Green
Charleston, S.C.

Musical Theatre, Class of 2022

Jenna Thompson wanted to be part of something as soon as she got to CCU and the HTC Honors Program offered that opportunity.  She loves being part of the Honors Program as she gets to live with other Honors students who all have different majors, but share a common priority: school and grades. She also likes that professors get to know you better as you work with them on course requirements. Jenna is an Honors Orientation Leader and Research Fellow, which has given her even more opportunities to meet incoming freshmen and help them transition to college as well as conduct research in her field. She is currently completing research to examine exercise intensity, energy expenditure and perceptual responses to moderate-intensity steady-state exercise and variable-intensity exercise in healthy adults and hopes to present her research at the American College of Sports Medicine conference in May.

Jenna has been a fixture on the President’s list, is a member of Phi Eta Sigma, and is currently Vice President of Phi Sigma Pi (a national honor fraternity).
Jenna Thompson
Fairfax, Va,
Exercise and Sport Science/Biology Minor, Class of 2020

The HTC Honors Program offers more opportunities to do hands-on work in your major area and collaborate with your professors on their research, which is why Keegan Vath is here. Just in case his coursework is not challenging enough, he is also part of the CCU Orientation Team, Community Council, Residence Hall Association, Coastal BCM, CRU, Sprout, Rotaract Service Club, CCU Climbing Club, Relay For Life, Colleges Against Cancer, American Cancer Society, Sea Turtle Club, and Hammock Club. If you want to know what is going on, on campus, ask Keegan.

Although he has not started formal research, he has presented a small research project to a 300-level Hydrodynamics and is looking forward to continuing his future projects.
Keegan Vath
Charleston, S.C.

Marine Science, Class of 2022