Spenser Willden, an honors interdisciplinary liberal arts and English creative writing major at the University of New Mexico, has shared his positive experience with the UNM Honors College. Willden, originally from Roswell, N.M., praised the Honors College's supportive faculty, creative course material, and diverse community.

"The discussion-based learning model allows students to expand their horizons while also giving them the opportunity to focus on the topics that interest them, providing students the tools necessary to continue their education long after their undergraduate career has ended," Willden explained. 

Willden also shared how the Honors College was integral to his education at UNM. As a sophomore, he was a staff member on Scribendi, where he learned about writing and publishing, which he has carried into his academic pursuits outside of the university. He credits Szasz, Amaris Ketcham, and Megan Jacobs, faculty members in the Honors College, for suggesting he consider majoring in honors to study his interests more specifically and focus on his goals.

Spenser Willden

"The Honors College shaped my sort-of nebulous ideas of study into a decisive plan, one that allowed me to take classes from multiple departments that all pointed toward my ultimate goal," Willden said.

The Honors College also helped Willden develop his ability to think in an interdisciplinary manner. He cited his work on Scribendi and his senior teaching experience with Dr. Szasz as instrumental in shaping his thinking about the importance of looking at art from creative, critical, and social standpoints.

"I've learned that no art exists in a vacuum; even in a field like stand-up comedy, creative work reveals itself in the culture around it, reflecting literary, artistic, social, historical, and even scientific contexts," Willden noted.

Willden also highlighted his work "The Art of Stand-up Comedy" with Dr. Szasz, in which they explored stand-up comedy's development and role in creating and supporting modern mythology.

Overall, Willden's experience with the Honors College at UNM has been overwhelmingly positive and has shaped his future aspirations. He hopes to pursue an MFA in creative nonfiction with the goal of an eventual career in publishing, comedy, filmmaking, or education and creative writing.