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2012 Portz Scholars

The NCHC Portz Scholars Program began in 1990 to enable NCHC to acknowledge John and Edythe Portz’s many contributions to honors education.  We continue to honor their memory by selecting the top four research/creative papers by undergraduate honors students who have been nominated by their institutions for their outstanding work.

In addition to the NCHC Portz Scholars Program, the Committee on Awards and Grants annually awards several NCHC Portz Grants in recognition of and support of innovation in honors programs and colleges.

The Committee on Awards and Grants is pleased to announce the 2012 NCHC Portz Scholars for the 23rd year of the competition.  Members of the Committee read approximately 39 outstanding papers during the first part of the summer and selected the top four NCHC Portz Scholars student papers.

The four 2012 NCHC Portz Scholars will present summaries of their research during the NCHC Portz Scholars Presentations on Saturday, November 17, from 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM in Berkeley A/B. They will also be honored at 9:30 AM following the Business Meeting in Constitution Ballroom A.  Each will be awarded a $250 stipend and complimentary conference registration.

The 2012 NCHC Portz Scholars are:

Adee Benartzy, University of Florida

Adee Benartzy, University of Florida

Adee Benartzy, University of Central Florida
Honors Dean, Dr. Alvin Wang

“The Pastel Medium: Communicating Sexuality and Promiscuity in Late Nineteenth Century Paris”

This paper focuses on the use of pastel in art in late nineteenth-century Paris and the distinctive characteristics of the art that defines that period – the hypersexuality of the Parisian prostitute.  The paper argues that, while the use of pastel holds a traditionally subsidiary position to other historically primary media, the pastel medium prevailed in communicating the sexuality, sensuality, and promiscuity of the sinful female in Paris at the close of the century.  The paper also emphasizes the unique advantages and overall credence of the pastel medium.


Jeffrey Cisneros, University of Texas San Antonio

Jeffrey Cisneros, University of Texas San Antonio
Honors Dean, Dr. Richard Diem

The Reception of John Boswell’s Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality in the Academic and Public Spheres

This paper presents both a historiographic examination of John Boswell’s Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality and an investigation of the social and cultural turmoil of the times that contributed to reactions to the book.  The paper details how the emergence of the modern “culture wars” and the removal of homosexuality from the list of diagnostic mental disorders made the conditions right for a sharply divided reaction to a book about gay history.

Connor Favreau, University of South Alabama

Connor Favreau, University of South Alabama

Connor Favreau, University of South Alabama
Honors Director, Dr. Michael Doran

A Christian Existentialist Approach to Euthyphro’s Dilemma

This paper addresses the Christian existentialist, Søren Kierkegaard’s insights on, Euthyphro’s Dilemma, which asks whether things are good because God commands them or whether God commands them because they are good.  The paper argues that Kierkegaard denies God’s moral efficacy, holding that God’s command functions only suggestively, which allows Kierkegaard to secure the ultimate moral freedom of the individual.

Andrew Paul

Andrew Paul, University of Mississippi

Andrew Paul, University of Mississippi
Honors Dean, Dr. Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez

“The River Thief:  A Collection of Short Fiction”

This work contains a collection of short stories linked through their emphasis on Southern Jewish identity and the influences of Eastern European folktales.


This year's Portz Scholars were selected by Victoria Bocchichio (Kent State University),  Kate Bruce (University of North Carolina, Wilmington), Tracie Burke (Christian Brothers University), Ann Eisenberg (University of Texas at San Antonio), Melinda Frederick (Prince George's Community College), Leslie Heaphy (Kent State University), Cynthia Laurie-Rose (Otterbein College), Virginia McCombs (Oklahoma City University), Pamela Mertz (St. Mary’s College of Maryland), Greta Pennell (University of Indianapolis), Brian Railsback (Western Carolina University), and Betsy Yarrison (University of Baltimore).

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