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Jenchi Yao '18

Jenchi Yao class of 2018

Jenchi Yao '18

"I chose the Salem State Honors Program because it is a close-knit community of professors and peers who are willing to help me succeed academically. My favorite things about the honors program are the fun events, such as the Murder Mystery party and the Honors Convocation. These are good community bonding experiences, as well as fun nights to relax."


  • The Presidential Scholars Program awards direct grants to every Honors student  regardless of financial need. The grant is $1,000 and is renewable for four years. Transfer students may be eligible for additional funding. 
  • The Senator Paul E. Tsongas Scholarship is a full waiver of tuition and fees awarded to five students from Massachusetts who are distinguished in terms of class rank, high school GPA and scores on the SAT and AP exams. Students who wish to be considered for Tsongas scholarships must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with Salem State University (code# 002188).
  • With the support of generous donors, we offer additional grants for student research, study abroad, and attendance at regional or national conferences. 
  • Honors courses are capped at 20 students and favor a seminar format, which allows for greater interaction and a chance for students and professor to learn from one another. Many of our classes offer opportunities for research, field trips, and service-learning.
  • Honors courses taken during your first and second year will also fulfill General Education requirements. Honors coursework taken during your junior and senior years will support you in developing a thesis proposal, completing your project, and preparing for life beyond graduation.
  • Honors faculty are innovative, engaged, and experienced scholars and educators. Their courses frequently include opportunities for student research, service- learning, field trips, and guest speakers.
  • Professor Kimberly Poitevin coordinates the Honors program. You can reach her at

In a typical year, honors students will get together for dinners, Honors Convocation, guest lectures, community service and cultural trips to places such as Boston, Washington D.C. and New York City. The program actively supports student travel to regional and national honors conferences. Honors students have attended and participated in recent national and regional conferences in Orlando, Florida; Washington, D.C.; Chicago, Illinois; Morristown, New Jersey; Brooklyn, New York; Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; and Providence.

Popular annual events include:

  • Programming led by the Honors Program Advisory Council, a student-led group focused on creating fun events such as the Murder Mystery Night, Paint Night, and more.
  • Cape Cod retreat for incoming students 
  • Honors fall dinner  
  • Weekend trips to New York City, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia
  • The Honors Etiquette Dinner each fall
  • Statewide undergraduate research conference 
  • Honors convocation
  • Civic dinners, Community Service opportunities, and more in partnership with SSU’s Center for Civic Engagement
  • In 2004, under the leadership of Professor Rod Kessler, the Salem State Honors Program was granted membership in the Commonwealth Honors Program by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education.
  • Current and past coordinators have played an active role in this integrated network of honors programs throughout the Massachusetts public college and university system. 
  • Salem State University is a long-standing member of both the National and Northeast Collegiate Honors Councils. 
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