Inside the Honors Studio Series

A new initiative designed to enhance Honors education.

Inside the Honors Studio Series are interdisciplinary workshop programs designed with Honors students in mind to take their learning outside of the classroom.

The workshop series provide Honors students opportunities to work closely with Honors faculty to enhance their knowledge of a particular area of study or skill; to give back to the community in a tangible way; to hone their professional skills; and provide many more opportunities to grow through the University Honors Program. Successful completion of a program (i.e., participation in all sessions, demonstration of key competencies learned throughout the series) will be considered as completion of one of the Honors courses required for Graduation with University Honors Distinction.

Art, Health, and Story: Narrative Health Psychology in Critical Times, facilitated by Prof. Irina Todorova, is designed to enable University Honors students to examine the role of storytelling in making sense of unexpected disruptions in our everyday lives. We will learn about the discipline of narrative health psychology, its theory, and application in uncertain times. Narrative psychology posits that we actively construct the world through narratives, and we live through the stories told. Narratives weave shared ways of making sense of the world and experience; they are at the same time personal, relational, and grounded in social context. Considering the disruptions in daily activities, future plans, social connections and general uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, this series will give us an opportunity to take time to reflect and explore what we are learning during this time – through narrative practices.

Participants will use the participatory method of Photovoice, defined as a process through which people can “identify, represent and enhance their community.” It aims to bring people together to share their current stories and make sense of concerns and disruptions in daily life and social relations. Participants will photograph scenes of our daily lives and of our writings/artwork through this participatory method (video and audio are also acceptable), which will be taught during the series as adapted for on-line projects. Participants will be encouraged to share creations they select (while certainly having the choice to keep other creations private). At the end of the series, creations they select will be collaged together into the collaborative Photovoice project. The project will represent shared experiences of the pandemic by a community of students, ways of making sense and connecting with each other.

Irina Todorova, PhD is a health psychologist, currently Director of Research at the Institute of Coaching at McLean/Harvard Medical School. She teaches health psychology at the Department of Applied Psychology at Northeastern, Bouvé College of Health Sciences; currently she is on the Bouvé team providing programs to support the Northeastern community during the COVID-19 outbreak. Previously she was Clinical Associate Professor at the Department of Health Sciences & Center on Population Health and Health Disparities, as well as Interim Director of the Masters in Public Health Program at Northeastern University. Todorova works on issues related to psychosocial aspects of health and well-being, social change and health, and health and gender inequalities. Most of her work includes qualitative/narrative or mixed methods approaches and she has been on multiple Capstone and Doctoral committees that include qualitative research. Todorova has taught courses in Health Psychology, Qualitative Research; Narrative Inquiry; Gender, Health and the Body; Health Promotion

Social Justice and Performance: Perspectives and Positionality, led by Emma Futhey, MA, Ph.D. Candidate, will introduce participants to different definitions of performance; how performance is a part of public life, particularly within the context of social justice and social issues; how activists use performative techniques to create awareness, accomplish a specific goal, change perspectives on an issue, and/or disrupt day-to-day life.

Four of the sessions will be dedicated to discussions and activities based on performance theory and techniques as they relate and are used in specific social movements, such as Feminist and LGBTQ issues, communities of color and indigenous communities’ activism, and the Federal Theatre Project.

The last session will be student presentations and reflections based on the final proposal assignment. Students will submit a proposal for a creative project, action, or event which applies theories, techniques, performative models, and/or ideas from class discussions to a current social issue which they are passionate about.

Emma Futhey is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies at Tufts University. She is an academic advisor for the University Honors Program. She has presented papers at the Comparative Drama Conference, Mid-America Theatre Conference, and the annual Association for Theatre in Higher Education conference.  Emma has taught a variety of interdisciplinary courses for Tufts, including Race, Gender and Ethnicity on the U.S.-American Stage, Early Modern Drama, and Modern & Post-Modern Drama. She is finishing her dissertation, “‘Born for Universal Sway’: Women and Performance Culture in Boston, 1785-1861,” a cultural exploration of the performance of womanhood in Antebellum Boston.

Facilitated by Dr. Maureen Timmons, The Power of Visual Thinking in Action is designed to offer Honors students opportunities to explore and develop their skills with visual thinking and learning. This Visual Thinking Studio Series is designed to offer University Honors students an opportunity to explore and develop visual thinking competencies. It will be fun, engaging and creative. We’ll use pens, paper, whiteboards, post-it notes and index cards (and music) to practice visual thinking. Many of us are visual learners and learning how to communicate visually is a powerful tool in academics, the workplace and life. It helps to visually capture content to connect, ideate, retain and share. Please join us for a memorable learning experience to understand the competencies of visual thinking that you may add to your essential superpower’s toolbox.

Dr. Maureen Timmons is a visual thinker, sketchnoter, and Director of Northeastern University’s Dining Services. As director, she oversees all 31 dining locations on campus that serve an average of 20,000 people per day and includes: retail and residential dining, catering, and concessions. During her multi-decade tenure, she and her team have transformed the university’s dining services in alignment with the overall growth of the institution. Northeastern’s award-winning dining program is focused on nourishing the university community and beyond through food, service, education, and sustainability.

Transformative Storytelling: Personal Narrative at the Intersection of Justice and Healing, led by Honors Professor of the Practice Michael Patrick MacDonald. Professor MacDonald will lead the students in his community-based Transformative Storytelling curriculum, The Rest of the Story, developed and implemented with survivor communities in Boston, New York, and Northern Ireland to foster healing among families who have experienced trauma or long-term conflict. Students will learn about the power of sharing the stories of victims and survivors and the role of empathy in transforming conflict, bridging difference, and building community.

The workshop series will include a presentation by Professor MacDonald on transformative storytelling and its role in restorative justice; an interactive transformative writing workshop, implemented with communities in Boston, New York, and Belfast; and, short-term community-based service with the Louis D Brown Peace Institute in support of the production of an anthology of writings by survivors who have lost a family member to homicide.

Professor MacDonald teaches two seminars and leads a Dialogue of Civilizations for the University Honors Program, in addition to being Writer-in-Residence and Honors Professor of the Practice. He is the author of the New York Times Bestselling memoir, All Souls: A Family Story From Southie and the acclaimed Easter Rising: A Memoir of Roots and Rebellion. Professor MacDonald was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in 2019, which took him to Northern Ireland to write and work on issues of social justice.

Eloquent Presentations, led by Antonio Ocampo-Guzman, Associate Professor and Interim Department Chair in Theatre, will provide Honors students opportunities to enhance their professional and leadership competencies through an interdisciplinary lens, combining theatre-based improvisation and voice and speech exercises to enrich their mental agility, spatial awareness, adaptability, teamwork, risk-taking instincts, intuition, and more. The ultimate goal is to increase students’ confidence in their abilities to command an audience.


Professor Ocampo-Guzman has over twenty-five years of professional theatrical experience, and has acted, directed and coached over 50 productions in several countries. He received a Master of Fine Arts in Directing and a Graduate Diploma in Voice from York University, Toronto, and is a Linklater Master Voice Teacher.