May 24, 2022

A Franke Honors Freshman Shares Why She Gives Back and The Importance of Alumni Involvement

Student using a saw at Honors Build Day 2022


Emma Romano is a Freshman in the Franke Honors College and President of the Honors Service Club. We recently sat down with her to find out what impact service learning has had on her and how alumni involvement and connections can be a mutually beneficial experience for our students and alumni. 

Tell us a little about yourself:

Emma Romano with Dr. Lysette Davi

Emma Romano with Dr. Lysette Davi (former Director of Experiential Learning in the Franke Honors College).

My name is Emma Romano, I am from West Virginia, and I am currently a Franke Honors Freshman (Class of 2025) at the University of Arizona. I am studying molecular and cellular biology with a minor in Health and Human Values. As a high school student, I gained experience in leadership and environmental science through the following: student council positions, serving as president of the Spanish club and co-president for Juniorettes (a local volunteer organization), participating in science fairs, and serving as the environmental coordinator for our local Waste Management. I have continued my passion for environmental science and service leadership by becoming an Outreach and Connections Specialist for the Campus Sustainability Fund, President of the Honors Service Club, PATH Mentor, Disability Resource Notetaker, and a member of the ANNHPI Students for Equity. In the fall, I will be starting as an Undergraduate Researcher in STEM Education and working as a preceptor for Dr. Stephanie Capaldi in MCB181R. I hope to earn my JD/MD after college.  

What has your experience been with service learning in the Franke Honors College? What kind of impact has it had on you?

Coming from a smaller community in West Virginia, the large Tucson city seemed very daunting to me as a freshman. It can be difficult to make friends and feel connected in a city where my family doesn't live. Service learning gave me ties to the Tucson community and began my relationship with the people that live here. Through service events and the Honors Service Club, I was able to make connections with fellow students that had the same passion to evoke change in the world and become a part of a community that was more than happy to welcome me. As President of the Honors Service Club, this community has only grown for me and my love of service and growing Honors Faculty connections. Spring 2022 service projects include fundraising for NAACP Tucson Chapter, Z Mansion volunteering and fundraising, Honors Build Day, Beads of Courage, Sister Jose Women's Shelter volunteering and fundraising as well as supporting local businesses. 

Franke Honors students and volunteers at Habitat for Humanity Tucson

Franke Honors students and volunteers at Habitat for Humanity Tucson in Tucson for our first every Build Day!

Alumni are always looking for ways to give back and get involved. As a student, how would having alumni volunteers be beneficial to the work you do with service-learning and as a student?

It's so beneficial to have alumni volunteers work with the Franke Honors College as students explore service learning. Alumni bring connections to the greater Tucson community and beyond, as well as captivating recounts of their days at the Franke Honors College. Alumni can also help students see places where volunteering is needed that may have been overlooked. Students are always looking for new connections and perspectives to grow their overall educational experience and alumni volunteers would help facilitate that. Alumni involvement brings a sense of expertise, guidance, and passion for learning to students that can only make our community grow larger and stronger.  

Get involved

Alumni are our best ambassadors, and an engaged alumni network allows students like Emma to benefit from the skills and experience of graduates. Student mentoring is a meaningful way for alumni to connect and share their experience and expertise with current students. 

Whether it’s talking to prospective students, mentoring a current student through Honors Link, providing career advice to a soon-to-be graduate, or being part of one of our amazing service-learning programs, by sharing your expertise and experiences with students, you are giving back in the most powerful of ways. Learn more about the ways you can get involved: 

Honors Link through the Wildcat Mentor Society  

Honors LINK (Leverage, Influence, Networking, and Knowledge) is a mentoring program through the Wildcat Mentor Society that matches Franke Honors Alumni Mentors with Franke Honors Student Mentees. Mentors will help students through their academic journeys, Honors thesis, and career exploration and development. Mentors will enable them to build their professional network, strengthen their Arizona alumni network, and create deep, meaningful mentor-mentee relationships which may last well beyond this program. To learn more and to apply for the 2022-2023 program year, visit: https://wms.arizona.edu/honors-link-mentoring 

Join the Bear Down Network! 

The Franke Honors College encourages students to get connected by joining our W. A. Franke Honors Group at BearDownNetwork.com. The Bear Down Network is a social media platform that allows alumni and students to connect with other Wildcats and offers a way to get the latest on news and happenings. It's also a great way for students to get and stay connected with UArizona and is also a free professional resource. It differs from LinkedIn as the Bear Down Network is exclusive to Wildcats! 

Honors Alumni Volunteer Interest Survey 

Please take a moment to fill out our short Honors Alumni Volunteer Interest Survey. Once completed, you will be added to a list of involved Franke Honors College graduates. When service opportunities arise that meet the interests you indicate, we will contact you. 

You may also visit our Honors Stay Connected page for additional information on ways you can become a part of our Franke Honors community of support. Please reach out to Candice Crossey with any questions.  

Thank you and Bear Down!