of the QUEST
Why do we seek and
The nature of the quest is related to
Epistomology, a branch of philosophy about
the nature and scope of knowledge and about
the cognitive and psychological phenomena that
explain why we wonder about the nature and scope
of knowledge in the first place. Arthur Koestler wrote,
"The principle mark of genius is not perfection, but
originality, the opening of new frontiers." What sparks
imagination and creativity and leads to originality? Are
imagination and creativity sufficient? What else is required
to open new frontiers? What propels us from being merely
curious or ingenious to risking physical or mental comfort and
well being to explore frontiers when the destination or reward is
unknown? Whether it is the scope of knowledge and understanding
that is limited or our space and movement that is limited -- are we HONORS IN ACTION
naturally motivated to reach beyond limitations? WHAT'S YOUR QUEST?
EXPLORE MORE! This Honors in Action Project begins with an investigation about
MacPhee, Ross D. E. (2010). Race to The End: women who opened new frontiers to discover the characteristics,
Amundsen, Scott, and the Attainment of the South Pole. behaviors and actions they have in common. Research provided
MacPhee takes readers along on each team's trek through Earth's harshest, a list of characteristics, behaviors and actions that the chapter
most unforgiving terrain. He illuminates not only the natural, biological and then used to conduct further research to determine if young
scientific detail, but also the human and emotional motivation to explore. women in the community had programs available to them that
He helps answer the philosophical question asked of every person who identified and assessed characteristics, encouraged behaviors,
undertakes a dangerous and epic exploration: why did he do it? and developed skills for action to inspire young women in the
ways that the women studied may have been encouraged and
Niu, Weihua and Robert J. Sternberg. (2006). "The Philosophical inspired. The chapter learned that no special programs existed
Roots of Western and Eastern Conceptions of Creativity." Journal for young women in the community, which led the chapter to
of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 26: 18_38. develop the What's Your Quest? Program for middle school girls.
Niu and Sternberg explore the roots of creativity and compare and
contrast the Western and Eastern meanings of the concept. PREPARATION
Understanding different views of creativity helps explain why humans SELECTION OF THEME Chapter members had diverse
explore and create meaning from their exploration of frontiers. interests and majors, making it difficult to pick a single theme
everyone wanted to pursue. The thing they had in common was
Pisula, Wojciech. (2009). Curiosity and Information Seeking in that Honors in Action team members were women. Someone
Animal and Human Behavior. suggested that the chapter focus on female explorers and what
Pisula looks at the phenomenon of curiosity in humans and non-human they contributed through their courage to open new frontiers
animals. The author utilizes psychology, ethology and behavioral and their spirit of exploration. The female explorers we
neuroscience to help readers understand how and why we seek novelty considered came from many of the topic's themes, so the team
and gather information. decided to research all of them to determine why they chose
to explore frontiers. Our research aimed at determining if there
Wilson, Edward O. (2012). The Social Conquest of Earth. were characteristics the explorers have in common that help to
Wilson takes a biological, evolutionary approach to understanding how answer the overarching question of Theme 1. (Note: A chapter
and why humans have historically pushed into new frontiers and came to pursuing this example project could use different criteria other
dominate the Earth. He couples biology with social behavior and focuses on than gender for selecting the explorers.)
group selection as a key to understanding how Earth has been conquered.
DEVELOP RESEARCH QUESTIONS
For more sources related to this theme, go to ptk.org/honors. _ What qualities, characteristics, abilities and behaviors do
women who have opened new frontiers in a variety of disciplines _ Research team members conducted research in the community and
have in common? on programs related to empowering adolescent girls.
_ How did they develop the qualities, characteristics, abilities and _ Officers facilitated the discussion of the research and analysis.
behaviors to the level necessary to be successful in their endeavors? _ Team leaders developed an agenda for the workshop that
incorporated some of the research on women explorers and
ACADEMIC RESEARCH Team members divided the general sources exercises suggested by the psychology faculty and advisors and then
for Theme 1 to read and better understand what experts describe as presented a "dry run" of the workshop for the chapter.
the reasons why we seek and explore frontiers. Then they focused their _ Members served as liaisons with the college and garnered the
research on biographies and autobiographies of female explorers: permission to use college facilities and organized the set up and
_ Ideas and Ideologies _ Betty Friedan, Rachel Carson logistics for the workshop.
_ Human Expression _ Virginia Woolf, Maya Angelou, Twyla Tharpe _ Members coordinated promotion and recruited attendees for the
_ Natural Environment _ Jane Goodall, Ruth Harkness, Wangari Maathai program, including collaborating with the local junior highs and the
_ Celestial Frontiers _ Bessie Coleman, Sally Ride, Mae Jemison Big Brothers Big Sisters organization.
_ Temporal and Spatial Physics _ Marie Curie, Phyllis S. Freirer, _ Team members facilitated during the What's Your Quest? Program.
Renata Kallosh _ Members created an evaluation form and analyzed the responses.
_ Health and Medicine as Frontiers _ Clara Barton, Florence
Nightingale, Wafaa El-Sadr COLLABORATION
_ Political Economy _ Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, Aung San _ The college administration allowed the workshop to take place on
Suu Kyi campus, and faculty conducted workshops on facilitating dialogues
_ Borders and Boundaries _ Sacagawea, Janet Wulsin, Ann Bancroft, and coaching.
Liv Arneson _ Two junior highs agreed to promote the workshop.
_ Big Brothers Big Sisters recommended participants and contributed
ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS Each researcher contributed a list of refreshments for the workshop.
qualities, characteristics, abilities and behaviors for the female _ The team completed the preparations necessary to share the
explorer(s) researched. The team looked as well at how each explorer research and the workshop agenda at the Regional Convention.
developed these skills to exemplary levels. Considering all the lists
together, the chapter found that the following are some of the ACTION The chapter scheduled the event and recruited girls ages
characteristics that contributed to their success and seemed to cross the 12-14 to come to the college for a day of self-assessment, self-
eras and parts of the world where these women lived and the disciplines discovery and confidence- and esteem-building activities. We shared
within which they worked. This list is not exhaustive, but helped us the characteristics of the women explorers we had studied to
answer the question,"Why do we seek and explore frontiers?": determine our action. Before the day concluded, each girl also created
_ Curiosity or inquisitiveness a Quest Collage, a poster board of pictures and words that portrayed
_ Confidence her interests and goals.
_ Focus REFLECTION
_ Commitment EVALUATION At the conclusion of the workshop, participants
_ Resources and mentors for preparation (education, training, practice, completed an evaluation form to provide feedback about the day. An
trials, etc.) additional assessment instrument was provided to the participants'
_ Strategies for coping (with risk, fear, loneliness, etc.) parents. The chapter calculated the ratio of positive responses and
comments to neutral or negative responses and comments so they
DETERMINATION OF ACTION The chapter wondered if young women could report this along with attendance statistics to the college and in
in the community had opportunities to develop and enhance the their Honors in Action Hallmark Awards entry. While overwhelmingly
qualities they found common to extraordinary women explorers. positive, the negative responses provided information to improve
They did local research and found no programs aimed specifically at the agenda and the organization of the workshop. Chapter officers
this audience, and they looked into the feasibility of developing and also debriefed the college administration about the workshop so that
launching a program in the community designed for empowering logistical details were also reviewed. Finally, the team members met
young women to reach beyond perceived limitations -- to determine, biweekly to reflect upon the experience and what they gained from
prepare for and follow their quests. participating in our Honors in Action project.
LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT Team members met with psychology FUTURE IMPLICATIONS The success of the workshop and the positive
professors and members of the counseling and advising departments feedback from the schools and organizations indicated that there is a
and learned about programs related to self-esteem and self-efficacy need in the community for this kind of activity for young women, and
for adolescent girls. Upon making the decision to organize a one-day the chapter is seeking additional student organizations and community
workshop for middle school girls, they sought training from faculty collaborators to take the lead and continue the workshop on an annual
related to leading dialogues and coaching, skills crucial to successful basis going forward.
completion of their project.
_ Officers and members read and analyzed research materials.