University Honors Program Staff


Amelia Zurcher, Director

Contact Amelia:

Here in Honors I….oversee all aspects of the Honors Program, including admissions, curriculum, Honors research, and all our connections with the rest of the University and our alumni. I also do some advising and teach at least one Honors class per year.

I like thinking about and studying…I’m also a faculty member in the English department, where my scholarly field is early modern British literature.  The seventeenth century in the British Isles was politically and economically volatile and experimental, sometimes in good ways and sometimes in ways that led to some of our worst social problems today, and it has a lot to teach us.  Questions of gender have always had a central role for me, and recently I have also begun to do scholarly research in teaching and learning.  I also love reading (especially novels, all kinds), cooking, biking, and dogs.  I wish I could have a dog’s nose for a day, to know what the world is like when you can smell several orders of magnitude more acutely than a human can.

The most unexpected thing that happened to me in college was…I loved political science, which I thought I had no interest in at all.  I never left my English major, but my political science classes on the history of citizenship and on gender and politics shaped both my graduate work and a lot of what I do outside of work per se. 


Erin Brooker-Miller, Administrative Assistant

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Here in Honors I…handle all the administrative aspects of making the program run including budgeting, building classes, managing enrollment and student records, updating the website, and purchasing supplies. I also write and publish the Honors Digest!

I like thinking about and studying…music and non-profits! In addition to working at Marquette, I am the Principal Harpist of the Des Moines Symphony and perform with many other orchestras throughout the country. I have also worked as the Executive Director of the USA International Harp Competition and would like to continue my career in the non-profit arts field in the future. This interest has led me to pursue an MBA right here at Marquette. Beyond my career, I’m interested in outdoor activities (hiking, camping, kayaking, gardening, and most recently cross-country skiing), reading, traveling, and drinking great coffee!

The most unexpected thing that happened to me in college was…realizing I wanted to go all in on music! I started my undergraduate pursuing a dual-degree in Biology and Music and joined a small cohort of honors biology students my sophomore year. At the first class meeting, my fellow students asked why I wasn’t in any of the program's other classes and it dawned on me that I had filled the rest of my schedule with music classes! This realization sparked my change to focusing solely on music and I’m so glad I did!

Karalee Surface

Karalee Surface, Honors Advisor

Contact Karalee:

Here in Honors students in all manner of issues—from selecting courses during registration to exploring new majors, connecting with research or extracurricular opportunities, finding internships, and navigating various personal and academic crises as they arise. In addition, I serve as a point person for students interested in pursuing prestigious fellowships and as the primary advisor for the Fulbright U.S. Student program.

I like thinking about and studying...storytelling, history, gender equity, and disability. As an undergraduate, I majored in television and film with a plan to be a film producer, and I pursued graduate degrees in American history with an emphasis on social history (pots-and-pans, everyday life) and disability. I am an avid reader, and aside from my work at Marquette, I freelance as a copyeditor and developmental editor. Unsurprisingly, I love hearing students’ stories and helping them to develop their stories through transformative experiences here at Marquette.

The most unexpected thing that happened to me in college was...two separate experiences that subtly reshaped all of my career plans. As a first-year student, I had an amazing opportunity to connect with a mentor in the history department for a personal research project on rock music of the 1960s, which sparked my love of history. Two years later, I took a study abroad trip led by my work supervisor (an entomology professor). The course was on a topic I knew nothing about—organic farming!—but he encouraged me to go and explore Europe, and my decision to pursue graduate study stemmed directly from the unexpected conversations I had with a group of students and faculty who I almost never met.