Interview with Dr. Scott O’Leary

Scott O'Leary

Dr. Scott O’Leary is the Honors and Scholars Village Director. He came into this position in August, and he hit the ground running. His vision is to use the newness of the village to provide the best foundation for success in the Honors or Scholars Programs. He wants to do this by supporting a rich and integrated experience for students by facilitating the life of the mind as it is manifested in both programs. The college experience is an “opportunity with gradations”. Dr. O’Leary hopes that students who live in the village will be equipped to experience those gradations both in the depth and breadth of the programming and opportunities that students have access to living in the Honors and Scholars Village. He hopes that life in the village will have a transformative property which will impact students beyond their time in the village and NC State.

His role is to make the vision a reality and to do this requires a lot of work with partners both nearby and across campus: from meeting with fellows, UHP and USP staff, or Housing Administrators Dr. O’Leary keeps his calendar full, but he is always eager to work and meet with students. His vision for the future of the program is to work more closely with the current village partners and to seek out and form relationships with new partners. That being said, Dr. O’Leary strongly believes in student autonomy and student voices. As a result, Dr. O’Leary will hold focus groups this semester to hear what students want in their village experience.

Dr. O’Leary teaches a highly interdisciplinary course, which challenges students to let go of any preconceived notions that they have and experience and think about food as it is encountered. The course is entitled Food: Culture, Insecurity, and Ethics. It explores questions of gender, power, identity, and ethics in relation to food. In his course, food becomes a way to test theories that have to do with these fundamental topics. His favorite foods are ceviche, good KC barbeque, and Puertorican lasagna, which is lasagna that calls for the substitution of the noodles for the plantains.

Dr. O’Leary spends a lot of time working to make the students experience the village is one that is impactful but knowing the importance of leisure, he enjoys reading and traveling. He is an avid reader, and an owner of a vast library, which makes it very hard to pick a favorite book. However, if he had to choose he could narrow it down to two books: The Brothers Karamazov and The Sparrow, a novel about Jesuit Missionaries in space. His favorite place to travel is Bled, Slovenia, and he hopes to one day travel to Vietnam and Thailand.