Research and Creative Activity in the Honors Program
The Honors thesis is a two year project. As juniors, students will begin researching their chosen topic. By the end of their junior year students will have a complete design for the project. As seniors students carry out the project and aim for public dissemination of the finished product.
The Honors Thesis is entirely student initiated and designed.This means students may work on a project within their field of study or explore something else they are passionate about.
Topics for past thesis projects have included:
Celtic mythology, hydraulic fracturing, architectural metaphor in literature, agricultural production, and morality in artificial intelligence.
The form of the projects vary considerably. Students are encouraged to select a form for their project that will best reach their target audience. A student conducted cutting edge scientific research and produced a conference presentation. Another student wrote and illustrated a children's book and read it to local libraries. Currently students are working on conference presentations, websites, podcasts, community presentations, and a novella!
Current Thesis Projects
Rio Bergh - English and Psychology
The Art of Becoming Invisible
The idea for this project originated when I drove past a homeless guy in the street. I kept my eyes locked straight ahead, even though I knew he was there, and I knew he was holding a sign. Essentially, I am writing a work of creative fiction which will eventually be a novella/manuscript for a short novel dwelling on the (unseen) connections between the affluent and those in poverty within a capitalistic, consumer society. The central focus is "the invisibility of others" along with the phenomenon of "seeing what you want to see."
Alexandra Howatt - Anthropology and Psychology
Satan Roams the 'Net: The recreation and reinvention of Satan through webcomics
One of the most fascinating aspects of American culture is its view of Satan and how that view is reflected in pop culture. My project looks at Satan in webcomics, a form of pop culture that is gaining popularity among artists and audiences alike. I will be collecting and organizing data on Satan's presence, physical appearance and personality, and role in various webcomics. This data will be available to the public and may be used for future research
Levi Schlosser - Microbiology
Animal Inside: A Closer Look at Humanity
Humans share a majority of their DNA with other species, and taxonomically, can be classified as animals. Biologically, we are indeed a form of animal, but culturally there exists a line, a stigma, that often separates humans from other animals. I intend to examine the stigma that currently exists between identifying humans as animals, and how that can apply to the field of ethics, humanitarianism, and even medicine.
Benjamin Huber - Zoology
A Very Important Protein (VIP) Elevates Natural Antibiotics in Mouse Models
Presently, there is a necessity for new antibiotic discovery due to bacteria becoming resistant to currently prescribed antibiotics. Evidence suggests certain populations of bacteria lining the gut may act as sources for natural antibiotics by preventing the colonization of pathogens. I am investigating how expression of vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) via its two receptors increases the frequency of antibiotic-producing bacteria in mice.