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Mallory J. Weiss '15 is writing an original play for her creative thesis.
Mariel N. Pettee '14 is composing a dance piece examining the Higgs boson particle.
The work produced by undergraduates who are awarded creative theses varies widely with regard to medium as well as subject matter. But these students are united by a belief that creative work is just as valid a way of demonstrating scholarly excellence as critical work.
Throughout the month of March, seniors across campus will breathe sighs of relief as they press “save” for the last time on their theses. As these students finish up the final touches on their papers, FM takes a moment to look back at the theses of some notable alumni and their choice of research topics. Not surprisingly, many of these now-famous former seniors wrote about topics that give us a glimpse of who they became. So, read on to learn more about the stars.
Here are some gems that reflect the best of what the blog has to offer—divided into categories of “way too real” and “good luck with that....”
A recently unearthed 2009 Ph.D. dissertation approved by Harvard Kennedy School faculty has drawn strong criticism for its assertion that low-IQ individuals—a demographic that the author says is disproportionately Hispanic or of other non-white or non-Asian ethnicities—should be restricted from immigrating to the United States because they lack “raw cognitive ability or intelligence.”
The winning projects, most of which were senior theses, were selected from a pool of nominations by students’ faculty supervisors. Hoopes winners are awarded $4,000 each and their nominators receive $1,000.
“It was a totally ordinary Tuesday night,” said John. “I was watching seasons two through five of ‘The Office’ on Netflix, and suddenly my roommates came in, all excited. They were way happier than I’ve seen them in months. It was weird.”
When Laura E. Donohue ’85 found out that the paper supplier Crane and Company was discontinuing the type of paper used by many students to print their theses, she knew she had to make a phone call.
Ever listen to a senior explain his or her thesis and think, there’s no way in hell you can write 70 pages about that? Use your sleuthing skills to guess which of these thesis titles could have won a Hoopes Prize, and which are simply FM’s comic gold.
Folklore and mythology recently joined English; literature; studies of women, gender, and sexuality; and visual and environmental studies in offering some concentrators the option of working on a creative project as a senior thesis.