Honors students showcase theses

Six honors students were able to enjoy the fruits of their labor and share with the SVSU community at the Honors Program Thesis Presentation Day on Friday, Nov. 14.

Jacob Mojica, Nicole Swope, Melissa Zager, Allison Collier, Kate Nankervis and Makenzie Frodle each presented their individual thesis projects.

Thesis papers are at least 30 pages and formal presentations are 45 minutes.

Elizabeth Rich, honors program chair, helps honors students find faculty advisers and provides them with resources to be successful. Students are not limited in what they can research and sometimes choose topics unrelated to their majors.

“It’s so interesting,” Rich said. “The students are really motivated by their own unique sense of curiosity and where they want to go in their careers.”

Melissa Zager, graphic design senior, presented her research about the urban exploring, or urbex, phenomenon. This refers to the exploration of abandoned sites to discover its history and how people lived there or used its resources.

Zager took up urbex just as a hobby. Along with her thesis paper, she created a book and a gallery of life-size urbex photos to go along with her presentation.

“I have really enjoyed the sense of discovery that came along with interviewing my sources, learning about their stories and perspectives,” Zager said.

Makenzie Frodle, secondary education English senior, researched the perpetuation of gender stereotypes and how language, specifically the lack of a singular gender-neutral pronoun, is a factor allowing stereotypes to continue.

“Gender equality has always been an interest of mine, so the opportunity to look at how language affects gender sounded interesting to me,” Frodle said.

Frodle‘s faculty adviser was Veronika Drake, assistant professor of English. She helped Frodle to compile research and develop a survey to distribute to SVSU students to find how pervasive gender stereotypes are among college students.

“Dr. Drake is also very enthusiastic about the topic, so it has been a fun process being able to discuss my findings with her and to organize them in a way that is relevant to society today,” Frodle said.

While Zager and Frodle agreed writing their thesis papers was stressful, they both learned from the process and enjoyed it.

“It gives students an opportunity to thoroughly research a topic that they are genuinely interested in, and for me, it helped me to get in contact with a published researcher who wants me to share my work with her, which is an opportunity I never thought I would have gotten,” Frodle said.

Rich values the skills students are able to develop through their thesis work.

“It does two things,” she said. “First, it gives the student highly advanced training in the methods of their disciplines. The other thing is … the presentation portion of it gives them a chance to think about that specific disciplinary work in terms of how to present it to a large audience.”

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