First, they selected their topics. Then they spent months researching and writing. The next step was to present their findings.
The students in Masters Thesis completed that significant step in March, sharing their research and answering questions from an audience of teachers and students during virtual presentations. Having successfully defended their theses, the students will now work on projects related to their topics.
Kwynne Schlossman ’22, whose thesis focuses on the idea of legacy, explains that she “has been obsessed with the idea of legacy since I was little,” and “saw this as a great opportunity to explore this idea. I joined the class seeking a way to dedicate more of my time to thinking deeply about this topic and the effect it has on our lives.”
Schlossman appreciated the opportunity to present her findings and “have my peers engaged in my topic and spark their thinking of it.” Now that she has successfully defended her thesis, she plans to conduct a series of interviews with community members about the finite nature of life.
Mia Romanoff ’22 has been researching the "Not Like Other Girls" phenomenon, which is a reaction to feminine stereotypes. She explained that, “In addition to wanting to expand my research skills, I took Masters Thesis so I could take a deep look into a topic that interests me with the guidance and structure that a class provides.”
While Romanoff believes the most difficult part of the process has been writing the paper, she described the experience of presenting her thesis as “nerve-wracking.” At the same time, she found the presentation to be “the most rewarding part. I really enjoyed being able to share what I learned and have people respond to it. I got so many great questions and it's nice knowing that other people were interested in what I had to say.” Next up for Romanoff is interviewing her peers and creating a video about their relationships with media and femininity.
Olive Saraf’s presentation, “From Paintbrush to Pencil: The Intersection of Art and Literature,” was borne out of a family connection. Her grandfather, who passed away last year, was a portrait artist, and Saraf shares that “I was so drawn to [one of his works] that I decided to write a creative story about it. That was my main inspiration to take this research further and explore other paintings/artists that I could write about.”
“I hope my teacher and peers took away the importance of exploring art,” Saraf explains. “I’ve always grown up around art and museums, but I hoped to convey to a larger audience just how fascinating it is to study paintings and explore how and what we take away from them/interpret them.”
Matt Ives, a faculty member in the History and Religion Department and the Masters Thesis advisor, is thrilled with the students’ work: “I am so pleased and proud of these kids,” he said. “They’ve followed their passions through a really difficult year and the results have been fantastic!”