Honors theses give Bryant students the opportunity to integrate and synthesize what they've learned by exploring an issue though a long-term research project. This year’s Honors theses ranged from examining health care efficiencies to writing an original novel.
“This is not only one of the most in-depth and intellectually rigorous projects our students complete, but also one of the longest and most creative,” says Honors Program Director Jane McKay-Nesbitt, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Marketing. “They also display grit and determination in completing a very significant thesis.”
Research that matters
The projects offer students the chance to take an original look at a significant topic. For her Honors thesis, Sarina Resnick ’18, aided by her advisor, Professor Gregg Carter, Ph.D., a renowned expert on gun violence, investigated mass shootings in America and the role that factors such as racism and white supremacy ideology play in their severity. “I wanted to take an important issue and look at it in a new way,” says Resnick, who graduated in December. “I tried to make an impact in a way that helps people.”
“It’s amazing to be able to look back and see how I’ve contributed to the body of research."
“It’s amazing to be able to look back and see how I’ve contributed to the body of research,” says Brianna LaGuardia ’19, who investigated Millennials’ impact on the jewelry industry. “I’ve grown tremendously."
Skills for the future
The students also develop important skills through their thesis. “Understanding how to ask critical questions and then do the research to answer those questions is so important. It is definitely something I know will translate to my career,” says Savanah Miles ’19, who studied the factors that determine female labor force participant rates.
“The thesis process really helps you develop your work ethic,” adds Alexandra Aubron ’19, who studied how coffee buyers react to certification notifications. “It’s great to look back and see where I first started and where it’s all led. It was difficult at times, but you realize it all culminated in that final result.”
“The thesis process really helps you develop your work ethic."
For his 2015 thesis, Jonathan Skaza worked with Professor of Science and Technology Brian Blais, Ph.D., to analyze trending topics on Twitter with mathematical models, using techniques traditionally employed in epidemiological and biomedical studies. Now an analyst with Boston Health Economics, Skaza returned to Bryant to offer advice to this year’s Honors thesis students. “Programming, doing data analysis, that all started with the thesis,” he noted.
Putting it all together
For Marlee O’Keefe ’19, the thesis more than lived up to its reputation. O’Keefe developed the idea for her project about gender roles in stand-up comedy while taking Sexuality and Culture with Professor Tom Roach, Ph.D. She was mentored by Professor Amber Day Ph.D., a renowned expert on comedy and satire. “It puts your entire college education into perspective,” O’Keefe says. “I used ideas that I’ve learned from multiple classes and different professors.”
“All of our thesis projects combine so many disciplines; you’re learning how to research and do statistical analysis and share your results,” agrees Miles. “It combines both the business and the arts and sciences sides of your education.”