A Look at the Process of Crafting a Senior Thesis

      I recently spoke with two Eastern seniors to learn about their experiences while crafting their senior theses.

Brianna Esposito, English Major (Creative Writing Concentration)

1) What are the requirements for your senior thesis?

      “As a writing student, our thesis could be written in one of three genres: poetry, fiction or creative non-fiction. No matter what we chose, each one at its time of completion had to have at least 15-25 pages worth of writing. In order to make sure each project realized its fullest potential, we are required to conference with our professor and pay close attention to using as many writing craft elements as we are able, where applicable.”

2) What kinds of topics can students choose to write about?

      “English majors have a lot of freedom when it comes to our chosen topics. Writing majors are allowed to choose almost any topic they want, so long as we are able to explain it comprehensively enough to our professor and prove that we can proficiently write about it through our chosen genre. I myself chose to write creative non-fiction, which is more commonly known as memoir (sort of like an autobiography that reads like an actual fiction novel). The topic I decided on was my rather unique experience moving through high school and into college, and also the revelations I’ve discovered about my future through taking a class on American Sign Language.”

3) What kind of support have you received throughout this process?

      “The faculty of the university are keenly aware of how daunting this process is and show considerable effort in guiding us and mentoring us, both as a collective class and in individual conference sessions. The feedback, constructive criticism and praise I’ve received from my peers and my professor have been amazingly helpful and have kept me motivated and on track of my end-goal throughout the semester.”

Dominique Ridley, Dance Major

1) What are the requirements for your senior thesis?

      “The professors really want you to think for yourself, to be creative and create an original contribution. For some seniors that was in the form of the traditional 15-20 minute work of original choreography, often including, but not limited to, creating one’s own choreography (casting, scheduling and original movement), costume designing (traditionally, a mix of altering existing pieces, purchasing items and sewing original items with help from loved ones), editing and mixing music and generating all related materials (e.g., press release, posters and programs). Others chose alternative routes such as a research paper; an interactive, informative presentation with original choreography; an offsite, self-choreographed performance; and a benefit concert with guest artists and original choreography.”

2) With what kinds of topics can students choose to engage for their senior piece?

      “You can create your piece on just about anything. For the student’s sake, it helps if it is a topic that is meaningful or important to them, as they will be spending countless hours researching, choreographing, costume designing and rehearsing it.”

3) What kind of support have you received throughout this process?

      “The classes DANC410 Senior Seminar and DANC440 Senior Project/Performance are designed to help prepare the student for life in the industry of dance and support them through the senior project/thesis process. The class is a safe place to receive biweekly feedback through check-ins on continued works. It is also where students can problem solve with one another. Students receive insight and feedback from the professor on their final project as well as on weekly readings and mini-assignments. We create resumes and biographies and work on the technical and press-related aspects of the thesis projects. Each dancer is given an adviser to help monitor the student’s creative process and provide valuable feedback both in person and via email with videos. Since our department is so small often[times] other professors will sit in on showings and offer constructive feedback.”

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