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Seniors present English capstone projects

On Friday, Dec. 1, 11 students presented their English capstone projects in the Luparello Lecture Hall.

Dr. Sara Lindey, associate professor of English, said that over 60 people attended the event.

Lindey, who instructs one of the two available courses for senior English majors to complete their capstone project, described the senior project requirement for English majors.

“Like other majors on campus, the English department uses a critical paper or creative project that works with [students’] chosen concentration,” Lindey said.

The capstone projects may range from a twenty-five-page researched literary analysis to a collection of poetry or short stories.

Lindey encourages students to start their projects over the summer since the course is only one semester.

“The faculty member who teaches the course is usually in contact with the students over the summer so they can get a head start,” Lindey said,

“but it is designed so you can complete the project within the fall semester of senior year.”

Lindey noted that this year’s presentations featured many interesting projects, including those of Nate Racaczky and Rachel Glatt.

“Nate’s paper is on whiteness in [William] Falkner’s, ‘The Sound of the Fury,’” Lindey said. “He takes a really cool angle which combines class and race.”

Racaczky, a senior English major, said his paper focuses on the implications of “cultural shifting experiences in the changing southern world.”

“I wanted to see how the Compson family in ‘The Sound and The Fury’ dealt with the changing racial lines, the family’s declining economic status, and how both of these affect their perceptions of what it means to be white,” Racaczky said.

Lindey said that Rachel Glatt also presented a “fascinating paper” where she “takes up Fred Roger’s theories on the importance and values on childhood play and shows how that works in ‘Huckleberry Finn’ and ‘The House on Mango Street.’”

Glatt, a senior secondary education major, explained her capstone project.

“I analyze two young adult protagonists from two classic young adult fiction works — Huck Finn, from ‘Huckleberry Finn,’ and Esperanza, from ‘The House on Mango Street' — who demonstrate Fred Rogers’ theory on play,” Glatt said.

Glatt’s thesis is as follows: “Play has the power to transform and recreate the world only when adults provide an encouraging environment that fosters and nurtures creativity for maturing young people who are discovering ‘whatever they are to be.’”

Glatt reflected on the semester-long process of completing her project, and how she came to form her thesis.

“I wanted my thesis to incorporate a culmination of what I learned during my college career here at Saint Vincent College,” Glatt said. “As a future educator, I admire Fred Rogers and I wanted to use his theories of play in my thesis.”

Glatt said she enjoyed writing her thesis and thanks Lindey for allowing her to experiment with and develop ideas about both novels she chose.

Lindey commented on the trials and tribulations each student faced and “how each individual student has learned about the approach to their own work ethic and what works best for them to accomplish their goals.”

“When you spend three months working on a sustained research project while juggling other responsibilities,” Lindey said, “I’d say you get to learn almost as much about yourself as you learn about the project that you’re studying.”

Racaczky commented on the presentations.

“Everyone really showed how much they care about their project and gave some amazing examples on how to change the world.”

Although completing a senior capstone project is not easy, Lindey said she “would bet that at the end of it, everyone would be proud of their project.”

Photos: Mallory Trunkenmiller

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