Carnegie Mellon University

2014-15 Senior Honors Theses

Student Name


Thesis Title and Abstract


Marisa Breitfeller English Jim Daniels
Elana Goldberg Creative Writing

Short Film - Pick Your Poison

Miscommunication has served as a universal experience since the caveman days. Yet 200,000 years into humanity, and still, each day the failure to communicate launches a chain of unwanted reactions and repercussions. Miscommunication has changed the course of history. It has also laid the foundation of various keynote romantic comedies. As a screenwriter, I wrote and produced a ten-minute film based on the timeless miscommunication plot. I explore, not just the backlash, but also the accountability of the characters, focusing beyond how they miscommunicate, and into why they are incapable of communicating effectively. In a world filled with missed connections, how can one point blame on either the deliverer or the recipient, and perhaps more importantly, how does one choose which opportunity to reconnect?

Sharon Dilworth
Braden Kelner Professional Writing Poverty and Wealth in Relation to Faith
Jane McCafferty
Chloe Lula Technical Writing and Communication Contrast of Prescription Drug Abuse and Hepatitis C Prevention Caroline Acker
Michael Mingo Creative Writing

The Players, the Rules, and the World

"The Players, the Rules, and the World" is a short, full-length manuscript of poems that address political and historical topics. The goal of the collection is to encourage the reader to view the broad concept of politics from a variety of perspectives. The collection is divided into three sections. The first section, "The Players," consists of poems about or addressed to figures from different periods of history, from Tacitus to Bruce Springsteen. The second section, "The Rules," includes poems about process politics and political theories, as well as pieces mimicking the form of official documents. The final section, "The World," shifts focus to day-to-day experiences living in the political world: buying tickets at the airport, or driving down the interstate. By the end, the reader should have a better appreciation for the complexities of political life.

Kevin González
Christopher Sickler Creative Writing

The Battle of Monmouth

My project will explore relationships between people in different settings. Specifically, my project will deal with these questions: where does meaning come from in regard to other people? What does it take to have a friendship with someone? How do family ties impact worldview?

As with all writing, some of the impact will be on myself, as I explore the topic through characters I have invented, but I also hope to share my exploration with a wider audience. I hope that my project can ultimately shed some light on the nature of human to human interaction and can treat the characters and readers with respect and dignity.

Kevin González
Katherine Thomas English

Cora of New York: The story of a slave ship [.pdf]

Jane Bernstein
Von Wise English

Hillbilly Music [.pdf]

My project will be a collection of poems surrounding the life of Seth Croak, a fellow native of Lock Haven, Pennsylvania and close acquaintance. These poems will aim at capturing the life, goals, and pursuits of this truly interesting person whom I’ve come to respect since knowing. I hope to interview and potentially spend time living with him over the summer while he is away for his job cutting down trees, getting a sense of how he lives at work, and what his experiences are with his job and workmates. Ultimately, this project will capture in poetry the life of a working-class, rural Pennsylvanian, and how his life represents an often overlooked class of American citizen.

Kevin González
Jasmine Xie English

Developing and Deconstructing Gender: Nonbinary Individuals and their Search for Identity

This paper examines the emergence of a new ways of discussing and naming gender identities that arose out of discourse generated by nonbinary-gender identified individuals on the social microblogging website, Tumblr. Nonbinary individuals - people whose gender falls outside the binary of male vs. female - experience a structural erasure of their identity due to the lack of existing, widespread terminology to describe their identity. To address this problem, as well as to challenge the role that gender plays in one’s identity, nonbinary individuals are creating new terminology to describe their gender identity while changing how gender is discussed. This ultimately has the effect of destabilizing the notion of gender as fixed, inherent, and unambiguous. Through these new ways of discussing gender, nonbinary individuals are able to shape current gender discourse to better accommodate for and include their identities. To form a theory of how nonbinary users of Tumblr changed the common gender discourse to reflect their identities, this paper analyzes an extensive sampling of posts made on Tumblr by nonbinary individuals from 2013-present day, in which they discuss their gender identity, pronoun usage, and their conceptualizations of what gender is. By organizing these posts according to what aspect of gender is discussed, categories of difference can be established and further analyzed to discover the functional purpose of each type of post. Furthermore, my findings indicate that these new ways of discussing gender are unanticipated by previous theoretical works, and reflect an emergent view of gender that could become a new paradigm for conceptualizing gender.

Kristina Straub