Honors Fellows Enter Program’s Home Stretch
With one summer and one semester under their belts, the current Dietrich Honors Fellows have made substantial progress on their Senior Honors Program theses.
The Fellowship Program allows students to begin immersing themselves in their research the summer before their senior year, freeing them from the distractions that come along with the academic year. The head start has proved invaluable to the current fellows, who are working on projects ranging from anthropology and psychology research to fiction writing and documentary films.
As they get ready to enter the program’s home stretch, they updated us on their work.
Eleanor Haglund, Creative Writing
Haglund is working on a novel called Big Bite. The story delves into dysfunctional families, social acceptance and the experience of being a woman in a male-dominated field. She has already written over 200 pages and will be spending the next few months meeting with her advisors and revising the draft.
Geneva Jackson, Global Studies
Jackson is continuing to research American popular music festivals as youthful rites of passage and has been working to expand her understanding of the anthropological study of ritual and rites of passage to develop a framework for her research. She has begun collecting data from a variety of sources, exploring festivals through documentary film, web channels and the verbal recollections of her peers, which she is comparing to the narrative accounts she collected during her summer research.
Kaylyn Kim, Psychology
Kim has also made major progress with data collection. She has accumulated more than half of the data needed in order to analyze how psychological priming can reduce jealousy in romantic relationships.
“I am finding out some really fascinating things about how couples feel when they engage in jealousy-inducing tasks,” Kim said.
She hopes to complete data collection by late February with the help of two research assistants.
Kaytie Nielsen, Creative Writing and Directing
Nielsen, who is creating documentary films on Afro-French identity, recently completed translating and transcribing 14 hours of interviews from French to English. She is currently in the process of arranging this text into a “script” for her documentary films about Afro-French identity. Nielsen is also exploring non-traditional formats for the second, more experimental version of the film, including an installation piece or website.
Lucy Pei, Global Studies and Human-Computer Interaction
Pei has taken advantage of the extra time afforded by the fellowship program to change her thesis topic. She is now working on a case study of the English as a Second Language (ESL) Program at Pittsburgh Public Schools under the guidance of her new advisor, Susan Polansky, head of the Department of Modern Languages. This semester, she has spent time observing ESL classrooms, acting as an interpreter for Chinese speakers within the district and compiling a literature review of the history of public school ESL programs nationwide.
Chloe Thompson, Global Studies and Hispanic Studies
Thompson used the lead time provided by the fellowship to write the first draft of her research, which compares Hezbollah and the IRA. Thompson is currently editing her work and writing new material and anticipates completing the second round of edits by the beginning of the spring semester.
Laurnie Wilson, Creative Writing and History
Wilson is working closely with her advisor, English Professor Jane Bernstein, as she writes her thesis exploring themes of growth and self-discovery. She expects to continue writing over the upcoming holiday break.
“I’ve been focusing on creating vivid scenes that convey emotions efficiently and effectively,” Wilson said.
Learn more about the Dietrich Honors Fellowship Program, including how to apply.
By Emily Stimmel