By Heather Fabritze
Elm Staff Writer
Over the course of April and the first week of May, Washington College’s class of 2022 presented their year-long senior capstone experiences.
WC students generally begin preparing for the creation of their SCEs in seminar classes during their junior year. Progress continues into their senior year, carrying over between the fall and spring semesters.
Presenting their SCEs is often the final step of the process. As a result, the end of SCE season signifies, for most seniors, the approaching end of their undergraduate college years.
Senior Meagan Jenkins recommends that rising seniors not “give up” despite the difficulty of SCEs, as the struggle will be worth the pain in the end.
“It doesn’t matter if you finish early or struggle to get it in at the last minute, your greatest accomplishment here at WC will be getting that SCE finished and submitted, and that is all you need to think about,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins did two separate theses: a history SCE that took the form of an observation study and a German SCE that involved film analysis.
For her history SCE, which she presented in the Hodson Faculty Lounge on April 28, she conducted a case study on separated families during the American Revolution. This process involved analyzing petitions and letters from families that lost or were separated from their loved ones.
For her German SCE, which will be presented on May 5, Jenkins studied a silent film called “Pandora’s Box.” Jenkins chose the film because she has a learning disability that prevents her from processing written words at the speed of her peers.
Senior Lyra Abbott, who did a theater SCE with a focus in directing, had a vastly different SCE experience than Jenkins.
Abbott directed and produced “God of Carnage” by Yasmina Reza in Tawes Theatre on April 1 and 2. They chose the show due to a desire to “explore” work with an emphasis on morally gray characters and relevance to current political situations.
Abbott feels that her SCE process differs from most, in that they must rely more on others within their department.
“Because I’m a theater major, a lot of the actual creation of the thesis required me to rely pretty heavily on the other students that came onboard for the project,” Abbott said. “A lot of the concepts came from me, but in a lot of ways, they were the ones who made something of it.”
Abbott also stresses the importance of time management to those who are beginning to plan their SCE’s for next year.
Senior Zairel Luna seconds Abbott’s advice, and recommends that it goes hand-in-hand with maintaining a consistent meeting schedule with one’s advisor.
For her political science thesis, which she presented on April 12 in the Casey Academic Center forum, Luna focused on effective governance through legitimacy. This idea came from her experience as part of WC’s Model United Nations team and realizing issues of illegitimacy in international organizations like the UN.
“I think that much of the process involved just thinking about how to best put into words this problem I was constantly witnessing at MUN competitions,” Luna said. “I would say that some of the main challenges [were] remaining motivated throughout, especially when work from my other classes would pile up.”
To prevent this very same problem, senior Isabelle Anderson selected a thesis topic that she knew she could maintain passion for.
“I would absolutely recommend finding something you enjoy talking about,” Anderson said. “Regardless of the topic, it’s not going to be fun the whole way through, but the thing you can’t stop talking about is the thing you’re probably having the most meaningful thoughts about.”
Anderson presented her English SCE analyzing violence against women through the lens of Olivia Gatwood’s poetry collection, “Life of the Party,” on April 28 on the Miller Library Terrace. The themes of the book stuck with her after she finished reading it, and so she felt it would be “easier” to write about than any other text.
One large piece of advice that Luna, Abbott, Jenkins, and Anderson all agree on is to stay on top of the workload, but to not stress an unhealthy amount. Those preparing for their senior theses should ensure they stay hydrated, practice self-care, and remember important campus resources for anxiety and stress.
Photo by Jon Kelly
Featured Photo Caption: On Wednesday, April 27 at 4 p.m. seniors majoring in environmental science shared their SCEs of a symposium in Cromwell Hall.