Seniors Celebrate “Thesis Day” at Olin with a Champagne Toast (with video, photo gallery)
Ori Cantwell ’22 has been looking forward to this moment since her freshman year at Wesleyan.
On April 14, he joined dozens of his classmates on the steps of Olin Library to celebrate the completion of his honors thesis, in a ceremony that included a champagne toast and congratulations from friends and educational advisers.
During this traditional holiday known as “Thesis Day,” thesis writers take turns popping bottles of champagne while their friends and academic advisors congratulate them on their efforts. This year, 254 seniors have pursued honors this year.
“The champagne toast was a blast,” Cantwell said. “And I learned that champagne really stings the eyes.”
Cantwell, a major in psychology and a minor in religion, will also earn a certificate in applied data science next May. His honors thesis, titled “Infonation, or How Americans Imagine(d) the QAnon Movement,” views QAnon as information, or a political community that collectively imagines the nation in a virtual setting, taking a mixed-methods approach to analyzing the in-group dynamics of QAnon believers as they turn primary evidence into their truth. His thesis supervisors are Maryam Gooyabadi, assistant professor of practice in quantitative analysis and Justine Quijada, president and associate professor of religion.
“Through my discourse analyses, I find that participating in QAnon online spaces empowers individuals to imagine the nation through a doomsday lens and pay close attention to why QAnon conspiracy theories hold true. to their believers,” he said. “I ultimately suggest that qualitative analyzes can help produce more effective and nuanced quantitative models of conspiracy theory phenomena.”
Cantrell, who only started tracking time for his dissertation work in January, says he’s spent between 18 and 20 hours a week on it since then. He has “no idea how many hours” he put into it in the fall.
Honors theses provide students with a final opportunity to work on a large project that is entirely of their own choosing, while having the support of an on-campus undergraduate experience. Students who enroll their thesis in the honors program are eligible to graduate with honors in their major. Dissertations are currently being evaluated by Wesleyan faculty and students will know the results on April 28, according to Susan Krajewski, associate registrar.
“Writing an honors thesis is a big deal,” she said. “If they receive honors or honors, it prints on their diploma and they receive recognition in the commencement program.”
After a trip to the Museum of Modern Art, Annie Kidwell ’22 kept thinking about the sculptures she had seen, prompting questions about movement and the body. This experience led Kidwell, double major in art history and dance, to write a joint thesis entitled “Encounters: Constellations of creation and perception in the sculptures of Auguste Rodin” under the direction of his advisers, Katherine Kuenzli , professor of art history, and Hari Krishnan, president and professor of dance. While writing her thesis, she choreographed two new pieces for the dance department.
“During the champagne reception, it was so amazing to be part of this overwhelming outing,” Kidwell said. “Everyone got involved in their research and the community celebration was so joyful! There were certainly mixed feelings; I spent eight months with Rodin and his sculptures, and it was hard to let go. I haven’t brought all my books to Olin yet because I’m afraid of the emptiness of the house without them!
Quentin Tan ’22, who is majoring in the College of Letters and the College of East Asian Studies, celebrated the completion of his honors thesis, titled “Transnational Longings, National Belongings: The Digital Responses of the Malaysian Chinese to the 2019 –2020 Hong Kong protests His advisers are Ulrich Plass, president and professor of German studies, and Yu-ting Huang, assistant professor of East Asian studies.
His project asked him to read more than 10,000 Facebook comments made by Malaysian Chinese during the 2019-2020 protests in Hong Kong which “were not only tiring but also masochistic in many ways, although I am happy to see it. analysis I got from it and think the whole grueling process paid off!
Tan began his dissertation in the fall semester of his second year and estimates the entire project took around 300 hours in total. For this, the celebration was much needed. “I got soaked in the champagne rain,” he said. “I shouldn’t have washed my hair before the ceremony, but I’m glad I went.”
Ben Cowan ’22, a double major in Neuroscience and the College of Integrative Sciences, said that completing this thesis, “Interconnected Protein Networks: Insights Towards CRIB-Par6 Protein Allostery Through Graph Theoretical Analysis”, was one of his greatest accomplishments. He began working there in his second year under Kelly Thayer, an assistant professor of integrative science practice.
“I decided to write an honors thesis because I thought it would be a good way to summarize all the research I had done in my laboratory in a single document. Additionally, I hoped that by writing a thesis, I could learn along the way how all the different analyzes I had done might fit into newly integrated understandings of the protein system I was researching,” did he declare. “I learned a lot about myself in the process and what I feel capable of. I remember thinking about the idea of a thesis and whether or not I would be able to do it, yet I am here now!
Unfortunately for Cowan, his time at the champagne celebration was cut short.
“I was running over an hour’s sleep at the time of finalizing the thesis and sprinted to get there in time,” he said. “Once I popped the champagne and took a few sips, I had to sprint to a lab class four minutes later to get there on time so I didn’t have too much time to bask in the celebration.”
Photos from the Class of 2022 Honors Thesis Celebration are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake MALS ’08)