Thesis Festival Caps Busy Year

May 15, 2009

“The Capstone Festival is a day when professors learn much from their students,” says Judy Klein, professor of economics. Launched in 2006, the college’s Capstone Festival — an event for public thesis presentations during May Term — has become the premier showcase for student academic work at Mary Baldwin. As the event becomes more established, more students are thinking about being selected for Capstone while they work on their projects, but most often it is still their professors who first see a project’s potential to be brought to a wider audience.

This year, 25 students accepted nominations for an outstanding senior project, Honors thesis, or special undergraduate research project and vied for prizes in three categories. The top paper, poster presentation, and visual or audio-visual projects were awarded:

  • Visual or audio-visual project: Lindsey Gwaltney,Eggshells
  • Poster presentation: Abigail Turner,A Spectroscopic Study of Curcubit[7]uril Host-Guest Recognition Properties
  • Delivered paper: Samantha Hudson,The Gullah: A People’s Resistance to Cultural Domination
  • Paper with multi-media support: Aubrey de Cheubell,Abstract Expressionist Ceramics: A Catalyst for a New Dialog within Ceramic Artand Brooke Lohr,Restless Leg Syndrome: The Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Mirapex and its Effects on the Prevalence of the Condition

A Capstone 2008 participant talks with Mary Baldwin President Pamela Fox about her art projectHere is what a few nominators said about the students they selected:

    • “In her senior economics project, Hannah addressed the very important issue of people not saving enough for retirement. She tackled challenging theoretical concepts (such as hyperbolic discounting) and made solid connections between data, recent insights, and policy prescriptions emerging from behavioral economics.” Judy Klein, professor of economics, nominator of Hannah Vargason ’09


    • “As the Russell Scholar for 2008–09, Denise did a wonderful job of presenting her project for a public audience prior to the Capstone Festival. In addition to richly deserved recognition, the event will allow her to polish her presentation and more fully incorporate into her talk a video she made of students performing Chaucer’s “Nun’s Priest’s Tale.” By participating in the festival, she will highlight both the Russell Scholarship and the integration of community in engagement at Mary Baldwin.” Terry Southerington ’72, professor of theatre, nominator of Denise Kinsinger ’09


    • “Sarah’s project [which examined the reactions of females at various levels of military experience to the movement to introduce women into military combat situations] is not only an excellent example of social science research methodology, it also examines an important issue for all women — not just those with military aspirations. The experience of sharing and disseminating her exciting research and knowing that others are learning from her own work is an experience that cannot be matched.” Carey Usher, assistant professor of sociology, nominator of Sarah Wisecup ’09


  • “Abby worked like crazy all year and deserves the attention! Her project requires great care in her experimental techniques (extremely small concentrations and volumes as small as 1/1000th of a liter) and a great deal of time invested. The experiments have relevance for devices that detect small traces of specific chemicals and may have implications for selective drug delivery. The Capstone is her opportunity to explain interesting and important science to non-scientists.” Karl Zachary, assistant professor of chemistry, nominator of Abigail Turner ’09