Founders Day consists of more than a spectacular lunch for scholarship recipients; it also serves as a chance for seniors from different departments to show off their senior capstones! At 10:15 Ian Clark, Alex Dickinson, and Monica Down will present their literary-critical capstone projects in BC 207, and at 11:15 Evan Gabriel, Jose Huerta, and Corey Fawcett will present their creative capstone projects in Franz 206. To further coerce you into attending these sessions, here are a few words from some of the presenters:
Q: What will your speaking about on Founder’s Day? What is the subject of your senior capstone?
Evan Gabriel: Through a collection of personal nonfiction essays, my senior capstone investigates the role of a traveler; specifically, the first-hand impressions of a Westerner in a country that is 98% Muslim. Religion isn’t the focus, rather it’s a consistent background theme in a narrative that focuses on Morocco as a whole, that means the people, places, and experiences I had there, weather they were good or bad.
Ian Clark: I’ll be presenting on the theory of individuality as presented in James Joyce’s Ulysses.
Alex Dickinson: I’m writing on Walden by Henry David Thoreau and attempting to rationalize it with contemporary environmental ethics and practice.
Corey Fawcett: I’m going to talk about my fiction story, “To Swallow an Orange.” It’s about a strained mother-daughter relationship, and has elements of magical realism.
Q: Why should other students come learn about your capstone? What is the “So What” that we should be looking for?
Evan Gabriel: The so what: America gets a bad wrap abroad. America gets an especially bad wrap in the Middle East–so we’re told by our media channels and papers. I spent three weeks in Morocco during the Arab Spring of 2011. Two weeks before I left, a tourist cafe was bombed in the heart of Marrakech, one of my stops, and I was advised not to go. Yet the peace and acceptance that I found during those weeks deviated so vastly from Western media’s portrayal of the Middle East and Maghreb countries that I felt compelled to share those experiences. My thesis is that you shouldn’t blindly listen to what you are told about far-off corners of the earth. You should go, you should eat the food, and you should listen, because once people see you are interested enough in them to travel that far, a peculiar connectivity sets in and permeates everything else.
Ian Clark: My capstone essentially addresses the idea of a constantly changing self; in other words, I’ll be talking about Joyce’s conception of a non-static self that is always in flux. It’s basically a literary version of cubist expression.
Alex Dickinson: I’m taking a work that many take out of context or see as an inspiring but dated work, and trying to show its relevance and value today.
Corey Fawcett: To my knowledge, I’m the first person in a long time to write a creative fiction piece as a thesis. I would love to see a more formidable creative writing community on campus, and perhaps my thesis will inspire some people to that happen.
Q: What is one piece of advice you’d like to pass on to underclassmen for their senior capstones?
Evan Gabriel: For capstones, select a topic you love enough to write on day after day.
Ian Clark: Advice for senior capstones: start early. It’s pretty manageable if you work on it a little bit at a time, but if you leave it to the last minute then you will hate yourself.
Alex Dickinson: As for future capstone writers: write as much as you can get down on paper and don’t worry if it’s not your best. Not your best is a hell of a lot better than nothing, and it will be good when you’re finished going through it a time or two. Also, find something that interests you, see what others are saying about it, and don’t be afraid to change your mind!
Corey Fawcett: It’s hard to set a detailed timeline for yourself if you’re writing something creative, but you’ve got to do what you can to follow it as you would with any other academic paper. Also, keep your mind open to inspiration and new ideas at all times. Sitting down in front of your computer to write your story shouldn’t be the only time you’re thinking about it.