Academic Honors & Awards

Senior Distinctions

Students who earn a grade point average of 3.5 in major courses have the opportunity to complete a significant research project to graduate with distinction in their field of concentration. The projects are determined in consultation with the student’s faculty advisor and presented on Senior Distinction Day, which takes place in April of each year.

For students with an individualized major, in addition to earning a 3.5 average in all courses in the major program, the project may be completed as part of a capstone course or culminating experience. The project must be approved for distinction by two faculty members representing different academic disciplines within the individualized major.

2017 Distinction in the Field Projects


  • Renee Contino, "Emerge: The Lifestyle of Emerging Boston Artists" (Graphic Design)
  • Holly St. Cyr, "An Opportunity to Improve Quality of Life; The Open Studio for Adult Oncology Patients and Survivors" (Art Therapy)
  • Amanda de Oliveira, "The Art Narrative in Early Education: Cultivating Learning and Development" (Art Therapy)
  • Emily Dyer, "Kansas City Armor: Taking a Community and Making it Stronger" (Graphic Design)
  • Alyssa McWilliams, "Strength Through Unity, Unity Through Faith: Via Labicana Augustus" (Art History)
  • Mary Muench, "Socialized: The Harmful Effects of Gender Socialization" (Graphic Design)
  • Adam Pinheiro, "Heaven in a Wild Flower" (Graphic Design) and "History Keeps Me Awake At Night: Wojnarowicz's Representation of the Pre-Invented World" (Art History)
  • Abigail Thompson, "Somatic Art Therapy: a unique healing opportunity for deaf-blind individuals" (Art Therapy)


  • Andreia Carvalho, "To GEF or not to GEF: Lte1's secondary role in the Mitotic Exit Network"
  • Lindsay Cathcart, "CRISPR-Cas gene editing: utilizing bacterial immunity to enhance the human immune system for the development of next generation therapeutics"
  • Colby Devereaux, "Generation of high affinity antibody in vivo does not require baseline antigen recognition"
  • Andrew Farinha, "Towards the development of a CURE (classroom undergraduate research experience) for tuberculosis"
  • Lauren Fess, "Imaging the structure of the retina after preterm birth"
  • Alyssa Marconi, "Quantifying episodic memories from real-world experience"
  • Marina Rocha, "Characterization of hematopoietically-derived central nervous system macrophages in mixed chimeric mice"
  • Courtney Sniffen, "Let's talk About MEN: The Mitotic Exit Network (MEN) in budding yeast and its relevance to cancer"
  • Jess Thanos, "Modeling synapses using patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs)"
  • Sara VanNest, "Testing functionality of GFP fusions in the E. coli translation elongation factor EF-G "
  • Courtney Whalen, "You are terminated: Pre-mature transcription stoppage regulates yeast gene expression following DNA damage"


  • Katherine Fazioli, "Evaluating effectiveness of PEPFAR's HIV/AIDS prevention education efforts in Tanzania"


  • David Tracy , "Spx regulation of a secondary undecaprenyl pyrophosphate phosphatase in Bacillus Subtilis" (Chemistry)


  • Noor ul Ann, "A Review of Mobile Banking in Cash-Based Developing Economies"
  • Nicholas Fucci, "Is Globalization Changing Monetary Policy: An exploration of recent evidence"


  • Elisa Cantito, "Case Study: Why inclusive practices lead to success of students" (Elementary Education)
  • Kierstin Giunco, "Integration of Character Education into School Curriculum: A Pilot Study" (Elementary Education)
  • Ayanna Hudson, "Looking for a Seat at the Table: The plight of black girls in predominately white schools" (Secondary Education)


  • Emily Karpinski, "Outwitting, Outplaying, and Outlasting the Competition: Survivor and the Reality Television Landscape" (English: Communication & Media Studies)
  • Emma Leisentritt, "Changing the Preferred Reading: And Examination of Michael Radford's 'The Merchant of Venice'"  (English Literature)
  • Samantha Martin, "Guys & the Glossy: A Study of Men's Experience with Women's Magazines" (English: Communication + Media Studies)


  • Ian Chamenko, "A New Wave of Agro-Culture: Conceptualizing the Millennial Farmer"


  • Cherokee Belval , "Unintended consequences: Linking farm subsidies and health care outcomes" (International Economics)
  • Collin Butler, "The Role of Cooperatives in the Greek Financial Crisis: A Vehicle Towards Democratic Governance" (International Studies: Diplomacy + Security)
  • Maggie O'Connor, "Exploring the Impact of Climate Change on State Failure: A Comparative Analysis of Syria and Tunisia" (International Studies: Diplomacy + Security)
  • Megan Rocket, "Microfinance: A Means of Liberation or Deprivation" (International Studies: Global Justice)


  • Christina Ascolillo, "'Under the Influence': Alcohol's Hidden Role in the Birth of the Country"
  • Sara Killough, "'Moving About' on Their Own Terms: A History of the Kickapoo Nation"
  • Joseph Maspo, "Transcendental Environmentalism: John Muir and the American West"
  • Abaigeal Merrigan, "The Race to 270: Disputed Elections in American History"
  • Elizabeth Roy, "Running Against the Road: Women Beat Writers in the 1950s"


  • Niko Townsend, "Lazy Cops and Robbers on Graphs: Algorithms and Analysis"
  • Mikayla Werzanski, "Capture Time for Lazy Cops and Robbers"


  • Abigail Murphy, "Spanish Testimonies of Franco's Political Repression" (Spanish)


  • Hannah Campbell, "Early Childhood Education in the U.S.: A Failing System"
  • Gwendolyn Colando, "Female Legislators and Their Impact on Women's Issues" (American Politics & Government)
  • Katherine Quinn, "Has the Age of Liberal Democracy Come to an End?" (International Relations & Comparative Politics)
  • Lillian Welch, "Voter Suppression in the U.S.: The Effects of State Policies on Accessibility" (American Politics & Government)
  • Devon Wright, "Tagging the Nation: Public Displays and Graffiti in Cuba and Honduras as Evidence of Political Participation in 21st Century Latin America"


  • Faith Justynski, "What is Beautiful is Good, But Also Anxiety Provoking: The Paradox of Social Perceptions of Attractiveness"
  • Milena Quinci , "The effect of short-term drumming on stress in college students"
  • Jenna Wilson, "College Students' Perceptions of Intimate Partner Violence: An Exploration of Gender and Types of Violence"


  • Ash Montana Uss, "Representation and Relatedness in High School Literary Curriculum"
  • Jenna Marie Wilson, "Exploring the Relationships Between Stigma, Self-Esteem, and Being a Victim of Intimate Partner Violence"