Students, faculty and the community celebrated an impressive body of work May 21, as New College of Florida’s class of 2015 presented their senior thesis projects at the New Scholars event in Sudakoff Center.
Every New College student is required to write a thesis to graduate. After successfully defending that thesis before a faculty panel, students got the opportunity to display and present the work that has taken up a significant portion of their last year on campus.
“It’s something that we all look forward to,” said Provost Steven Miles. “For every faculty member who sits on a baccalaureate exam – we can just see that student in the future doing amazing things,” he said.
Topics presented were as varied as the students themselves, from the effects of electrical fields on sharks, to studying historic New Orleans’ neighborhoods, to human genome architecture.
In a thesis titled “Don’t Tell Me What to Do With My Life,” Delaney Verger looked at whether parental influence over a student’s career choice affects a students’ well-being. Not surprisingly, it does. “I found there were significant relationships between well-being and choosing your own career path,” she said.
But she also found students whose parents strongly influenced their career choices also reported “feelings of being worthy.” Verger said the idea for her project came from personal experience. “I’m a psychology major but I want to pursue acting, so telling my parents I wanted to pursue acting when I knew they wanted me to pursue something like being a doctor or something, was kind of nerve-wracking,” she explained. “I wanted to know if choosing my career path will make me happy.”
Zachary Natale’s thesis project took him to Morocco, where he studied the plight of sub-Saharan migrants in that country, focusing on the effects of bio-political control, exclusion and violence. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in medical anthropology, focusing on health equity.
Natale said his two trips to Morocco and his study of Arabic were paid for with an $8,000 Gilman Scholarship and other New College grants. The experience has solidified his career plans. “My thesis really made me even more dedicated to the subject of the poor,” he said. “I want a career in global health, ideally working with migrants’ rights.”