Eight Seniors Complete New Honors Thesis Program

Senior Thesis Student Headshots

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In its inaugural year, eight Georgetown McDonough seniors completed the Seniors Honors Thesis Program, where they had the opportunity to pursue research in a subject of their choosing. 

“We wanted to give our McDonough undergraduates the opportunity to write a senior thesis. We know that it is extremely valuable for students to be able to frame research questions, conduct independent research, and communicate their research clearly,” said Daniela Brancaforte, senior assistant dean in the Undergraduate Program. “These skills are closely related to good critical thinking, and also to a sense of pride, confidence, self-direction, and independence.” . 

To apply for the program, students must be second semester juniors and in good standing. All students must submit a research proposal and find a faculty advisor who will work with them one-on-one throughout the year. Students take two courses as part of the program: BADM 398-Senior Thesis I in the fall of their senior year and BADM 399-Senior Thesis II (1.5 credits) in the spring.

Caprice Catalano (B’20), studied the impact of different types of transparency information on consumer purchasing behavior in the fashion industry.

“Throughout my operations classes, I have learned a great deal about supply chains. In these lessons, I have seen the immense pressure that companies are facing to disclose more information regarding their supply chains due to increasingly complex global operations and the emergence of ethical dilemmas,” she said. “This demand for transparency is growing within the fashion industry, given the extensive social and environmental impacts associated with clothing production.” 

Catalano saw the program as a way for her to become more involved with academic research, and to more deeply explore the topic of her thesis. 

“I would definitely recommend the program to students who are eager to learn more about academic research or who want to explore certain interests outside the typical classroom setting,” she said. 

Lisa Park (B’20), wrote her honors thesis on the effects of childhood socioeconomic status on product retention and disposal behavior in adulthood. 

“I came up with the idea after reflecting on my own childhood and of those around me,” she said. “While things are different now, my childhood socioeconomic status didn’t allow for the same lifestyle as others.” 

Like Catalano, Park found the experience rewarding but demanding. She says the key to maximizing the experience is choosing a topic that is interesting to the student. 

Brooke Stanley (B’20) was inspired to write her thesis from her experience in Professor Marcia Miceli’s course on Men, Women, and Gender in the Workplace.

“My thesis explored how the lack of a federally mandated paid parental leave policy in the United States affects marginalized communities, particularly women, minorities, and those of lower socioeconomic status,” she said. “I was originally very interested in the topic of parental leave policies after learning in Professor Miceli’s class that the U.S. is the only industrialized country in the world without a federally mandated policy.” 

For Stanley, the key to writing an honors thesis is successfully managing a large, independent project. 

“The biggest lessons I took away all centered around self-discipline and learning how I worked best on projects that did not always have strict deadlines,” she said. 

In addition to Catalano, Park, and Stanley, five other seniors presented an honors thesis this year: Gabriel Berkowitz (B’20), Megan Carey (B’20), Nicholas Elliot (B’20), Katherine Evanko (B’20), and Carolyn Kirshe (B’20). 

“I really can’t stress how much I’ve enjoyed this program. It is one of the few things I think I will point to in my undergraduate experience as something I’m not only extremely proud of, but that also allowed me to explore the things I’m passionate about in current affairs,” said Elliot.