College Chic: A Magazine for College-Age Women
Magazines today seem to target young girls and older women, but those for young women of college-age almost always revolve around sex and celebrities. The goal of this senior thesis was to create a magazine that I, personally, would like to read. The articles target women in college, but some could also apply to young professional women in the workforce. For the longer articles, I did research on topics such as homesickness and relationships, including interviewing professors at Georgetown who specialized in these areas. Along with this research and revising of the actual articles to make them fit journalistic AP style guidelines, I also had to research layout design. The primary resources for this thesis were the book Editing by Design by Jan V. White, and current popular periodicals to see what designs are used and the theories behind them. Though the magazine is now finished, there could be continued improvement. Most magazines do not reach perfection before publication, but the editors have to be satisfied with the final product. Each aspect of the magazine had to be researched and follow certain guidelines. This magazine could be used in a portfolio and the experiences could be used for a career in journalism.
For my thesis, I created a magazine that I thought I would actually like to read. I included in it articles focused on women my age, with some intellectual pieces and some fun pieces. I wanted a variety of topics so that almost any girl in college would be interested in the magazine as a whole. Thus, I had to decide not only topics that would interest me, but also topics of interest to other girls at larger schools or in a different year than I. I was editor as well as writer for this project, so I had to do both design and revision.
Though I did most of the writing and photography myself, I had a couple of contributing writers and photographers to see how it would be to put myself in the position of editor rather than reporter. I had to set deadlines for my writers as well as myself. I also had to get friends to model for me because it wouldnâ€™t be a magazine without pictures. From these experiences, I could see some of the challenges facing the editor of a magazine. Although most editors would not be in charge of the details of every magazine page, they would be working with people who arenâ€™t necessarily their friends. Thus, I had advantages and disadvantages as compared to a professional magazine editor.
Putting the magazine together was the most fun but also the most challenging part of the process. The articles not only had to be written well, but they had to fit into the parameters of the pages and pictures had to fit around them. I was continually revising the articles after researching each topic, so every time the words changed, I had to go into the layout and see how the new length would fit onto the page. This sometimes involved condensing information, shrinking pictures or even deciding to make the article take up more space in the magazine.
This project was something I could see myself doing as a career, so sometimes I got so absorbed that I procrastinated on other work. This can be a drawback of extended research. Because I wanted to make everything as professional as possible, I revised articles and page layouts over and over again. However, I had the advantage of getting to explore in depth a topic that truly interested me. Seeing the final product has made me realize that my hard work was worthwhile and something of which I can be proud.
Mene Fugis?: A Verse Translation FromVergilâ€™s Aeneid, Book 4
This project is a translation of lines 1-415 of Vergilâ€™s Aeneid, Book IV. Book IV is one of the most famous books of Vergilâ€™s epic, recounting the ill-starred love affair of Carthaginian queen, Dido, and the Trojan hero, Aeneas. Vergilâ€™s Latin text is rich with onomatopoeic devices, etymological word plays, assonance, symbolic word order, and alliteration that is difficult to bring out in idiomatic English verse while remaining faithful to the original Latin meaning. This translation project adheres to a 12-syllable line count known as Alexandrine verse, and concentrates on bringing out Vergilâ€™s assonance, alliteration, and onomatopoeia. As an important component of this project, I am reading articles and books focusing on the art of translation. I am also composing an essay that discusses issues and complications found in translating, as well as explaining certain decisions on word order and word choice I made in my own translation.
The task of translating a large portion of Book IV of the Aeneid evolved from an incredibly frustrating and almost overwhelming experience initially to one that became my intellectual catharsis over the course of a few months. As a student of Latin, I have translated poems from other Roman authors, but having the opportunity to explore and reflect on a single author to the extent I have with Vergil has been a truly enriching experience. The translatorâ€™s clichĂ© is that one cannot really appreciate a piece until it is read in its original, and the project has proven this accurate. There is an inexplicable satisfaction of being able to read the very words Vergil composed, and on the one hand to make oneâ€™s own judgment about what he meant, and on the other, simply to have the opportunity to appreciate the brilliance of his language. Vergil not only composed a moving epic, but employed literary devices that are simply unable to be completely captured in translation. His sound patterns, word orders, manipulations of words and stresses, and onomatopoeic effects all create a vibrant, musical, and beautiful work of art.
To me, there are two levels of translation: understanding what the text says, and perceiving the underlying emotions of what the text means. This is especially hard in the literature of languages that are no longer spoken or used, so idioms and emotions are sometimes more challenging to discern. Nevertheless, the ability to read the Vergilian texts has given me the opportunity to explore the masterful poet on a much deeper level than ever before as I try to detect emotions and moods in the language and translate them into idiomatic English. From this heightened awareness during my study, my enjoyment and appreciation of Vergilâ€™s artistry has increased significantly. This thesis project has truly been enjoyable, and I plan to continue this project even after graduation. It gives me great pride to know that I was able to accomplish this large venture that first seemed so daunting, and has turned into a source of relaxation and pleasure.
A Bayesian Approach to Markov Chain Baseball Analysis
A half-inning of baseball can be modeled using the concept of Markov chains, the states of which are determined by the number of outs and the arrangement of players on base. With each at-bat, a transition occurs from one state to another, until an absorbing state (three outs) is reached.
Baseball teams are always trying to determine what they can expect from rookie players. Teams run into problems estimating a rookieâ€™s innate ability due to the small sample size of plate appearances for rookies. To overcome this obstacle, we investigate Bayesian methods for accurate updates of transition matrices for individual players, and we apply the Markov chain model to measure the offensive value of individual players.
I have benefited enormously by writing my thesis in math. Writing math is like writing in a different languageâ€”not everyone can do it. While I am still a novice in my math-writing skills, the rudimentary knowledge that I now possess will be of great help when I enter graduate school in the fall. I do offer some advice to future authors and that would be to start early. I know of several past people thesis writers who waited to start and they rushed to complete it. By starting early, I was able to produce numerous drafts, with each one providing insightful suggestions that have vastly improved my thesis. Youâ€™ll be surprised how many drafts you will churn out in the process.
Was Kentucky a Union State?
Most modern Civil War historians barely touch on Kentuckyâ€™s role in the 1860s conflict, and yet that divided border state played a vital and interesting part in the Unionâ€™s success. Both sides in that war desperately needed Kentuckyâ€™s support, but neither side ever completely won the state over. The majority of Kentuckians did lean more toward Unionism than secessionism, at least in the beginning. Kentuckians held the Constitution and the vision of a union of states to such a lofty position that most citizens refused to let go of those ideals. Instead of immediately joining the Union, though, Kentucky took a neutral stance. The state was too divided to do otherwise. Additional factors, such as economic ties to the North, and the Confederacyâ€™s breach of Kentuckyâ€™s neutrality, influenced the state until it declared itself Union. More precisely, Kentuckyâ€™s Unionist legislature passed a resolution to that effect.
During the last three and a half years of the war, the decisions of Lincoln and his generals incensed Kentuckians until the state became anti-administration and again felt more connected to the South. The Union army officials, because they feared losing Kentucky and suspected Kentuckians of conspiracy, were especially strict on the state. Numerous and sometimes unnecessary arrests, combined with other stringent acts, incensed the people. Anti-slavery laws and measures angered Kentuckians even more. From the Emancipation Proclamation, which did not directly affect Kentucky, to recruiting slaves for the Union army, which did affect it, Kentucky found itself identifying and sympathizing with the southern viewpoint more and more. Evidence of the influence of these actions by the Union can be found in Kentucky newspapers, and some post-war books trace the transition of Kentuckyâ€™s sentiments. Opinions differ among historians as to whether Kentucky was a Unionist or Confederate state at the end of the war. Conclusively, research suggests Kentucky remained loyal to the Constitution and union ideology, but resented and resisted the Lincoln administration. That opposition continued even after the war.
The months of hard work to complete my Honorâ€™s Thesis have been a struggle, but I know that I am now left with something that I can be proud of for the rest of my life. At this point, I canâ€™t imagine why I would ever need to write a forty or fifty-page paper again. Luckily, because of my Honorâ€™s Thesis I can say that I have already accomplished that task. Choosing a topic turned out to be surprisingly easy. From the start, I leaned toward a Civil War subject, and once I narrowed that general focus to specifically Kentucky in the war, I was ready to go. Go research, that is. I actually enjoy researching secondary sources, so I made the wise (not really) decision of completing that type of research first. Unfortunately, that left me to go through a lot of primary sources in a short period of time, and since most of those sources are in Lexington, I spent a significant amount of time traveling and staring at microfilm in the UK library. I quickly discovered that microfilm is the enemy of anyone who gets motion sickness.
As for the writing portion of the paper, that turned out to be less painful than I expected. The hardest part was organizing the massive amount of research that Iâ€™d accumulated. Once in order, the paragraphs, for the most part, flowed. After my first short draft, I realized that I needed to change my thesis statement, as well as the tone of the paper. Because several of my sources were pro-southern, I had accidentally let that sentiment emerge in the paper. I also had to learn how to structure a lengthy paper, while facing the challenge of balancing secondary and primary sources. Undoubtedly, this Thesis experience helped me to grow as a writer, and it definitely increased my respect for historians who continually tackle equal and much harder researching and writing tasks.
Combinatorial Games for Three or More Players
Combinatorial games are most often defined for only two players. In my research, I analyze graph games, a special type of combinatorial game, for three or more players. I hope to find similarities between the characteristics of two and three+ player games.
Writing an honors thesis paper has been an amazing experience for me. The paper I am writing has strengthened me as a mathematician and as a writer. It has given me experience in writing a technical paper clear enough so that other readers may understand what I am trying to say. The research behind my thesis has been more challenging than I anticipated. My paper was inspired by research I conducted at Carnegie Mellon University during the summer of 2005, but there was still a lot left uncovered for the paper. My advisor has challenged me to go beyond what I thought I could do, and I feel as if I have succeeded. During the course of writing this paper, I gave a talk at the Kentucky annual Mathematical Association of America meeting about my research. Giving this talk was both challenging and rewarding. It gave me good experience in public speaking, particularly on a technical topic, and when it was over, I felt very accomplished.
Writing this thesis paper is something that has climaxed my college experience. There is only so much one can do inside a classroom, but it is experiences like these that really show how much a student can do with his or her education. I would encourage all students, not just students in the honors program, to spend some time in independent research and study while at Georgetown College. I have learned things about myself that I never would have learned otherwise. Challenging myself to do this research and write the paper on it has allowed me to see how far I have come as a math student and just how much I truly can accomplish.
‘Toad’s Last Little Song’: The Wind in the Willows and the Onslaught of Modernism
Kenneth Grahameâ€™s The Wind in the Willows is arguably the most widely respected childrenâ€™s book in English literary history, excepting Lewis Carrollâ€™s Aliceâ€™s Adventures in Wonderland. As prominent Grahame critic Peter Hunt notes, “The Wind in the Willows is one of the few books generally classified as childrenâ€™s books to have joined the establish (sic) canon of English Literature” (The Wind in the Willows: A Fragmented Arcadia 10). It, along with Carrollâ€™s Alice, is a text that helped not only to establish the genre of childrenâ€™s literature, but also to define it. Unfortunately, Grahameâ€™s exceptional novel has been overlooked by most criticsâ€”most likely because childrenâ€™s literature, as a literary genre, has long been marginalized by the Anglo-American Academy. This thesis attempts to provide a semi-definitive reading of Grahameâ€™s classic text, always working from the assumption that childrenâ€™s literature is a genre worthy of serious academic study.
The thesis attempts to do three things: locate The Wind in the Willows within its historical and literary context, offer a satisfactory explanation of its narrative structure, and respond to existing criticism of the novel. It argues that the novel is, at least in part, Grahameâ€™s response to several Edwardian social crises: namely, urbanization, class conflict, the decadence of the aristocracy, and the fear of imperial decline. Grahameâ€™s unique approach to these crises engages the great dialectics of Western literary tradition in an attempt to resolve the alarming clash between Victorian and Modernist social values that threatened the stability of Edwardian England. The novelâ€™s “Mole” and “Toad” plots contend for dominance throughout the course of the work as Grahame pits lyric against epic mode, town against city, and Romantic convention against Victorian convention. Eventually the plots merge as Grahame forces a resolution to the conflict by imposing his conservative worldview on his characterâ€™s in an unsatisfying manner that foreshadows the triumph of Modernism in 20th Century England.
I have dealt in minutia for the entirety of my college career–literary minutia, that is. I tend, in my research, to analyze seemingly trifling matters such as single digressions in long literary works or very short scenes in dense Shakespeare plays. My focus on small, seemingly insignificant textual issues is the ironic result of my near-inability to narrow research topics. When I attack a literary text, I want to grapple with its overall structure and themes, although this is generally not feasible in an eight-ten page research paper. Even when I begin research with a seemingly focused question in mind, however, my ideas tend to expand to dissertation-length proportionsâ€”hence, I am forced to narrow my subject again and again until I am left with mere minutia. I was finally presented with an opportunity to fully explore overarching textual issues in my senior honors thesis. Writing a senior honors thesis allowed me to fully engage both a primary text and scholarly criticism in a comprehensive manner. I had the good fortune to choose a primary text, Kenneth Grahameâ€™s The Wind in the Willows, that hadnâ€™t been written on extensively by literary critics. Because the work had received relatively little scholarly attention in the past, I was able to read virtually all available criticism on the topic and then offer an original reading of the text as a whole, as well as a critique of existing criticism.
Undertaking such a large research project as the senior honors thesis is exciting; however, it is difficult to remain enthusiastic about a project that takes such a long time to complete. Academic research can be mentally and physically draining, and this project has been no exception. However, the reward of finishing an extended work of scholarship certainly outweighs any of the stresses that go into its completion.