Mount Holyoke Senior Symposium 2016

Photo by Ayla Safran '19  A reception was held in Kendade Atrium for presenters and attendees following the Senior Symposium presentations.

Photo by Ayla Safran '19

A reception was held in Kendade Atrium for presenters and attendees following the Senior Symposium presentations.


Some equate writing a senior thesis to raising a child. This year-long commitment is challenging, makes you feel like you’re losing your mind at times and often consumes your life, but is one of the most high-impact and rewarding projects that one can undertake in their college experience. On April 8, more than 150 seniors presented their theses at the 2016 Senior Symposium. Scattered across different academic spaces around campus, these seniors shared their intellectual curiosity and subject passions with their peers all day.

The creativity in topics seemed endless, ranging from gas chromatography, gecko toe pads, extinct birds, commercial surrogacy, the job search, shrimp, sports stations, ants, bakers’ yeast mutants and theories of money and improvement of river networks. After pouring their hearts and souls into research, students have explored over 30 different topics and every corner of interest from the arts, to the science and everything in between. Finally, their work was rewarded and appreciated by their friends, families and fellow students.

Choosing a refined topic, with significant amounts of research and culminating in a written thesis, is no easy ordeal. Theses are much longer than your average chapter book, and are approximately 75- 100 pages long. Students are so involved with their research that they often hit the extreme page numbers of the 125 maxi- mum.

Senior Symposium is sponsored by the Weissman Center for Leadership, and also in part by the Lynk experience, with both serving as liaisons between academic work and the bigger picture of the rest of the world. The curriculum to career goals present in the Lynk initiative offer an invaluable and unique opportunity to represent Mount Holyoke’s core values of fearlessly adventuring the academic world.

In 1975, the chemistry department invited students to present their research based on a focus in the natural sciences. In 2006, this idea expanded to include more students to span across a wider variety of disciplines. This year, in the 10th annual Senior Symposium, students’ hands on research experience has, once again, allowed them to become experts on a subject they are passionate about.

If you’re itching to write a thesis, you must abide by some requirements. You must have above a 3.0 GPA, a thesis topic, an advisor, approval from the school and a convincing proposal for your topic. You must devote eight credits to a single project based on original thinking and produce quality research and writing. Theses are a well-earned milestone in the Mount Holyoke College experience.