Seniors present honors thesis to students, faculty

By Jason Burger, Assistant News Editor

As we pass the halfway mark in the semester, students have begun presenting their Senior Thesis projects. 

This year’s lineup of seniors looks to deliver researched topics that not only are interesting, but also show provoke thought due to advanced research.

Dr. Tawa Anderson, assistant professor of philosophy and director of the honors program, said that the projects are an important part of the honors program, and also gives students the vital experience researching a thesis project. 

“Students choosing to write a thesis begin in their junior year with a focused, faculty-mentored research project,” Anderson said. 

“Students continue into their senior year with independent research and begin writing the thesis in their major area of study. In sum, the Honors Thesis Capstone is a unique opportunity for advanced undergraduate disciplinary research.” 

One such senior who presented her thesis project this last Thursday was Emma Patton, a senior communications major. 

Senior Thesis1
Patton poses with her parents after her presentation. / Courtesy Photo

“Writing this paper has been the most rewarding yet most challenging thing I’ve done at OBU,” Patton said. “I started with a great research topic and I ended with a friendship like no other.” 

Patton’s presentation, titled, “A Study of the Old Soul: Spiritual Communication of Elderly People with Memory Loss,” explored the idea that spiritual communication could help senior citizens with retrieving memories, and aid in memory loss.

“My thesis included two studies on Alzheimer’s patients,” Patton said.  “I wanted to know if spiritual topics helped them to remember, and I wanted to know how the structure of their messages aligned with the structures asserted by most communication theorists.” 

Patton also noted how the experience of putting together her project was one of the more rewarding parts of her work.

“The best part of my experience was getting to know Anne, an 85-year-old woman who served as my case study participant,” Patton said.  “She has this red wheelchair that she shuffles around the nursing home in and she loves to play the piano. She’s also one of the millions of people suffering from memory loss.” 

Senior Lindsi Skinner responds to questions from the audience during her thesis presentation. / Emma Patton, The Bison

Patton also said that through her research, she learned that despite the memory loss of her subjects, there was still a spiritual foundation inside all of their minds. 

“After doing my research, I found that most people could not communicate in a linear narrative format, but almost all of them could tell me exactly who Jesus is.” 

If you missed Emma Patton’s presentation, or Lindsi Skinner’s project titled, ““Wisdom for the Ages: Nursing Home Marketing in the Age of the Internet,” last Wednesday, here is a list of upcoming senior thesis presentations that will be open to the public:


-Noah Golaboff: “Royalization: Increasing Royal Control of the Colonies in the 17th and 18th Centuries.” – Monday, April 10, at 4 p.m. in the Mabee Lecture Hall in Stavros Hall

-Katherine Ward: “Owning Poverty: Conversations on Poverty in Shawnee, Oklahoma.”  Thursday, April 20, at 3:30 p.m. in the Mabee Lecture Hall in Stavros Hall.

-Truett Ross: “Ogle Editorializes Oklahoma: An Analysis of Local News Editorials on National Politics.”  Tuesday, April 25, at 3:30 p.m. in the Mabee Lecture Hall.

-Anna Burton: “Sexuality, Ethnicity, and Class Distinctions in the Works of Edith Wharton and Willa Cather.”  Wednesday, May 3, at 4 p.m. in the Tulsa Royalties Auditorium located in Bailey Business Center.

Dr. Tawa Anderson encouraged students and members of the OBU sphere of influence to attend the presentations. 

“By attending these presentations, OBU students, staff and faculty all gain an opportunity to learn from the diligent work our students have undertaken,” Dr. Anderson said.        

“It serves as personal and academic support for the thesis-writing student. These presentations represent the best scholarship produced by some of the best students OBU has to offer. It provides a glimpse into how we pursue one of OBU’s core missional values – pursuing academic excellence.”

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