At Macalester, an honors project not only includes a long paper based on a minimum of a year’s research on a topic, but it also includes a “defense” of your work. This is similar to a doctoral defense when trying to get your PhD (although it is of course much less scary and stressful than that). The idea is that you get the experience of presenting your work and answering questions as you might if you present at a conference or in graduate school.
After a long year of research into methodologies, planning my project, and actually carrying out my research, I turned in my paper to my three committee members (the people who read the paper and ask the questions and ultimately determine whether your work deserves the title “Honors”) about two weeks ago. I then had to wait and prepare the presentation that I would give to my committee (and friends) while they read and critiqued my work. Last Friday (April 8) I got up in front of my readers and some good friends and I told them about my project. After a few questions (that I could confidently answer), they decided that I would graduate with honors!! It was a very exciting moment, so I thought I would share it with you here.
For more specific information regarding my project, check back to an earlier blog where I discussed the baby monkey and its family that I was studying!