Honors students present senior projects

May 8, 2018

Honors Program seniors were awarded their graduation stoles and presented their senior research last week.

There were 22 Honors seniors.

Before they presented their research, former honors student, Peter Baschnagel, addressed the group as the evening's keynote speaker.

He questioned whether the seniors knew what they planned to be doing in the next five to 10 years.

Baschnagel said he's been asked this question at every interview he's ever had and has had a different answer for this question every time.

"I don't know where I'll be in five-to-10 years,' Baschnagel said.

After his time in graduate school, Baschnagel said he decided that academia wasn't for him so he got a job with PLS Logistics.

"I was with them for a solid eight months," he quipped.
His next job with PNC Bank. "I really liked PNC. They're a great company to work for. I was only there for eight months."

However, his current position with FedEx has stuck and he learned about it through a former Clarion professor, Dr. Gustavo Barboza. "He knew of the job because of another Clarion graduate," Baschnagel said.

He's been with FedEx for three years.

"That's the longest I've held a job," Baschnagel said, making light of the situation.

He said his previous positions, along with what he learned at Clarion, gave him the necessary skills for his job as a business development advisor.

His learned of his side job as a high school coach through another graduate who is a teacher.

His advice for fellow honors students was to stay in touch with each other as a good network after school.

"Keep those connections. Keep that network alive."

His second piece of advice was to go to interviews even if you're unsure if the job is right for you.

"It's always great experience," Baschnagel said.

After the presentation of the stoles, the seniors presented in Still Hall in small groups.

In one particular classroom, the there was a literary theme.

Tyler Hilbert presented "Weaving Narratives Through Images: Promoting Multiple Literacies Through Graphic Novels."

He explained that graphic novels are what people refer to as comic books and can include superhero stories, human interest stories, Manga (the Japanese style of comics), nonfiction works, adaptations, spinoffs and satire.

He believes graphic novels can be useful in the classroom because they are familiar to students, they can help students with differing viewpoints, and it can help engage struggling readers.

He conducted his nine-week study in a classroom and taught using graphic novels. He also had students create their own graphic novel story. After the study, he is more convinced than ever that the idea has merit.

Lauryn Tyler presented her work "Building Bridges in the English Classroom."

Tyler came up with the idea for her study after realizing we're living "in a culture where marginalized people are marginalized more than ever."

She said students of color and minority religious groups feel more fearful and experience high levels of anxiety in today's culture.

Her idea is to promote empathy through English classes. In particular, she believes certain books can connect students to current events.

Samantha Beal presented "The Disney Agenda: What's Happening to the Villains?"

Beal said Disney has been retelling popular fairytales from the point-of-view of the villain and because of this, villains are becoming relatable.

"Our villains are becoming very human," Beal said.

On the other hand, the good guys are still good. Beal said she thinks this retelling of the story can have a negative impact in that it gives evil acts a justification.

Regan Gaydash also embraced the villain theme for her study as Beal, but with one famous work – Peter Pan.

In "Peter Pan and Captain Hook: Today's Villains or Heroes?", Gaydash reveals that J.M. Barrie never intended Captain Hook to be the villain, but was instead just a fill-in character. Barrie thought Peter Pan, himself, was a bad enough character on his own.

"Peter Pan is the true villain of the text," Gaydash said.

Peter Pan is able to kill people with his breath in the real world and when Wendy leaves, he starts breathing very quickly because he's angry about Wendy leaving him.

"Peter Pan is the ultimate killer," Gaydash explained.

Hook, on the other hand, upholds Eton College standards and the standards of the military.

Barrie's book has inspired many retellings of the story since there are holes in his original story that were purposely never explained, Gaydash said.

However, the main point of Gaydash's presentation is that "We should read the text a little closer."


Last Updated 5/8/18