On Friday April 10, the Department of English presented the new set of senior capstones for Spring 2015. Professor Maggie Vinter, the current instructor for the senior capstone this semester, welcomed everyone into Clark Hall 206 and began the event.
Then one by one, the eight presenters went up to the front of the room to present their topics. They shared why their subjects had interested them in the first place. Then, alongside the powerpoints on the large screen, they explained their ideas and research further.
There were some projects that focused on critical analysis. Sarah Hyman discussed her thoughts on how plural ignorance worked in Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451.” Sydney Pierce looked at another classic, George Orwell’s “1984,” and the effect that Newspeak and language has on time. Tracy Boachie explored the connections between Toni Morrison’s female characters in “Song of Solomon” and their biblical namesakes and their role in helping the main character of the story. Noora Somersalo examined the connections and influences of 1930s mass media with the book, “Miss Lonelyhearts,” which is about an advice columnist.
Two others took a look at the newspaper and news, but with a focus on the sports section. Joey Arko made a humorous spin of the sad reality of what it is like for fans to follow their sports team in the news when they are constantly losing. Taylor Fletcher looked closer to campus, at the Case Institute of Technology vs. Western Reserve University football game in 1967, and explained and exemplified the difference of oral history from journalism in terms of understanding an event.
The other two took on creative projects. Joey Rooney made a mixture of critical thinking and creative writing to discuss the interaction of theology and English and then used that perspective to look at his own narrative short stories. Erin Jepsen revealed her work on translating Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice” into modern language and the challenges and decisions she had to make to do so.
The event took much longer than expected. The ideal was for the presentations to be about 10 minutes each, but they were longer than that and some members of the audience had to leave early. However, pizza and refreshments helped hold everyone else over. The extra time also allowed these students to give extensive explanations to their ideas and projects, which were thought-provoking to say the least.