College Honors Sampler: 2015

Emory College of Arts and Sciences

At Emory, the high caliber of resources of a national research university adds depth and rigor to the undergraduate liberal arts education.

Participants in the Honors Program of the Emory College of Arts and Sciences conduct original research, write a thesis and defend their work in front of a committee. Graduates are recognized with the distinctions of Honors (cum laude), High Honors (magna cum laude) and Highest Honors (summa cum laude).

Browse this page to read how select 2015 honors recipients describe their research and how they anticipate it will affect their future careers and graduate studies. For more topics, review the full college honors list and refer to the Electronic Theses and Dissertations database.

image of Ellen Chiang

Ellen Dias De Oliveira Chiang

Honors Thesis: "Those who love, vaccinate": An Anthropological Perspective on HPV Vaccination in Brazil

Adviser: Craig Hadley, Associate Professor of Anthropology

Simplifying the abstract: How I'd explain my research to friends
My thesis explores the sociocultural influences on parental perceptions and decision-making regarding HPV vaccination in São Paulo, Brazil. Within my sample of parents, HPV vaccination has more than just a biomedical identity; it intersects the realms of parenting, sexuality, gender roles, power, stigma, and social inequality. Additionally, acceptance of the HPV vaccine was independent of the parents' HPV knowledge levels.

Making a difference: How my research will impact my future
My honors research experience showed me the value of interdisciplinary collaboration and enhanced my understanding of the sociocultural influences on the uptake of health services. In the future, I intend to continue examining the complexities of healthcare distribution, access, and utilization.

What I'm doing after graduation:
Working in Atlanta and applying to medical school.

image of Hal Zeitlin

Hal Zeitlin

Honors Thesis: Silent Economics: The Cooperative Effects of Hypnotic Meditation

Adviser: Kelli Lanier, Visiting Faculty in Economics

Simplifying the abstract: How I'd explain my research to friends
I examined the impact of meditation alone versus the same meditation preceded by hypnotic relaxation procedures (hypnotic meditation) on the economic cooperative behavior of 160 undergraduates. Hypnotic meditation is used to relax a meditator before they practice any scientifically valid form of meditation. There was a significant change of relaxation within the hypnotic group, greater than the change in the meditation-only group. The meditation-only group maintained cooperative behavior for two of three rounds, and the hypnotic group for all three. Since these results could be attributed to random variation, I recommend that the study is repeated with a larger sample.

Making a difference: How my research will impact my future
A growing amount of scientific evidence has revealed that certain meditation practices can positively change the human brain. All across America, and even in Atlanta, meditation has begun to be used as a tool to improve both public and private schools. I am interested in helping to introduce scientifically valid meditation practices into American schools, for the benefit of the youth. My thesis experience provided me an opportunity to begin a professional investigation into meditation and its effects on pro-social behavior.

What I'm doing after graduation:
I have a one year internship with The Levy Centers for Mind-Body Medicine and Human Potential. After the internship, I will join the Houston Teach for America corps (I have been granted a one-year deferral).

image of Irina Lucaciu

Irina Lucaciu

Honors Thesis: Emotional and Cognitive Content of Autobiographical Memories of Trauma in Women with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: An fMRI and Narrative Analysis Study

Adviser: Robyn Fivush, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Psychology

Simplifying the abstract: How I'd explain my research to friends
Some individuals who experience trauma develop Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, while others do not. I investigated differences in the way traumatized women with or without PTSD narrate their trauma memories and process emotional stimuli. I compared the emotional and cognitive content of trauma narratives, as well as brain activation in areas previously shown to be involved in emotional and cognitive processing. I found that women who develop PTSD seem to have more emotional memories than resilient women. However, brain activation in the amygdala, a structure involved in emotional processing, suggests that they are also more avoidant when presented with negative stimuli.

Making a difference: How my research will impact my future
I plan to continue my study of memory processes at the University of St Andrews by joining the O’Connor Memory Judgements Lab. I will be studying the way in which we use our memories to say that something happened, and how that differs from what actually happened. I am hoping to continue the same avenue of research and study memory, language, and cognition at the doctorate level, while also pursuing a JD degree. My ultimate goal is to use the knowledge about thoughts, emotions, and language generated by neuroscience research to inform better educational and social policy.

What I'm doing after graduation:
I am going to pursue a Master of Philosophy in Behavioural and Neural Sciences at the University of St Andrews as a Bobby Jones fellow.

image of Michael Fires

Michael Fires

Honors Thesis: The Growing Divide: Exploring Recent Political and Population Changes in the American Electorate

Adviser: Merle Black, Asa G. Candler Professor of Politics and Government

Simplifying the abstract: How I'd explain my research to friends
I explored in all United States counties whether domestic migrants were more likely to support the Republicans or Democrats in presidential elections from 2000-2012. The study also aimed to answer whether increasing division and polarization in American politics contributed to increased homogenous sorting in American communities along political and ideological lines. Ultimately, domestic migrants from 2000-2012 did not lead to an increase in one-sided political change, one party does not appear to benefit more than the other from domestic migration, and polarization does not appear to contribute to increased homogenous sorting in the American electorate.

Making a difference: How my research will impact my future
I am attending law school but I have always been interested in politics and government from my work on numerous political campaigns. This research allowed me to explore a hot topic that is frequently discussed in todays media--polarization and ideological divisions--and has helped me answer questions I have had about the true prevalence of these themes in our own society. This research will help me pursue a career that is simultaneously involved in law and politics.

What I'm doing after graduation:
I will be attending Georgetown University Law Center.

image of Troizel Carr

Troizel Carr

Honors Thesis: Failure in Excess, Desire in Abundance: The Aesthetic Queering of Black Masculinity and Performative Utopias

Adviser: Michael Evenden, Professor of Theater Studies

Simplifying the abstract: How I'd explain my research to friends
I focus in on the ways that queering black masculinity, which produces a black queer masculinity, opens up different ways of being and knowing for notions of normative black masculinity in performance art. I created and developed my own performance art piece called APOSTROPHE TROIZEL to grapple with these concepts.

Making a difference: How my research will impact my future
I intend to continue focusing on the queering of black masculinity in performance studies at New York University's Performance Studies program. Additionally, I want to pursue a career as a performance artist and possibly go into the professoriate.

What I'm doing after graduation:
I will be a Residence Hall Director with Emory's Office of Residence Life in Few Hall and working as a Fellow in the Office of Health Promotion.

Events »

More Events »