BC seniors Kim Alcorn, Emily Sears, and Emily Minter presented their Honors projects on Thursday, Dec. 8.
December 13, 2011
While most students were just waking up to study on their free day, three seniors were presenting their Honor’s projects on Thursday, Dec. 8, in the Gerald Clay Curriculum Classroom, Room 101.
Kim Alcorn, Emily Sears, and Emily Minter presented their final projects to the Honor’s Committee and guests. Their presentations were a culmination of a two-and-a-half year process of completing an Honor’s paper. Each presentation was followed by questions from the panel and audience.
Kim Alcorn, Emily Minter and Emily Sears with faculty and staff
Alcorn, an English major from Anchorage, Alaska, chose to write a work of fiction as her project. She wrote a novella set during World War II and researched the time period in order to accurately portray an elderly woman who looks back and recounts her family’s story during the time she was a young girl. In the novella, the German woman writes about her family’s decision to hide a Jewish family during the Nazi reign. She wanted to show that some Germans put up a resistance against Hitler.
“I grew up reading about WWII, and I’ve always been interested in it,” said Alcorn. “The more I learned about it, the more I realized it wasn’t cut-and-dry. The Germans as a whole weren’t the bad guys. A lot of them housed Jews, wrote resistance newspapers, helped the British and Americans, etc.”
Sears, an English-with-Teacher-Licensure major from Hinton, W.Va., researched ways to motivate high school students to write. More specifically, Sears focused on overcoming the cultural considerations for students in Appalachia in order to motivate such students to write. She included accounts of her personal experience in a classroom at a local high school.
“I have a heart for the Appalachian region because I am from West Virginia,” said Sears. “When you are from the area, it is almost understood that you are supposed to be ashamed of where you are from. I didn’t realize how much so until I came to college and was around people who were comfortable using the stereotypes of West Virginia. I feel called to teach students from Appalachia a sense of pride for the region, along with motivating them to write.”
Minter, an Interdisciplinary Studies major from King George, Va., completed a project exploring how to teach English in China. Her project included a background of history, culture, and teaching methods, including Minter’s personal experiences in China. Her hopes for the project were that one day it could serve as a guide for Westerners to prepare those who would like to teach English in China.
“I decided to study this subject because I have always wanted to be a teacher,” said Minter. “After I got the opportunity to study abroad in China through Bluefield College, I fell in love with the place and the people. It became real to me that I could very well be an English teacher in China and I wanted this project to prepare me if I were able to teach in China after I graduated.”
Although the presentations made their projects seem easy, the process of completing a 35-50 page paper has been challenging for the three.
“The most challenging thing for me was not wanting to give up in the middle,” said Minter. “Sometimes I would feel overwhelmed by how big the assignment seemed and many times I thought it would be easy to just give up. However, I had already put so much time and effort into the project, I was learning new things that I could really use, and Mrs. Bartlett and my sponsor, Dr. Watson, helped me to keep my eye on the goal and stick it through to the end.”
The process also came with rewards.
“I wasn’t always sure if I wanted to be a teacher,” said Sears. “Teaching is difficult and there’s so much pressure to have your students succeed, but working with the students in my classroom for my project made me fall in love with teaching again. They just needed someone to listen to their stories, to inspire them. I remembered why I wanted to be a teacher.”
“The most rewarding part of this process was when I finished my research and began writing the story,” said Alcorn. “That's when I really felt my characters coming alive; they took on their own personalities and basically wrote the story for me, and it made my story seem so much more real.”
Three additional Honor’s students will present their final projects next semester for a total of six students who successfully completed a project in the senior class.