Thursday, March 18, 2010

MA Thesis Workshop Recap, Shanna Farrell

In addition to Scott Campbell's response to Draper's recent MA Thesis Workshop, we now have a post from Shanna Farrell, who also attended the event that evening. Shanna's recap is below; let us know if you attended and would like to contribute your thoughts!


On Friday evening, March 12th, Draperites gathered for a thesis writing workshop given by Professors Daniel Thurs and Rebecca Colesworthy. Attendees discussed each of their thesis topics, which are in various stages of completion. After a brief overview of the workshop and a summary of each attendee's topic of research, the floor opened for an informative Q&A session. Questions spanning the spectrum from general to specific were asked, which prompted the half running joke/half earnest response "ask your advisor".

This led to the subject of choosing and working with an advisor, which seemed to be a pertinent issue for everyone present. Several important pieces of information were discussed. When a student approaches a potential advisor, the better the two know each other the more inclined a faculty member might be to accept the challenge. (It should be emphasized that faculty reserve the right to say no.) One way to make time with an advisor more efficient is for a student to present the advisor with as many writing samples as possible. Preliminary bibliographies, similar pieces or studies, and specific questions can also help an advisor help their advisee. Some Draperites raised concerns about the feasibility of having multiple advisors or advising committees. One response to this question was that some faculty members who have similar research interests as a student don't necessarily require an official advisor/advisee relationship to offer help and insight. In fact, a faculty member might be more willing to assist if a student doesn't need much more than some general guidance.

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