Honors students have ‘Pizza with the Profs’

Trevor Ivan

Research project planning begins

Dominique Tozzi, sophomore integrated math major and honors student, said she wants to toss around ideas for a senior honors thesis before committing to one.

She said she plans to take advantage of a new option offered by the Honors College for students to do research before they decide to do a thesis.

“I want to prepare for my thesis,” Tozzi said. “I want to find ways of making my thesis go faster and smoother.”

The Honors College started allowing students to do a research project with a faculty member last year that can range from one to four credits, said Vicki Bocchicchio, honors thesis coordinator.

Students had the opportunity yesterday to hear presentations from faculty who are willing to work with undergraduates on research projects at an event called “Pizza with the Profs.”

Students were encouraged to talk to faculty about research interests in an informal atmosphere, Bocchicchio said.

She said the smaller projects students are advised to do are geared at helping students plan their honors thesis for their senior year.

“If students think about the thesis early, they are able to plan for it better,” Bocchicchio said. “The thesis is 10 credit hours of work during a student’s senior year. It’s better to start thinking about it early.”

She said these smaller-scale projects are aimed at helping students find a workable topic for a thesis.

“If students have a workable topic, their efforts at doing a thesis will be more fruitful,” Bocchicchio said. “By doing one of these smaller projects, students will get a sense of the work involved in doing a thesis.”

Some students say they are excited about doing a research project.

“Just sitting here and hearing the professors talk, I realize how much learning I’m able to do,” said Chris Richards, freshman theatre major.

One of the faculty members willing to advise students on an individual project said she likes the idea that students can focus on a specific topic by doing a project like this.

“I like the idea that the topic a student does for this type of project can grow into a bigger project like a thesis,” said Susan Lord, adjunct professor of English.

Bocchicchio said these types of projects will better prepare students for graduate school since they are learning the entire research process.

Contact honors and international affairs reporter Trevor Ivan at [email protected].