During your final year, you will plunge headlong into an intellectual adventure—the senior thesis. Undertaken with support from a Reed professor, the thesis is your opportunity to explore a problem or answer a question that holds particular significance to you.
Reed theses represent an incredible range of topics, from the Republic of Plato to the music videos of Beyoncé (see examples below). Students work in close consultation with their thesis adviser to ensure steady progress throughout the year. Your thesis, which will be permanently housed in the Thesis Tower, may be the most challenging thing you have ever done—certainly it will be the most rewarding. You will never forget the experience, nor lose the confidence it builds.
Comparative literature major Millie Forman ’23 wrote about the Works of Saint Teresa of Ávila for her thesis, examining the role of language in the construction of subjectivity, the meaning of the feminine subject position in language, and the formulation of a specifically feminine mode of knowledge acquisition and creation.
International and comparative policy studies major Nguyễn Ngọc Yến Nhi ’22 explored why college enrollment rates are high in the U.S. but graduation rates lag behind.
Biochemistry and molecular biology major Nareg Kedjejian ’23 built a device to detect changes in neurotransmitter levels in frogs—with the goal of using it to monitor or diagnose mental disorders in humans.
Anthropology major Anesu Ndoro ’21 examined how Black conservatives navigate status and belonging in the Republican party, and how this is tied to their vews on Black family-making practices in the United States.
Biology-theatre major Eva Licht ’21 combined her love of biology and theatre to create a thesis production exploring diversity and inclusion in the sciences.
English Major Kelly Wenzka ’22 won the Unrue Award for her thesis, in which she developed a new definition of tone of voice and applied it to three of Elizabeth Bishop's poems.
Chemistry major Zesean Moiz Ali ’20 extracted and purified biologically active elements from lion’s mane mushrooms to explore their potential in treating Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and stroke.
Environmental studies-political science major Hayden Hendersen ’20 reimagined how school lunch is served, proposing a way to serve plant-based and vegan meals that kids want to eat.
Studio art major Sherry Xinyue Chiang ’22 examined the radical resistance of preparing and serving meals to immigrants and refugee families in the United States.
History major Achinoam Bentov ’20 studied the struggle for control of the Black Sea Steppe in the late 1400s and how this battle for dominance shaped the state system still governing European power relations today.