Honors Contracts and Theses: Past and Current

Interested in creating an Honors Contract? Looking for inspiration? Here are a few examples of the work that current Honors have done (or are actively doing!) for their Honors contracts or theses. 

Juliana Davis







Name: Juliana Davis

Major: Psychology- Neuroscience

Class of: 2022

"The Truths of Seminar: Decolonizing Thought Process”

Contract Description

My honors contract aimed to decolonize the process of seminar, from texts to the understanding of what a “great text” is. Through a multitude of interviews I coded different ideas through the lens of subjective and objective truths and explained how cultural backgrounds, both personally and socially influence the seminar program as a whole and how that influence is making the program less effective than it has the potential to be. 


Marissa Chesney








Name: Marissa Chesney

Major: English with a Creative Writing Emphasis

Class of: 2020

"'Rotten Through and Through:' the Gendered Divide between Mind and Body in Rebecca and Other Gothic Texts"

Contract Description

In my contract, I examined Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca as well as many other Gothic texts. I argue that an essential part of Gothic literature is the choice of the female to separate her mind and body through bodily disfigurement. She escapes the male gaze by destroying her body and existing solely as a mind, becoming fully human in this act. This theme of destruction acts as the internal conflict of nearly all female Gothic texts and reveals the gendered nature of society, both during the time of Gothic literature's emergence and in the modern day. 


Laura Hazen








Name: Laura Hazen

Major: Accounting, Minor in TRS

Class of: 2020

"Managing and Leading Organizations in Residence Hall Association"

Contract Description

In my contract, I explored and researched how to effectively lead an organization, and applied it to the organization that I work for and lead as Co-Chair, Residence Hall Association. I found that cohesion would improve team dynamics and productivity. I then worked to implement changes within RHA to improve cohesion.


Kathryn Lombardi








Name: Kathryn Lombardi

Major: Health Science, Minor in Biology

Class of: 2020

"Meat is Murder: The Environmental Implications of the Livestock Industry on Methane Production"

Contract Description

We often learn that increased carbon dioxide (CO2) production from fossil fuels is the leading contributor to climate change. For my contract I investigated the organic composition of methane (CH4), how it reacts with other molecules in the atmosphere, and how it may be more of a contributing factor to climate change than CO2. I specifically examined how the ever-growing livestock industry is one of the root causes of increased methane production.

Valentin Sponer








Name: Valentin Sponer

Major: Physics

Class of: 2021

"Quantum Mechanics"

Contract Description

In order to achieve greater depth, I am going to solve quantum mechanical problems with the help of computational physics. In contrast to the rest of the class I will use a laptop in order to solve problems that aren’t possible to compute by hand. I will create a paper including those  quantum mechanical problems and their graphical representation. I will choose one dimensional as well as three dimensional problems.


Ivett Arellano








Name: Ivett Arellano

Major: Politics, Minor in Law and Society

Class of: 2022

"The Lived Religions of College Students"

Contract Description

I will be writing a 10-12 page research paper on the “lived religion” of people from the ages of 18-22 who consider themselves religious or spiritual. The term lived religion is defined as people's beliefs, practices, every day rituals according to their religion or spirituality. This paper will explore how individuals practice the religion or spirituality by conducting interviews and finding other sources that explain the key themes and features of Generation Z’s “style” of religion and spirituality. 


Esther Woo









Name: Esther Woo

Major: Biochemistry, Minor in Justice, Community, and Leadership

Class of: 2020

"If the Whole World Were to Share a Meal"

Contract Description

I identified food security issues experienced by communities in the East Bay, specifically looking at the ways in which communities of color are impacted by disproportionate exposure to environmental harm.


Cinthya Arellano








Name: Cinthya Itzel Arellano Melchor

Major: Biology and Ethnic Studies 

Class of: 2021

"Understanding the Mechanisms Underlying Sympathetic Development and Contribution to Melanoma" 

Contract Description

In my independent study I will be researching if sympathetic and sensory neurons contribute to the progress of melanoma from a benign cancer to a malignant one.


Alyssa Plummer






Name: Alyssa Plummer

Major: Dance and Biochemistry

Class of: 2021

"The History and Style of Armenian Dance as it relates to Ballet and Modern Dance"

Contract Description

For my Dance History 1 class I researched Armenian Dance forms, as they have changed and evolved throughout history. I heard from an Armenian dancer and choreographer about her story with Armenian dance and other dance forms. I looked into how Armenian Dance is related to modern and balletic forms, as well as why it is important to recognize dances of multiple cultures in the study of dance history. 


Alisa Sakakura

Name: Alisa Sakakura

Major: History major, Art practice minor

Class of: 2018

"The Walls Fall Down: A Study of Medieval Siege Warfare and Its Influence Over Technology, Economy, Society, and Culture"

Contract Description

Sieges became the dominant form of warfare in Europe during the Middle Ages, influencing every aspect of medieval life, from the increasingly centralized society dominated by men in a militarized culture, to the silver-based economy.  Clearly the siege was the dominant force not just because of the technology, but also because of the influence and connections it created with other aspects of medieval life, culture, society, economy, and technology, leaving medieval history littered with bodies and defeated castles.

Rosemary Cook

Name: Rosemary Cook

Major: English & Sociology

Class of: 2017

"The Right to Remain Relevant: Why the CSI Effect is Still A Potential Concern for Our Legal System"

Contract Description

My contract explored the existence of the “CSI Effect,” a proposed social phenomenon stating that watching sensationalized crime dramas on television has influence over the administration of justice in real courtrooms. Through my own analysis of Law & Order and an ethnographic study of an ongoing trial, I found that the portrayal of the criminal justice system on TV is drastically different than reality and breeds an attitude about law and justice that subtly, but significantly, affects the way a real courtroom and all its players operates. Thus, the “CSI Effect” is theoretically plausible.


Abigail Starkovich

Name: Abbie Starkovich

Major: Economics

Class of: 2017

"The American Ideal as Seen through the Advertisements of Life Magazine 1936-1951"

Contract Description

I traced the relation of magazine advertisements to the American cultural ideal from 1936 to 1951 by examining and deconstructing full-page advertisements from Life magazine.  I was able to examine how these advertising trends both dictated and reflected American cultural values including gender, race, family, leisure, patriotism, and social status.


Matt Monet

Name: Matt Monet

Major: Health Science

Class of: 2017

"Stress: How It Could Break Your Heart"

Contract Description

My contract focuses on the major anatomical and physiological stress on the development of heart disease across vertebrate taxa.