Honors Capstone Project

Current Project Examples


Junior and senior honors program members have worked incredibly hard to put together a number of unique, interesting projects related to their fields. Each project is either a thesis or a major project that is undertaken by the student and guided by a senior faculty member and second reader. Below are a few of the exciting projects put forth by students. Also, to help you start your project, you can download and print the proposal and registration forms directly below.

Senior Project Proposal Form

Senior Project Registration Form



Alicia Benz

Killdeer, ND
Biology
Sophomore

My research project revolves around the overall well-being of children. In my capstone project "Child Healthcare in Each Socioeconomic Setting" I have decided to focus on disease prevention in children in the United States, Indian Reservations, and third world countries and ways that we can decrease child mortality rates in each area. I have always had a deep love for children. Now, I will be able to work hands-on with children to determine how we can improve child healthcare overall.


Jordan Louks

Spearfish, SD
History & Political Science
Senior

My capstone project will culminate in the crafting of allegorical short stories that depict past and/or current political events. They will also employ universal themes that readers can use to understand the world or find solutions to the problems in our society. Throughout the beginning stages of this project, I will be researching allegories to develop a reading list to help me understand how this type of work is done, and I will develop my own definition for allegory before I actually commence writing the stories. This seems a bit grandiose but I believe it is a way for me to to use the knowledge I've gained from both of my disciplines in a unique, creative way that I have not been able to do before in typical research papers. I believe that the use of storytelling to reflect on certain issues and themes is one of the best ways that people can understand the world around them. I am planning on attending seminary after graduation from Black Hills State University, and storytelling is an integral part to pastoral ministry. It is also an essential part to the teachings of Jesus Christ. I believe this project will be fun, enlightening, and worthwhile long into my future.


Kaitlin Schneider

Sturgis, SD
Psychology
Senior

The idea for my senior thesis project began in a research methods class as I learned ​about the field of experimental psychology. Once I learned how to utilize the scientific method, it was easy to start exploring my own ideas and questions. With a minor in art and a major in psychology, I was interested in how the two could potentially be related. I began to review literature within the field of art therapy and found a few studies pertaining to drawing and stress. ​I wanted to explore two conflicting outcomes (Curry & Kasser, 2005; Smith, 2011) to test whether meditative benefits of art are a result of drawing within the borders of a circle, or whether the act of free-form drawing is sufficient to reduce stress. It was hypothesized that if the act of drawing alone induces the meditative state, then both the circle and the freeform drawing groups would show more significant decreases in anxiety than participants who did not draw. Practical applications in light of the findings will be discussed.

"Distinguishing the Meditative Benefits of Drawing Within and Without Borders on Acute Stress" was successfully defended April 25, 2014


Lucas Fralick

Gillette, WY
Political Science
Sophomore

My capstone project will focus on analyzing and synthesizing various theories regarding President Harry Truman’s decision to drop the Atomic Bomb. In the end I hope to gain a new insight into that horrific choice. I chose this, because I am a huge fan of President Truman and need to know more about one of the most controversial events of his Presidency.  The actual decision to drop the bomb has been researched by a number of historians and political scientists, who have laid out a number of interpretations.  Generally, these theories fall under two categories:  the first interpretation holds that American casualties would have been too high if the Japanese homeland had been invaded.  The second argues that President Truman wanted to use the bomb as "atomic diplomacy" to ensure that the Soviets would not have a large stake in the Far East and that the United States would have a bargaining chip to use at Yalta.  I propose that these two are not mutually exclusive and will analyze and synthesize these theories to contribute to the discussion. 


Nicole Faas

Rapid City, SD
Political Science and Speech, with minors in Economics and Philosophy
Senior

This project  looks to analyze the current situation regarding domestic surveillance by the federal government, specifically the National Security Agency. It will describe a few of the surveillance tactics which most clearly demonstrate how American rights have been infringed upon. It will then describe the philosophical basis for why privacy ought to be valued, and how the behavior of the average citizen can help restore some of the privacy that has been lost. I'm interested in this topic because the issue is current and pressing, and the variety of factors associated with the issue tie into every aspect of my degree.

"The Surveillance Industrial Complex:  America's Privacy Crisis" was successfully defended April 25, 2014


Kristin Prescott

Menomonee Falls, WI
Human Service & Sociology
Sophomore

My capstone project researches adolescent sexual behavior. I am analyzing data form the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey to look at the relationship between sports participation and age of first onset of sexual activity in both males and females. The project will also have a oral presentation component that will be given at the Black Hills Research Symposium and the National Conference on Undergraduate Research Conference in Lexington, Kentucky. I am very excited about this project and sharing my research with others. My major hypothesis is that with increased involvement in sports that the age of first sexual activity will be delayed.