BHSU Honors students present capstone projects during the final Geek Speak lecture of the year

Author: BHSU Communications/Saturday, October 25, 2014/Categories: 2014

Julie Gueswel, senior business administration major at BHSU from Jay Em, Wyo. will defend her capstone project on tournament theory in movies on Dec. 4 at 4 p.m. in Jonas Hall 110.  Gueswel completed her research as part of her University Honors Program.

BHSU political science and history major from Spearfish, Jordan Louks, wrote an allegorical novella on his decision to become a United Methodist pastor.  Louks will present his work as part of the University Honors Program Fall Defense on Dec. 4 at 4 p.m. in Jonas Hall 110.

Two students from the Black Hills State University Honors Program will defend their capstone projects on Dec. 4 at 4 p.m. in Jonas Hall 110 as part of the Geek Speak lecture series.  The students' diverse topics include tournament theory in movies and an allegory on the decision to become a United Methodist pastor.

Sponsored by the University Honors Program, the Geek Speak lecture series features unique topics not normally discussed in general education courses.    

Julie Gueswel, senior business administration major from Jay Em, Wyo., used her love for movies to research the business concept of tournament theory.

"Tournament theory describes the behavior of employees when reward structures are based on rank rather than levels of output," said Gueswel.  "My research revealed how tournament theory plays out amongst movie characters."

Gueswel analyzed blockbuster movies from a variety of genres - The Hobbit, The Devil Wears Prada, The Book of Eli, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

"Movies are a form of entertainment, but we also learn social behavior based on the actions of the characters and the consequences they face," said Gueswel.  

Jordan Louks, senior political science and history major from Spearfish, started his capstone project with the goal of writing a series of short stories.  But one story in particular dominated his thoughts.

"I felt a calling to go into the seminary but I didn't address it until right before I started my project," said Louks. "My project is unconventional, but it represents how I was transforming throughout my undergraduate career."

By researching and using allegory, a literary technique to reveal symbols or hidden meaning, Louks wrote about his shift in perspective.

"My project turned into a longer story, a novella, about the world I'm living in and trying to come up with a way that I can deal with the violence and problems I see while still having optimism about the future," said Louks.

Gusewel and Louks will answer questions from the audience in a traditional defense format.  After successfully presenting and defending their projects, Guswel and Louks will graduate with the distinction of 'University Scholar' in December.

The students credit the BHSU Honors Program for challenging them and providing them new opportunities.

"Throughout the honors program I took classes outside my major on subjects that helped me think in a different way," said Louks.  

Last year, the Honors Program started an Honors Club to provide social, community engagement, and leadership opportunities as well as a peer support system.  

"I encourage incoming students that if you're invited to the Honors Program, take the challenge!  It will push you but it will also help you grow," said Gueswel.

For more information on the BHSU Geek Speak lecture series or the University Honors Program, contact Dr. Courtney Huse-Wika, director of University Honors and assistant professor of English, at 605-642-6918 or

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