Interdisciplinary Studies Major Thesis Presentations

2023 Presentations

Margaret Neely (CAS’23)

Faculty advisors: Evan Barba (CCT), Elyse Kelly (Art & Art History, FMST)
Thesis: Maud Dog: How Games Can Help Us Own Our Mental Health

Maud Dog is a video game that I have been creating over the past year, but my first version of the story was written in 2020 as a short film script. Since 2020, I have experimented with telling the story in different formats – a novel, comic strips, and the interactive project that is the Maud Dog you will hear about today! The story follows a girl, Maud, as she evacuates her university after a nuclear catastrophe. On the journey home, she experiences unusual and frightening events. Followed by mysterious voices and shadows and haunted by a dark creature, Maud is ultimately forced to recognize that she may be the greatest obstacle in the way of getting home safely. The interactive format of the game positions players in the first person, creating an intimate experience between player and Maud. The goal of this game is to serve as a creative expression of my own experiences and a bridge by which I allow others to understand them. In a more academic sense, this project seeks to address the role of interactivity and narrative mechanics in video games with a particular focus in conveying stories and messages about mental health.

Margaret Neely grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and attended Jefferson County IB School in Irondale, AL. On campus, Margaret has been involved in GUTV, our university’s premier film club, and worked in the Extended Reality Lab with Professor Barba of the CCT department. She has also served as a Teaching Assistant for the Expanded Cinema course in the Film & Media Studies Program. Margaret also sits-in on Professor Elyse Kelly’s animation classes, encouraging her younger peers and enjoying every opportunity to work with Prof. Kelly. After graduation, she intends to spend more time with her grandparents and to continue work in film and game design.

Jane Doherty (CAS’23)

Faculty Advisors: Tom Coate (Biology), Maggie Debelius (ENGL, CNDLS)
Thesis: Meta-Neurocognition as a Pedagogical Tool

My central thesis is that meta-neurocognition, thinking about how your own brain learns, could be a powerful tool for students. Understanding the science of reading may provide an important reframing of the process that could de-stigmatize or de-personalize some of the challenges that students face when learning to read. I hypothesize that implementing a meta-neurocognitive curriculum into classrooms could positively impact students’ approach to reading and importantly their beliefs about themselves as readers.

Jane Doherty is a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences and is from Colorado. Jane has enjoyed hands-on teaching experiences through the Biology Department’s RISE and Teach Program. She has also loved her experiences working in preschool classrooms, with fourth-grade math students, as a Biology TA, and most recently in a remedial reading class. In summer 2022, she was a Royden B. Davis Fellow, traveling to Kenya to participate in a community-based research project with the Colobus Conservation Education Center. On campus, she has valued her time working at the Red House. After graduation, she will be working as a Higher Education Consulting Analyst.

Joel-Anthoney Bossous (CAS’23) *unable to present

Faculty Advisors: Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò (Philosophy), Marcus Board (Howard University)

“My project takes a deeper dive into how we think of life and its creation, the constitutive elements of a literal and a figurative “death,” and what it means to possess autonomy. I connect ideas of world-making, self-determination, radical thought, and epistemic creation through a combined usage of the Broad Model, historical analysis, and make interjections into scholarly debates around historicism and philosophy.”