Over winter break, most students leave campus for some well-deserved rest from the demands of the academic term. Others stay at the College over January. Here’s a look at five students who spent January rehearsing, practicing, and studying for their senior theses. Photographer Jesse Gwilliam caught them in action and also asked them to reflect on their work.

Sterling Kee ’23

Major: Theater
Thesis: Myths and Hymns

A group of people in a studio rehearsing a song cycle written by Sterling Kee

Senior Sterling Kee poses infront of a white wall, casting a life-sized shadow.

Oftentimes what a thesis looks like for a theater major is to choose or write a production and then put it on. So I've been a fan of this musical called Myths and Hymns for a few years now. It's a song cycle, which means that it's a musical, but with less of a plot, less of a concrete framework. Some of the songs are taken from Greek myths. Some are taken from this hymnal that the writer found. And then some are just miscellaneous songs that have to do with the themes the writer is exploring in the song cycle. They’re about relationships between fathers and sons, mothers and sons, romantic relationships. What ties it all together is this idea of challenged relationships. And also the idea of faith.

Julissa Tello ’23

Majors: Biology & French
Thesis: Novel Proteins in Starlet Sea Anemone Embryos

Julissa Tello in a white lab coat in a biology lab.

Senior Julissa Tello

I'm pre-med, but I've always been interested in obstetrics and gynecology, taking care of women, prenatal care. What really got me interested in that was in fifth grade, when my teacher was pregnant and announced it to the class. And I was like, ‘oh my God, that's so cool.’ She had a pregnancy book on her desk. And so I asked her if I could look at it and she said, yeah, sure. I'd flip through it and then I'd see all the different size comparisons and I was like, wow, it starts off so small. How does that fully develop into an organism, a fully formed human? And so that question has always astounded me. And I wanted to learn more.

Patrick Spoor ’22

Major: Music
Thesis: Einheit Wanderschaft

Three images of a young man with long curly dark hair singing.

Patrick Spoor

I’ve called my thesis Einheit Wanderschaft: it means “wandering of unity.” That's a silly title. But I encountered a few songs that reminded me of getting away from home. I didn't really travel much in general. I was born in Ecuador, so I've been back and forth between Ecuador and Georgia, where I live and that's pretty much it. I've been up and down the East Coast some, to my grandparents' house in Pennsylvania. I just have a few spots in the world that  I've encountered, and there's so much out there to see that I hadn't really been given the opportunity to see.

Ryan Kyle ’23

Major: Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought
Thesis: Dignity Jurisprudence and Supreme Court Rulings

A woman sits at a desk, reading from a book.

Ryan Kyle

I am interested in intersecting my interest in legal theory with case law. In a class taught by Professor Adam Sitze, I wrote a paper responding to the prompt, “What do you think the relationship should be between law and morality.” And I remember thinking to myself, “This could be a dissertation, right?” And then within that, I became really interested in their discussion of whether it's constitutional to execute individuals with intellectual disabilities. So I'm interested in intersecting my interest in legal theory with case law, and then also this interest in the death penalty and how we afford dignity to individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Haoran Tong ’23

Major: Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought & Economics
Thesis: Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought: Rhetoric in Anti-Trust Legislation
Thesis: Economics: Algorithmic Pricing Analysis

A young man in a purple tshirt with a lap top studies at a desk.

Haoran Tong

I chose these topics, in one way because they're socially important. Antitrust has been a topic of heated debate for lawmakers, economists and scholars, and I found this connection of law and economics important in terms of understanding our social order—but also to imagine a social order that could serve us better collectively. So I've taken essentially two approaches with my two theses of the same sort of umbrella topic, which is to use the law to analyze the market and use the market to analyze the law. There is an intrinsic connection between my theses, but the different skills I cultivate by extending that connection into different disciplines allow me to gain different perspectives on the same topic.