- Dining Services
- Off-Campus Highlights
- Student Activities & Events
- Student Services
- Student Profiles
- COA Gear
By the time a student reaches his or her senior year at COA, he or she has experienced a new way of learning, and has been exposed to a wide variety of subject areas. At its core, a COA education draws on the recognition and examination of the connections between various disciplines. With this in mind, our students focus their interests by looking through many different lenses. The Senior Project stands as the culmination of this interdisciplinary experience.
Final projects are as individual as the students who create them. To see a complete list of projects, visit the Thorndike Library database . One copy of each senior project is archived in the library. Contact Thorndike Library for details. Below is only a sampling of the projects done over the past few years.
During the summer of 2008, at the George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History, birds fly into the sunlight; nuzzle each other in a nest, protect one another, and sit framed in the glory of the setting sun. Jamus Drury has captured these creatures in his exhibit, "The Aesthetics of Science: A photographic journey to Tern Island, in the remote Hawaiian Islands National Monument. Intimate portraits of albatross, frigatebirds, red-footed boobies, white terns are accompanied by excerpts from the other part of his senior project, a book-length manuscript called Taking Wing: A creative exploration in science.
As politically engaged, probing women, Katarina Jurikova and Ashlesha Khadse were inspired by the struggles of the indigenous women of Chiapas, Mexico against the changes wrought by NAFTA. Katarina, who is from Slovakia, and Ashlesha, from India, had no interest in just reading what others had to say about these women, they wanted to experience the routines of their lives first-hand: to rise at 4 a.m. with the women, learn to fashion tortillas from grainy masa harina, breathe in the wood smoke, touch the thick, beautiful embroideries of their traditional clothes, and help with tasks from fetching water to harvesting - all the while listening to the women's stories.
Since she was a child, Carmen Phillips has been drawn to the world of nature. As a teenager, she began studying primitive skills, turning the childhood games of "plant soup into real meals of chickweed and dandelion leaves. Working with philosopher John Visvader, she planned her final project as a wilderness immersion in Virginia's Briery Creek. She entered with little more than the clothes on her back, a knife, some fish hooks and line, a couple of field guides, one pot to cook in and one to hold water. She built a shelter - a wickiup - from saplings and leaves, and for seven weeks, most of it alone, she foraged and fished for food, cooking on fires kindled with the bow-drill she made. Each day, she kept a journal of her experiences, ultimately creating "Living Nature: An Experimental Field-based Wilderness Project." Carmen is now back in the wilderness, having achieved her dream of becoming a teacher of wilderness ways.
Amanda Spector came to COA with a deep love of animals thinking she'd study conservation biology. But she came to be so fascinated by the relationships between animal owners and their animals, that she decided to become a veterinarian. For her senior project, Out on Rounds, she decided to preview her chosen field by traveling with a series of large animal veterinarians for six weeks in Maine and seven weeks in Quebec as a participant-observer, interviewing, observing and assisting the veterinarians. The result was a book-length study that describes the health issues of cows and horses, but mostly focuses on the devoted lives of the people who care for them.
What comprises a COA final project? For Tawanda Chabikwa, a full-length dance concert, an exhibit of paintings - and a full novel. Gesture was the title of his dance performance, Baobabs in Heaven is the novel, reflecting contemporary life in Zimbabwe. The performance was also a fundraiser for the Zimbabwean nonprofit, Ndini Wako, that he established in 2005, providing tuition to Zimbabwean AIDS orphans.
What is the sound of one humpback whale feeding? That is a question scientists are just beginning to be able to ask, thanks to acoustic recording equipment Allied Whale has been able to drop at the bottom of the ocean floor in the Gulf of Maine - and the work of Kaitlin Palmer, who analyzed the melodic bellowing and grunting for her senior project, "Humpback Whale Vocalizations in Gulf of Maine Summer Feeding Grounds."
Katrina Zarate's study of vision, memory and blindness, "En-Visioning Art, Theory and Literature," became a multi-media instillation of distorted imagery that filled the college's Ethel H. Blum Gallery to overflowing with original paintings, prose-poems, and the mechanisms of distortion, transporting the viewer into the dark mysteries of dysfunctional vision and and bringing us through eye damage to new levels of sight and insight.
Addtional selected projects from 2007
Selected projects from 2007 include:
Food, Love, and Shelter, an ethnography of family. Brittany Berndtson
Resource Management in a Small Maine Town : monitoring, conserving, and managing clam flats in Bar Harbor. Kipp Quinby
Shadows on Familiar Ground : A Photographic Exploration of Local Perspectives. Rowen Gorman
Business Plan for Permaculture Design Position and Example of Permaculture Site Design. Max Boudreau
Small-scale Aquaponic Systems : A Manual. Marianna Bradley
A Solar Study. Jonathan Busko
Barbwire Lullaby : Baobabs in Heaven, a novel. Rodney Tawanda Chabikwa
Dumi's Website and Online Radio Station. Dumisani Dlamini
The Road to Recovery : Patient, Practitioner, Prosthesis. Charles Fischer
The Virtues of "Vice City" : And Other Electronic Spaces.Isaac Fer
A Place To Call Our Own : Creating A Student Housing Cooperative. Grace Grinager
Identifying Bacteria in the Epidermal Coensarc of Montastraea Cavernosa Using Genetic Markers. Genelle Harrison
Climate Change in the International Legal System : Exploring Solutions in Addressing Climate Change Post 2012. Juan Hoffmaister
An International Regime for Liability and Redress Under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. Sarah Lawson-Stopps
Newsworthy - On this site we’re attempting to capture the vitality and impact of COA’s approach to learning. We’re crafting student and faculty profiles, visiting classes, attending performances and talks, charting COA’s place in national and international media, and marking the achievements of COA community members.
You can also search the library's database of Senior Projects for a more complete list.