Congratulations to our 2023–24 Honors Graduates!

Samantha Oleschuk at her thesis defense

Art Management student Samantha Oleschuk at her thesis defense

The Art Department supported a total of 18 students in their journeys to graduate with honors in the 2023-2024 academic year. The students, from majors across the department, did outstanding work in their honors coursework and on their honors theses: independent research and creative projects developed and implemented under the support of two faculty members.

In Fall 2023, Addie Clark (Art Management) and Sofie Salcedo (BFA Studio) defended their theses and graduated with University Honors. Grace Moffitt (Commercial Photography) and Hannah Little (BFA Studio) graduated with Honors in Art. Emma Rose Hanley and Shannon Casey (both BFA Art Education) and Zaria Gray (Graphic Communications Management) also defended their honors theses and will graduate with Honors in Art in 2024.

Emma Hanley at her thesis defense

Emma Hanley

Of her thesis project and related exhibition, Emma Hanley wrote, “This thesis show was an exploration into different methods of learning through doing, learning through exploring, and learning by listening to art making processes…. I learned how the art classroom becomes a place where students learn to be, and is one of the few opportunities we get in school for free expression. Giving students the opportunity to figure out methods and materials, and problem solve their way through making, has become an invariable method of my own teaching, and allows students a pathway to learn critical thinking.”

Zaria Gray

Zaria Gray

Zaria Gray is the first Graphic Communications Management student to graduate with departmental honors. The logo she created for the Southern Regional Honors Council, a professional organization for Honors colleges and programs in the Southeast, won first place in their design contest. She traveled to the conference in April to accept her award.

Lanie Sorrow at her thesis defense

Lanie Sorrow

In Spring 2024, Samantha Oleschuk (Art Management) will graduate with both Honors in Art and University Honors. Lanie Sorrow and Gabi Ramirez Ramirez (both BFA Graphic Design) will graduate with University Honors. Em Player, a Psychology major with a minor in Studio Art, also completed University Honors with an interdisciplinary thesis under the direction of an Art Department faculty member.

Of her Honors experience, Samantha Oleschuk wrote, “My Honors experience was nothing short of influential. I was exposed to a variety of different perspectives and academic subjects that taught me how to employ an interdisciplinary approach in all my work. Equipped with this knowledge, I was able to conduct interdisciplinary research for my Honors Thesis project focused on creative aging programs that investigated critical intersections between arts, aging, public health, and policy. Such an emphasis on all things interdisciplinary over the last four years has shown me that our work in one sector of our society–in my case, the arts–is inherently connected to work in all others.”

Em Player at their thesis defense

Em Player

Em Player explained, “Within my thesis project, I created an organization that will still stand once I leave Boone, created a body of artwork I'm incredibly proud of, and curated an art show within the queer community that I am even more proud of. Overall, this experience allowed me to highlight the power of art and connection to create catharsis in the queer community, especially as this community relates to institutionalized religion.”

The following students also defended their theses in Spring 2024 to receive Honors in Art: Hailey Jordan, Camille Kerner, and Gideon Chasey (all BFA Studio majors); Katie Randall (BFA Graphic Design); Olivia Hoagland (BA Art Management); Lydia Smith (BA Studio); and Camden McManamy (BA Art History).

Hailey Jordan

Hailey Jordan

For her thesis project, Hailey Jordan created a body of work and held a solo exhibition at the campus Looking Glass Gallery. Of her honors experience she wrote, “Creating a solo show for the first time was a wonderful experience and having such an amazing team of people to help guide me in that process made a world of a difference. Jeana, Phyllis, and the Looking Glass Gallery team cared about me and my work so greatly and I am eternally appreciative of their support. It has definitely set me up for success as I continue my art career and apply to galleries for future shows, and shown me that I am capable of creating a cohesive body of work and sharing it with the world.”

The Art Department and the Honors College are grateful to the many Art Department faculty who supervised or served as second readers on honors theses: Prof. Jeana Klein, Prof. Erin Ethridge, Prof. Lisa Stinson, Prof. Jody Servon, Prof. Stephen Parks, Prof. April Flanders, Prof. Travis Donovan, Dr. Jim Toub, Dr. Erin Peters, Prof. Mark Nystrom, Prof. Phyllis Kloda, Dr. Lorraine Affourtit, Prof. Tim Ford, Prof. Jessica Greenfield, Dr. Kate Wurtzel, Dr. Mira Waits, Prof. Andrèa Connell, Dr. Kevin Howell, Prof. Tome Reeves, Prof. Andrew Caldwell, and Prof. Anna Buckner.

From outside the department, Dr. Anna Cremaldi (Philosophy and Religion) directed one thesis, and Dr. Krista Lewis (Anthropology), Dr. Randall Reed (Philosophy and Religion), Dr. Gini Grandi (Theatre and Dance), Prof. Ginger Hansen (Communication), Dr. Andrea Burns (History), shauna caldwell (Turchin Center for the Visual Arts), and community member Shivonne Quintero served as second readers.

The Art Department Honors Program is directed by Dr. Mira Waits, with Dr. Heather Waldroup serving as Interim Director in Spring 2024 while Dr. Waits is on research leave.