Gearing Up: Seniors Prepare to Defend Research Projects


Senior seminar students are preparing to defend their research projects. To assist them with the daunting task of going in front of a panel of experts to present and then defend their claims, Dr. Kate Kramer-Jefferson spoke to students about the process of defending a thesis. 


The history department began the senior seminar program in 2017 to allow students the opportunity to take college-level history courses on specific topics in US and World history. The courses include History of the American Civil War, Native American History, and Comparative Politics. The first half of the year is spent in traditional lecture-style classes, while simultaneously formulating a thesis that they would like to research. The second half of the year students are fully immersed in the research and writing process. This research culminates in a final draft of their research paper and a presentation and defense--similar to what college students do when completing Master's and Ph.D programs. 


Dr. Kramer-Jefferson explained the process of a defense and allayed some of the students' fears.  Dr. Kramer-Jefferson led an activity in which she handed out "typical" committee type questions and asked the students to answer them based on the research they had conducted.  "This was a wonderful experience for our students to hear from someone who has recently completed a PhD program. They were able to consider all of the nuances that go into giving a proper thesis presentation and defense.  Hopefully this discussion will help the students prepare for their committees and be confident when defending their claims," said Native American History teacher Clay Wawner.

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