Honors Program Celebrates Seniors’ Work at Annual Exhibit

Anthony Proia, Director of Media Relations
Honors Program student Wai Yen Oo ’22 discussing his thesis project on Buddhism as Liberation in Politics

December 20, 2022 – Students participating in Marist’s Honor Program were featured during an end-of-semester Thesis Exhibit event in the Murray Student Center earlier this month that showcased their research projects that were developed with the guidance of their faculty mentors.

The Marist Honors Program supports talented students from all majors with goals of challenging students academically while building leadership skills and emphasizing the importance of civic learning and global citizenship. The presentations included a diverse set of topics and areas of study, spanning social issues, technology, politics, and more.

“The exhibit is a celebration of the academic journey Honors students have embarked on and provides a spotlight for showcasing the hard work of students and their faculty mentors who have guided them along the way,” said Dr. Carolyn Matheus, Marist Honors Program Director. “I was amazed by the outstanding and diverse representation of interdisciplinary work presented at the Fall 2022 exhibit.”

Students in the program take seminar-style classes on important intellectual and social topics. Discussion-based courses focus on critical thinking with an emphasis on ethics. All Honors students are challenged to complete two research projects with the guidance of faculty mentors, culminating in the senior Honors Thesis project. 





Wai Yen Oo '22, whose thesis centered on the topic Buddhism as Liberation in Politics, explored, in part, connecting religious philosophy to political movements. Wai Yen '22 came to Marist from Myanmar in Southeast Asia. His project journey was inspired by conflict in his home country.

“During my sophomore year, I applied to the Honors Program and was accepted, so I thought it would make a good research project,” said Wai Yen '22. “When my country went through a military coup, all the projects I wanted to commit to were put on hold, but I’m happy that I was able to complete this before graduation. This research project was a great introduction to philosophical and ethical approaches in today’s society. It interested me to read about how cultures adapt and find new religious approaches to contested and controversial topics that arise with the development of new technologies.”

Mia Garofalo '23, whose thesis centered on the topic Assessing Voice User Interfaces as Devices to Improve Oral Language Proficiency through Repetitive Conversational Tasks, explored, in part, language learning, artificial intelligence, voice assistants, which she says was inspired by the intersection of assistive technology and language acquisition.

“What excites me most about my research are its tangible applications to the medical field,” said Garofalo '23. “We can significantly bridge the gaps in a bilingual workforce and automate language learning capabilities with this technology.”

Matheus says the scope of the projects showcase the diversity of thought and in-depth research of Honors seniors, providing them with a unique opportunity to share with the Marist community.

“The breadth and depth of projects and presentations is a testament to the talent and hard work of the students who complete the Honors Program,” said Matheus. “I am honored to work alongside these energetic students and faculty mentors, who continue to challenge themselves by striving for academic excellence and making the most of the robust educational experience offered through the Marist College Honors Program.”

About the Honors Program and Senior Thesis Project

The Honors Program is an academic community that attracts talented students from all majors. The Program’s mission is to foster the development of scholars, leaders, and global citizens. The Honors Program is built on a foundation of five core values aimed to empower academically talented students to achieve their full potential.

Many students choose to study abroad during their time in the Honors Program, which includes students participating in the Freshman Florence and Freshman Dublin Experiences, and four-year bachelor’s students studying in Florence at Marist Italy

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