Scott Storm '08
"Why Honors? For me, I really liked the idea of learning in seminars - the interaction and working together, like regular courses but even more communal. This was juxtaposed with doing research on my own interests and going as in depth as I wanted. Also, I wanted a culminating experience, a synthesizing project that would make me a better thinker and provide a richer experience. Then, preparing for orals was an amazing synthesis of everything I learned here. Seeing how all my preps worked together - it was really exciting.
"As a special major in educational studies and English literature, I had a unique experience - I wrote a thesis and a novel. It was sometimes hard and laborious to write both, especially at the same time. And I learned that I couldn't work on both on the same day - that was just too cognitively difficult!
"My thesis was about student responses to literature, specifically what elements of the reading process were important in shaping that response. Is it the text, the reader, the environment, the ideology underpinning society? In my work, I presented some evidence that it might not be any one of these elements but that the process might be more fluid and dynamic. Meaning seems to be more situated in the context of the reading event. Creating new knowledge - that was really cool.
"And then I would switch to the novel. My aims were to tell a good story and to play with theoretical ideas in literary theory. I ended up writing a postmodern, experimental, sci-fi time travel novel. And I really got into my characters: an Indian girl from the future whose story is told in the first-person present tense; a gay hick boy from the present whose story is told in the third person past tense; and an androgynous amphibious creature from the past whose story is told in the second person future tense. They each found out they can travel through time, so they learn how and fight evil along the way, all the while having conversations about race and gender. Consistently, two of the characters set up some sort of dichotomy, either in form or content, that the third tries to deconstruct. In this way, the novel is also about a conversation between structuralism and post-structuralism.
"The thesis and the novel really synthesized the knowledge together. They were very similar projects, but in very different forms.
"I definitely recommend Honors. It's an extremely valuable experience and it allowed me to fit into one all the pieces of my Swarthmore education. Sometimes it was hard to be so independent, but it's also very rewarding and fun.
"I want to teach for a few years - I'm already certified - then get my Ph.D. in education specializing in literacies. I not only have a very theoretical grounding, but lots of practical experience from my student teaching placements. I feel very prepared to be an education professor one day, teaching undergrads and doing research. That's my goal and Honors has prepared me for that."