Artsy Senior Profiles
A senior’s thesis is the period at the end of his or her sentence at Whitman College.
Here are three outgoing seniors: summaries of their thesis work, their post-graduate plans and what they’re going to miss most about being a Whittie.
Ethan Maier, Music/Biology
“Musically, my thesis was embodied in my senior recital. I composed … a set of seven pieces, which are reflections of my musical development up to this point. To guide the compositional process for each piece, I chose one musical influence and used that influence to guide the stylistic way I’d write a piece. I’m actually going to finish my [biology] thesis in the fall … The research I was doing in biology was really exciting because it’s never been done before. It’s kind of strange when you first hear it, but what I’m doing is I’m measuring the sexual fitness of male bees, and how their food intake affects their sexual fitness. I’m basically doing sperm counts on male bees … What I have to do is raise the male bees in a certain way, and mate each male with a female, and then I extract the sperm from the female. I became a double major so I wouldn’t have to decide … Right now, music is forefront in my life, but this summer, I’ll be doing a lot of biology stuff. However, I could easily see myself doing both at the same time … One of my post-graduate dreams is to finish out my thesis next fall, spend a lot of time working to earn money, and then go down to Latin America and try to find a beekeeper in South or Latin America and learn Spanish. I love bees. They’re beautiful. They’re so wonderful and they produce such a delectable elixir … I wouldn’t mind becoming a beekeeper. The biggest thing I’d miss [about Whitman] is actually having a community that will read or listen to my academic, intellectual ideas and thoughts … just people who are actively searching out knowledge alongside me and who are willing to share that with me.”
William Newman-Wise, Art
“I worked in ceramics, sculpture and video for my thesis. I included three sculptures and three videos. The work looks at lingering desire and intuitive play. I was inspired by materials, queer history and weightlessness. Flighty lines stretch across and compress inflated materials. Constraint infects the work. Cheap, plastic and fragile materials swell into one another. I worked closely with a few professors whom I trust and respect to develop ideas and curate my thesis. I am attending a residency at the Contemporary Artists Center in Troy, N.Y. this summer. I’ll work on more immersive sculpture/video projects. After that I’m moving to Philadelphia. A few years down [the road] I might apply to MFA programs. I’ll miss the art facilities and professors with whom I’ve worked closely. Also, Ming Court!”
Jeremy Howell, Theatre
“The inspiration for my senior project came from a need to come to terms with the struggle inherent to continually portraying an elderly character in theatrical productions … Introspectively, I wanted to understand the boundaries of my abilities as an actor and explore my appeal as a candidate for numerous elderly characters. Essentially, I did not fully understand why I was particularly skilled at understanding the psychology and physicality of someone decades apart from my age. Furthermore, the idiosyncrasies involved in a relationship between two people of differing ages fascinates me. The largest source of inspiration came from my love of old British stage actors in classic films such as ‘The Scarlet Pimpernel.’ My plans following graduation involve a relocation to Brooklyn to pursue the creation of ensemble-driven theatre that offers accessibility to any specific audience. I will be hard pressed to recreate Whitman’s ability to foster the organization of events and people. The design and layout of the Whitman experience offers a unique opportunity to rally fellow peers behind a cause, whether it is a theatrical event, a sport, social gathering or even a simple idea taken seriously. Ultimately, I will miss the sense of community and the ability to have an identity and a voice.”