Eight students nominated for Oakes and Louise Ames Prize for outstanding honors study

Delaney Vartanian '13 created several art pieces exploring the material culture of the domestic sphere to inform her senior thesis,
Delaney Vartanian '13 created several art pieces exploring the material culture of the domestic sphere to inform her senior thesis, "Home// A Site of Exploration." Vartanian is one of eight students nominated for the Oakes and Louise Ames Prize for outstanding honors thesis. (Homepage thumbnail: Ames Prize nominee Sonya Rao, left, with her thesis adviser, Professor Anthony Graesch.)

Update: Douglas Gregory Bernstein was awarded the Oakes and Louise Ames Prize at Connecticut College's 95th Commencement on Sunday, May 19. For more on Commencement, see the news story and storify page.

One student examines the growth and development of the financial sector in Ecuador, while another uses ceramics, woodworking and embroidery art to explore the domestic sphere of the home. In their senior honors theses, the eight students nominated for Connecticut College’s Oakes and Louise Ames Prize tackle everything from contemporary ethnomusicology to fundamental problems in computer vision to the contested nature of spiritual and political authority among Tibetan Buddhists.

Named for a president emeritus of the College and his wife, the Oakes and Louise Ames Prize is given to a graduating senior who has completed the year's most outstanding honors study. The prize is offered by the trustees in recognition of the quality of academic achievement that Oakes and Louise Ames fostered during their 14 years of service to Connecticut College.

“The honors thesis is the crowning achievement of a student’s undergraduate education, and these eight nominees have produced original research that will further their fields of study,” said Dean of the Faculty Roger Brooks. “To be nominated for the Oakes and Louise Ames Prize is a tremendous honor and fitting recognition for these students.”

Previous winners of the prize, which was first awarded in 1988, include Rick Canavan '93, a senior environmental scientist at CME Associates; John Symons ’94, department chair and professor of philosophy at the University of Kansas; Liz Eckert ’99, a professional actress and speech and voice coach for actors; and Miles Green ’09, a 2012 Fulbright Fellowship winner. 

The winner of the Oakes and Louis Ames Prize will be announced during Commencement on Sunday. The winning student will be invited on stage to accept the award from Brooks.

The nominees are:

Douglas Gregory Bernstein, a religious studies major, for “Tearing the Yellow Hat in Two: Conflict and Controversy in the Evolution of Gelugpa Buddhist Authority in Tibet,” advised by Professor Lindsey Harlan in the Department of Religious Studies. - Winner

Rachel Pritzlaff, a dance and gender and women’s studies double major, for “Not a Body but a Building: Area Under Construction,” advised by Professor Lisa Race in the Department of Dance.

Delaney Vartanian, an art and anthropology double major, for “Home// A Site of Exploration,” advised by Professor Denise Pelletier in the Department of Art.

Alison Elizabeth Reilly Thompson, an architectural studies major and art minor, for “Domesticating Materials and Construction: American Prefabricated Homes, 1900-1960,” advised by Professor Emily Morash in the Department of Architectural Studies.

Jamil Jorge, a music major, for “My Corps, Our Regiment: Experiencing Identity in the American Drum & Bugle Corps,” advised by Professor James Dale Wilson in the Department of Music.

Sarah Lynn Flecke, an economics and international relations major, for “Tackling Overindebtedness through Financial Education in Ecuador,” advised by Professor Maria Cruz-Saco in the Department of Economics.

Sonya Rao, a self-designed post-colonial linguistic anthropology major and sociology minor, for “Halq'eméylem Language Revitalization: Tracing Ideologies in Hybridity,” advised by Professor Anthony Graesch in the Department of Anthropology.

Bo Xiong, a computer science and mathematics double major, for “Indoor Scene Understanding,” advised by Professor Ozgur Ismirli in the Department of Computer Science.

May 16, 2013