The thesis is the culmination of the Oakcrest liberal arts education. After entering into the intellectual conversations of the past through her reading of several different primary and secondary sources, the student forms her own idea on a subject and crafts it into a thesis. The thesis and accompanying public presentation provides the experience for Oakcrest seniors to reflect on their liberal arts education, and gives them the confidence to continue in their next heroic endeavor. With the guidance of a faculty member, students narrow a topic, and work closely with their advisers to complete research and an annotated bibliography before writing and presenting a formal thesis.

The Edwina Maksym Senior Thesis Award

The Edwina Maksym Senior Thesis Award is given to senior theses of exceptional scholarly quality. Below, watch the winners of the 2022 Edwina Maksym Senior Thesis Award give their presentations. 
Meredith K. - "Women as a Source of Grace for Men in The Merchant of Venice and Crime and Punishment"
Adair R. - "Nostalgia for Heaven and the Journey Home in My Antonia and the House of Mirth." 

2022 Senior Thesis Topics

  • Attaining Human Fulfillment: Solzhenitsyn and Wharton’s Depiction of the Paradoxical Pursuit
  • Society’s Role on the Fates of Lily and Elizabeth in The House of Mirth and Pride and Prejudice
  • Virtue as the Champion of Democracy and Humanity in American Literature
  • Gatsby and Atticus’ Pursuit of the American Dream
  • The Journey, Knowledge, and Mentorship in Relation to One’s End as Exemplified by Dante, Odysseus, Dr. Frankenstein, and The Monster
  • “Do what you will, the heart hardens and the soul shrinks in upon itself”: How Disillusionment Leads to a Loss of Morality in Crime in Punishment and A Hero of Our Time
  • “Either our hope cometh or all hopes end:” The Battle Between Hope and Despair in Beowulf and The Lord of the Rings
  • Willa Cather’s My Ántonia and the Debate on Assimilation: Preserving Immigrant Identity and Cultural Heritage to Enrich the American Nation
  • C.S Lewis’ Depiction of the Fight Between Good and Evil: God as Goodness Himself Prevails
  • The New Normal: Female Familial Relationships Affected by Mental Illness in the Modern and Postmodern Era of American Theatre
  • The Effect of Superficial and Complete Friendships on the Quality of Life in My Antonia and The Great Gatsby
  • Illuminating the True Path to Happiness: Freedom in The Scarlet Letter and The House of Mirth
  • Raskolnikov’s “Renewal, Rebirth, and New Reality” through Love in Crime and Punishment
  • Frankenstein and Brave New World: the Dangers of Technology in the Pursuit of Happiness
  • The Impact of Societal Pressures on the Heroines of The Scarlet Letter and The House of Mirth
  • Full Table, Fulfilled Soul: Food as Central to Community and a Flourishing Life in My Ántonia and Anna Karenina
  • Perverted Passion as the Distortion of Love in Anna Karenina
  • Another Paradise Lost?: Jim, Hannah, and Willy’s longing for an Agrarian Past as Central to their American Identity
  • Women as a Source of Grace for Men in The Merchant of Venice and Crime and Punishment
  • The Truth Will Set You Free: Dimmesdale and Raskolnikov’s Guilt as a Catalyst for Redemption
  • Nostalgia: Downfall or Salvation in The Great Gatsby and My Antonia
  • The Transcendence of Beauty and the Good Life: A Grasping Hand versus a Wondering Heart
  • The Parasitical Roles of Consumerism and Despair in The House of Mirth, The Great Gatsby, and My Antonia.
  • The Presence of the Four Loves of C.S. Lewis in Pride and Prejudice and The Great Gatsby
  • The Significance of Meaningful Relationships in Overcoming Addiction in The House of Mirth, Unbroken, and Fahrenheit 451
  • Intimacy and Personality: The Temperaments of Austen’s Heroines and the Impact on Their Relationships
  • The Lost Generation: Cultural Disillusionment and Societal Disintegration Following The First World War
  • Wonder as the Luminary Aspect of an Education through the Lens of Homer and Plato
  • Nostalgia for Heaven and the Journey Home in My Antonia and The House of Mirth
  • The Power of Suffering to Transform Mankind into Heroes and Saints
  • Feminine Virtue in Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice: A Canon for Timeless Heroes
  • Renewal of the Soul: Raskolnikov’s Moral and Spiritual Turn to God in Crime and Punishment
  • The Power of Imagination and its Impact on Reality through the Minds of Anne Shirley and Jay Gatsby
  • True Happiness as the Fruit of a Homeland in My Antonia and Hannah Coulter
  • Monsters of Pride: The Picture of Dorian Gray and Frankenstein
  • Society's Effects on the Quest for Truth in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and the House of Mirth