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 2021 Edwina Maksym Senior Thesis Award give their presentations. 
Annaliese A.: "Edifying or Simply Entertaining? The Power of Story to Transfer Wisdom to Humanity as Seen Through Dostoyevsky and Kreeft"
Catalina S-G.: "Being the Hero of One's Own Life: An Investigation into the Nature of Heroism in David Copperfield, Anna Karenina, and My Antonia"

2021 Senior Thesis Topics

  • Avoiding Dictatorship and Corruption: A Reflection on Lord of the Flies and Animal Farm
  • Kristin Lavransdatter's Journey from Eros to Agape
  • How Love in Childhood Leads to Success in Adulthood
  • What is True Love? The Struggle Between Agape and Eros in Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina
  • The Genius of Comic Books: Telling the Complex Story of WWII and the Holocaust 
  • Our Call to Love: The Importance of Community as Expressed Through Dante and Lewis 
  • Our Only Certainty: Understanding Death, Suffering, Mortality and the Purpose of Life in the The Iliad and Anna Karenina
  • Without Beauty, Man Will Die
  • The Suicide of Russia: Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky's Prophetic Vision
  • Charity as Divine Love: Orual's Journey from Selfishness to Selflessness 
  • The Influence of Suffering on the Human Soul: An Invitation to Participate in the Divine Nature 
  • Functionalism and Technology: In an Age of Constant Communication, Why Is It So Hard to Connect? 
  • The Tragic Effects of Interior Slavery Revealed in the Lives of Fitzgerald and Wharton's Protagonists
  • The Impact of Music on the Soul in Pride and Prejudice and The Great Gatsby 
  • The Key to a Beautiful Home: How a Person's Interiority Forms a Nourishing Home 
  • Law from a Divine Source: A Female Embodiment of Justice in Antigone and The Merchant of Venice 
  • The Secret to a Happy Life: An Analysis of Virtuous Friendships in My Antonia and The House of Mirth 
  • Personhood and Justice: The Importance of Being Color Blind 
  • The Dystopian Distortion of Human Nature 
  • Daring to Hope in the Vale of Tears: What Dostoyevksy and Solzhenitsyn Can Teach Us About Pain and Suffering 
  • How Works of Art Reveal Truth in The Picture of Dorian Gray and The House of Mirth 
  • A Wise Man Begins with Wonder: Education in Frankenstein and Hard Times 
  • The Struggle for Independence Given Societal Pressures on Women 
  • "Straight and Narrow" or "Gentle and Gradual": Encountering Spiritual Sin in The Screwtape Letters and Inferno
  • Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Pleasure: The Tragedy of the American Dream According to Fitzgerald
  • I Do: What Austen, Wharton, and Fitzgerald Reveal About a Good and Committed Marriage
  • Social Influence: The Conflict Between Conformity and Freedom
  • The Versatility of Fashion as Portrayed through the Flapper Girls of the 1920s
  • Philosophizing for Evil: The Rise of Modernism and Dostoyevksy's Chilling Prophecy
  • True Marital Love: An Analysis of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina in Light of C.S. Lewis's Four Loves
  • An Examination of the Factors Leading to Dystopia and How to Prevent the Collapse of Society
  • Medea and Lily: Victors, Not Villains
  • Isolation through Culture: Young Goodman Brown and The Picture of Dorian Gray Leave No Room for Mercy or Mistakes 
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