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Capstone Theses and Projects

Spring 2014

“Dogs of War: an Evolution in Service from Battlefield Comrades to Post-War Healers”

Colleen Costanza - a  precisely researched overview of the role of dogs in war from ancient history to the 20th century, emphasizing the value and skill of dogs as both combatants in war and as companion/healers for PTSD in peacetime.

"Belly Dance: The Struggle Between Poetic Celebration, Orientalism, and Emergence of Self”

Melissa Pletscher-Nizinsky - a meticulously researched history of belly dance from various centers in the Middle East, focusing on history, anthropology, and cultural challenges to the West, interspersed with personal experience and development of self.

“Caring for the Elderly in Belize: Octavia Waight, San Ignacio, 2014”

Brenda Spinks——an introduction to the residents and American nursing students at Octavia Waight Home, combined with personal testimony, and a movie of the health care facility, its residents and American visitors.

Fall 2013

"Legacies Come With Age"

Barbara August - an investigation of the new field of geropsychology, supported by a discussion of the Senior Connection Program of Lifespan and accompanying profiles of Bob Hope, Danny Thomas, and personal acquaintances.

"Mental Health Services: The African American Experience"

Torri Cowans - based on personal and professional experience, this text examines cultural biases in both the African-American and Caucasian communities of health professionals, and, based on a public forum conducted by the writer, offers practical suggestions for increasing dialogue and reducing fears, together with a Manual of terms, list of mental health providers, and annotated bibliography.

"The Future of Academic Libraries"

Catherine Doyle - a telescopic history of libraries with a critical study of their contemporary problems and opportunities, with extensive annotated bibliography on trends in higher education, assessment of library services, design of physical space, future of the collection, as well as staffing and services.

"Time to Emerge to the Reality of our Education System"

Deborah Rosa-Pabon - an analysis of our current education system, its problems and failures as measured against the benefits of home schooling and parental involvement.


Summer 2013

“Theatre Performance Training for Secondary Educators: A Proposal”

Kelli Loucks — An overview of the specifics of New York State education programs to ascertain the availability of theatre courses for prospective teachers, coupled with a proposal for two models of undergraduate study that could integrate critical theatre courses with secondary teacher training.

“Learning, Living, and Loving Life, Diabetes Style”

Julie Ann Wilson — Having discovered how the author of this thesis lives peacefully with a chronic condition, this thesis integrates personal experience, current research, and daily blogs to offer hope to others confronted by challenging health issues.


Spring 2013

“Mindfully Artistic: Finding My Way Through an Artistic Legacy”

Stacy Sheppard —A genealogical survey of the artists in her family, supported by a creative display that integrates psychology, history, sociology, coupled with ongoing blog reflections.


Fall 2012

“Service and Repair”

Lauren Celentano — A carefully crafted collection of original poems, based on interviews with soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as research into traumatic stress syndrome.

“Tear Down this Wall: Politics, Perestroika, and Power Brokers in the Cold War”

Anthony Mitchell — An overview of the events, decisions, psychological and sociological factors leading up to the collapse of the Berlin Wall.


 Spring 2012

“Kindred Journeys: An Historical Primer Documenting the Genealogical Trail of the Blokh and Zalomek Families”

Karina I. Block — A precise and original genealogical research into two families lost in the Holocaust, complete with an overview of the principles of Judaism, the function and location of Eastern European shtetls, and the demise of selected communities in Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland.

“Viewing the Holocaust through the Lens of Otherness and the Lesbian Victims”

Deborah Blonsky — Based on family experience and academic study of the Holocaust, this thesis summarizes current knowledge about gay and lesbian victims, examines unpublished primary sources from the United States Memorial Holocaust Museum (Washington D.C.) and offers a hypothesis as to why there are few or no known lesbian survivors of the Holocaust.

Amistad y Conflicto The Inspiration of Federico Garcia Lorca and the Spanish Civil War in the Poetry and Politics of Pablo Neruda”

Andrea Farrell — A skillfully researched and comprehensive investigation—in Spanish and English—of the biography, literary career, and politics of Lorca and his influence on the public life and political activities of Neruda.

“Ordering Pizza”

Keri Griffith — Based on extensive current research of fertility issues and personal experience, this original dramatic, yet humorous, one-act play explores the dilemma of making a decision for or against in vitro fertilization.

“Worldview, Campus Climate and Diversity: A Minority Student’s Perspective”

Chiqueeta Lea — Based on local student surveys and national college campus research, this thesis analyzes the current diversity climate at Nazareth College, offers suggestions for ongoing improvement, and captures the essence of diversity in a handmade quilt for public display near the MALS resource room.

“The Ink is Black: Exploring African-American Literature, History, Music, and Art in the English Classroom”

Sarah Provenzano — An extensively researched thesis and curriculum guide that integrates history, literature, and fine arts of African-American luminaries, and argues for incorporation of this important aspect of American culture into the high school classroom.

“The Ivory Tower of Babel: A Philosophical Perspective on Foreign Language Learning”

Julie Saltrelli — Based on the theories of linguists and philosophers of language, this thesis contradicts the traditional interpretation of the biblical tower of Babel by offering a unique argument, namely, that foreign language learning actualizes human understanding, broadens the scope of human perspective, and enhances authentic human collaboration.


Fall 2011

“Music, Conscious Awareness, and Relationship: Implications for Music Education”

Anita Kurowski, SSJ — Based on cutting edge research in neuroscience and philosophy this thesis connects neurology, conscience awareness, and music to challenge current paradigms of music education that emphasize performance and to suggest new ways of engaging students in music that furthers their human potential.

Spring 2011

“Connecting Schools and the Community to Support Homeless Children and Youths”

Kathryn M Arseneau — Grounded in Abraham Maslow’s principles of human needs, this study offers an historical and statistical overview of the national problem of homelessness and suggests a creative and practical plan for the Rochester community.

“Parental Alienation: A Guide for Parents, Psychologists, and Family Court Practitioners”

Beatrice Belt — Extensive research into the arguably recent divorce phenomenon, the study focuses on psychological, behavioral, and legal issues, together with an informative brochure to raise consciousness of this growing social problem and elicit support.

“The Cunningham Family: A Memoir”

Mary Cunningham — An historical and genealogical view of the influential Cunningham family, documenting the inventors, painters, and entrepreneurs in this family, presented in both French and English by the great-great granddaughter.

“Lithuania: Out of the Mist”

Judith Brown Harris — A geographical, historical, and linguistic examination of Lithuania. Inspired by ancestral ties, this thesis focuses on the country’s diverse political and sociological past, coupled with family narratives and memories.

“Holodomor: Genocide in Ukraine”

Olga Lapczak — A thorough historical examination of Ukraine under Stalin’s program of planned starvation, as experienced by one remarkable family, together with a scholarly and persuasive argument to label this unknown crime against humanity as “genocide.”

“Full Circle: My Transformative Journey through the Adoption Process”

Mary Ann Lovelock — A memoir, with integrated medical research, of the problem of infertility plus corresponding research into the traditional adoption process in the mid-1980s and the transformative challenge of facing the adoption process in a new generation and the relinquishing of a couple’s first grandchild.


Fall 2010

“Air, Water and Sacred Earth: Constructing Interdisciplinary Narratives in Clay”

Kathleen Brien — A historical exploration of Aztec sacred clay forms: the materials used, the construction of portraiture and vessels of the ancient Aztecs, accompanied by authentic contemporary recreations by the author.

“Sixteen and Stoned: Alternative Drug Therapies for Addicted Teens”

Danielle BronsonDweller on the Threshold, an original, soon-to-be-published novella that explores the challenges and recovery of one teen in alternative drug therapy, plus an extensively researched magazine profile of current alternative drug therapies (primarily used in western U.S.).

“Connecting Pre-Algebra to Students’ Lives”

Stephanie Lair — A comparative examination of current math instruction in Finland and Rochester, New York, researched and analyzed to create a proposal and sample strategies for engaging middle school students and achieving their learning outcomes.

“Hidden Holocausts: A Graduate Level Course Exploring Lesser Known Genocides”

Kathleen McCormack — A curriculum for a graduate level course researching the history, people, and issues of selected 20th century holocausts including Armenia, Cambodia, Srebrenica, Rwanda, and Darfur.

“Jerry’s Story: The Ties that Bind”

Elaine Smith-Carrion — The struggle to discover how to relate, obtain appropriate services, and maintain dignity for a child with autism; modern research and analysis integrated into a personal account.

“Thought Consumption: How the Evolution of Writing has Strong-armed Us into the Social Media Milieu of Today”

Mimi Wright — A history of written communication, the effects of blogs and social media, complete with a running blog of the process.

Spring 2010

“Women Activists in the Civil Rights Movement”

Margaret Zanghi — A documented biographical depiction of the lives and actions of 17 women who were connected to, and supported, the grass roots movement of the Civil Rights Era.


Fall 2009

“Music as a Way of Knowing”

Grady Bailey III — Grounded in the theory of anthropologist James Clifford, “Music as a Way of Knowing” is an ethnographic study of audience reaction to his full-length vocal lecture/recital.

“Finding our Voice: The MALS and English I Journey”

Jessica Banks — An instructional literature and language skills plan for the grade 9, based on research with SpringBoard® and combined with the Seven Constructs of Effective Teaching.

“The Beast”

Jennifer Martinez — A comprehensive research study of food addition and its concomitant issues of perfectionism, body image, and relationships, based on autobiographical information and experience, and combined with strategies for survival.

“Examination and Resource Guide for the Global-English-Reading (GER) Program at Penfield High School”

Emily Williams — A comprehensive model of interdisciplinary study, grounded in the principles of the MALS program, focusing on connections between and among disciplines to engage students and decrease the drop-out rate at Penfield High School.

Spring 2009

“Interdisciplinarity and Empire”

Philip Lightweis-Goff — A philosophical examination of knowledge in the academy, the history of liberal studies, and the impact of capitalism on education, commerce, justice, and culture.

“Lost Innocence: A Look into the World of Depression”

Melissa Guffner-O’Bara — A critical examination of current research and hospital practice in the treatment of mental illness and depression.

“Lady Augustana Gregory: The Woman Who Was Ireland”

Kathleen Hansen — A detailed portrait in Four Acts of the patroness responsible for the Abbey Theatre, her promotion of Irish authors and their works, and a comprehensive overview of her successful career as a playwright.


Rebecca L. King — An encyclopedic collection of personal memoirs depicting different voices, tones, and sub-genres.

“A Comparative Study of Rochester City School District Elementary School Children’s Fitness Levels”

Anthony Peppe — An empirical study, following the outlines of the Fitnessgram Test, of 4th, 5th, and 6th graders at two different Rochester city schools: ascertaining and analyzing their muscular strength, muscular endurance, body composition, flexibility, and cardio-respiratory fitness.

“France and the United States: A Privileged Relationship?”

Jean-Claude Roux — An historical perspective of the various military, diplomatic, and cultural interactions between France and the United States from the 1770s to the conflict in Iraq.

“The One Magazine and a Brief Overview of Autism”

Norene Waloven Marlowe — A design for a first-issue magazine mock-up intended for parents and others interested in autism, based on contemporary research in the medical, mental, and emotional fields of autism knowledge and experience.

“Stories of Survival”

Jenny Weatherall — An inclusive curriculum for a college-level elective course on Autobiography, Holocaust, Refugees, and Personal Struggles, integrating primary readings, as well as supplemental material in language skills, reading guides, and writing assignments.


Spring 2008

"Self-help Tools: A Guide for Parents Struggling With a Child Suffering from Death or Loss"

Kiersten C. Curtis — An overview of the stages of the grieving process, with special attention to the needs of small children, their psychology and ability to heal.

"The Story Behind the Journey of Baby Hauber"

John A. Hauber — A welcome book for the new baby that includes family history, stories, current events, and Dad's daily journal of wonder at the gestation process.

"Toward a Theory: A Comprehensive Study of the Field of Urban Education"

Regina Hill — An overview of definitions of urban education, its relevance in today's educational market, and a summary of urban education degree programs in the United States.

"Twisting History"

Matthew P. Newman — An original science fiction novella that applies current scientific theories to past historical events to change their outcome.

"My Awesome Little Show" (MALS)

Rachel Pasternak — A recorded musical with original dialogue and new lyrics from Broadway show tunes that re-enact the process of learning in the MALS program.

"Early Language Acquisition: French Summer Camp"

Kimberly Ann Rayton — Rationale for learning French in Middle School, as well as a proposal for a summer language camp for the Webster School District

"A Search for the Heart of Yoga: Dialogue & Yogic Tradition in Modern Western Culture"

Sarah Rodgers — An historical overview of the development of various strains of yoga and a creative non-fiction essay on the author's personal growth through the discipline.

"An Examined Life"

Elizabeth Saunders — A collection of memoirs and creative non-fiction that detail significant moments of challenge and personal growth.

"Dancing Toward the Divine: a Contemplative Journey of Personal Experience & Study of Contemporary Judeo-Christian Examples"

Chuck Staropoli — A memoir of personal body/spirit development, as well as an overview of the value of ritual and body movement for spiritual development in the Judeo-Christian tradition.


Fall 2007

"My Grandfather's War" and "The Hidden Cost of the Second World War: A Companion to the Documentary on Jack Kopshina"

Zachary Cain — A movie profile of Zach's grandfather and a research paper on problems of soldiers in WWII, the struggles of readjustment, and the personal cost to one family.

"Mindfulness and its Contribution to the Quality of Life"

Yvonne Peluso — An exploration of the concept and practice of mindfulness, as well as mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and its contribution to knowledge, ethics, and good health.

"Heart of Dance"

Diane Sturmer — A video of a full-length dance performance by adults of differing abilities, choreographer's notes, and a photo journal of two years of rehearsals.

"Holocaust Art and a Search for Meaning"

Janis Thompson — A handmade book and accompanying powerpoint presentation describing the drawings on the crematorium walls, as well as an introduction to various Holocaust artists.

Spring 2007

"Finding Hope Through Imagination: Discovering New Models of God, Mary of Nazareth, and Woman Through the Process of Re-visionary Thinking"

Stacey Ayers — An investigation into women's feeling of ambivalence toward the Catholic Church because of its patriarchal stance and avenues of hope for discovering new religious symbols.

"The Mendon Ponds Gang"

Mary T. Buffardi — An original movie by and about the clients of Heritage Christian Services Day Habilitation Program, showing their art, their disabilities, and their persistent spirit.

"Inclusion of Contemporary Literature in the 9th Grade Classroom"

James T. Duffy — An analysis of current "anglo" literature and recommendations for creating a diverse literature curriculum.

"A Great Mortality of Birds"

Daniel Folts — An original book-length poem in Anglo-Saxon metre, blending ancient and contemporary issues.

"The Four Cornerstones of Sports"

Jamie Gundy — An elective course for 11th and 12th graders with four units: Sports History, Sports Spectating, Sports Nutrition, and Exercise Science.

"From Camp to Community: Creating a Transitional Society from a Refugee Population"

Mary VanKeuren — An overview of current refugee camps and a proposal for a new model that incorporates governance, geographic site, food, housing, and self-sustaining industry.

"An Overview of Assessment: What Are Standardized Testing and Authentic Assessment?"

Amerique J. Wilson — A brief history of standardized testing, its pros and cons, as well as a discussion of authentic assessment and the value of rubrics.


Fall 2006

"Lives, Imagined"

Dorothy Parker — A series of creative non-fiction essays bringing to life ancestors from the Azores who worked in the New Bedford Whaling Industry.

"Minority Student Disengagement from School: Using Systems Theory to Create Contexts for Reengagement"

Laura E. Thompson — Using family systems theory, this study examines the difficulties faced by minority students in our school systems and offers the principles of family systems theory as a motivational tool to enhance school success.

"Joy is in My Heart: Death, Grief and Ritual Through Faith"

Christina E. Uticone — A survey of the various rituals of death of the many different religious traditions of today’s society, grounded in the personal of Joleene, a much beloved cousin, and the green burial practices and ceremonies surrounding her death.

"Brom Bucs"

Gregory Wilcox — A musician’s illusionary journey through “unstuck mystic music” that includes an exploration of eastern throat singing, embedded in an original novella.

"The 'No Child Left Behind Act' of 2001: or How to Kill Public Education As We Know It"

Jennifer Wixom — An historical and comprehensive critique of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, including its connection to a political agenda, negative outcomes, and ongoing public concern.

Spring 2006

"'Othering': Working Toward a Definition"

Andrea Juan Allen — An exploration of historical and contemporary constraints that foster "othering" and a challenge to readers to discover new ways to validate our humanity.

"Red Velvet: a Journey to the Fiber of My Being"

Cynthia Andresen — In addition to a one-act play (now on film), an autobiographical timeline of memories leading up to a family rape/murder, and the subsequent healing.

"The Benefits of Second Language Instruction/Which Language Should I Study?"

Tamara Bugliosi — A gathering of current research on the value of foreign language study and a guide book for middle school students to help them select a second language.

"Human Evolution: The Migration of a Species"

Joseph M. Chipre — A compilation of the latest anthropological and genetic research in blood DNA that confirms all of us are descended from one family tribe in Africa.

"Leaving a Legacy: Things I Want My Son to Know"

Amanda Eichas — A family album of pictures, stories, as well as contemporary cultural and social information on community, country, and our future created as a gift for her about-to-be-born son, Nicholas.

"Journey to Healing: One Suicide Survivor's Story"

Theresa Jo Grzybek — A personal encounter with her brother's suicide, the steps to healing, and an annotated bibliography of resources; accompanied by a children's story/workbook to assist young children in understanding and coping with a family suicide.

"My Boat Runs For Passengers"

Patricia A. Johns — A compilation of facts, stories, data about the underground railroad in Wayne County, with special emphasis on Pultneyville.

"A Look at the Violence Prevention Programs at Joseph C. Wilson Magnet High School: Are They Working?"

Audrey J. Korokeyi — An historical overview of various programs in use at the high school as well as statistics evaluating their impact, plus a booklet for students identifying characteristics of bullying and sexual harassment.

"Choices: The Knowledge to Vote"

Daniel R. Lloyd — An interactive web site for students detailing the history of voting and the development of political parties from George Washington to the present—with suggested lesson plans based on NYS Standards.

"Multiple Intelligences and Mathematics Instruction"

Pamela Lowe — Discussion of Gardner's multiple intelligences, their impact on student learning, and a geometry unit employing strategies to appeal to various learning styles.

"Writing Workshop: The Birth of a Writer's Identity"

Aria McKusick-Yetter — A personal narrative of the author's writing habits, combined with a scholarly overview of current best practices that can be incorporated into a classroom.

"Professional Internship Program Infrastructure Redesign and Implementation"

Antonia Messineo — Analysis and suggested redesign of the Nazareth College internship program, including electronic Student Guidelines and 27 documents that provide coherence and professionalism to the program.

"Roots of Albanian Culture"

Mamie Savage — A narrated film and a commemorative book detailing Mamie's research trip to Albania, its sacred texts, its art, and its culture.

"Stars to Freedom: An American Feminist Quilt"

Diane Shirley — An original quilt celebrating twelve women who contributed to our freedom, as well as a scholarly history of quilting, including its use in the underground railroad, and brief interpretive biographies of each of the twelve women.

"Genocide in Bosnia: A Historical View of the Attempted Extermination of the Bosnian Muslim Population"

Keith Van Ornum — An interactive web site for students detailing the history of Bosnia, as well as a detailed history for teachers of the country, its people, and its problems.


Fall 2005

"Animal Cruelty and Domestic Violence: Overview and Resources for the Social Professional"

Nicole Burke — An extensive examination of the horrors and interconnection of domestic violence, cruelty to animals, and maltreatment of children. Focusing on a sociological and physiological link among the three, this study offers an extensive list of state and national resources, help organizations, and avenues for further education.

"Female Genital Mutilation: The Power of Cultural Tradition"

Mary C. Weeks — A physiological, cultural, ritual and historical overview of female circumcision, that has been exposed by the media and concerned groups in the last decade. This study examines not only medical issues and social concerns surrounding female circumcision, but also its current ritual status, symbolic meaning, and cultural status in African and Middle Eastern countries.

Spring 2005

"It's More than Just a Game"

Eric Amorese — An analytical defense of the complementarity between athletics and academic success, based on, but going beyond, the academic research on this topic over the last few decades.

"Motherhood: Questions, Answers & Inspiration"

Rebecca Avery — In the wake of the popular, but outdated, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, this compendium of information and encouragement is a modern guide for young mothers that analyzes new medical techniques and information.


Jack Crozier — With the contemporary focus on reconciliatory justice internationally, this comprehensive view of forgiveness focuses on personal health and includes an original workshop project developed to assist adults toward forgiveness of hurts to others and to one's self.

"Pearls of Wisdom"

Julie Bazan D'Angelo — A multidisciplinary approach to elderly wisdom figures that includes extensive interviews, photographs, and documentation on aging.

"Glacier Project: A Guide to Mendon Ponds Park"

Shannon Harder — A teacher's handbook and student materials for grade 4 science, geography, physical education, or social studies teachers outlining the history, geographical features, ecological importance, and beauty of Mendon Ponds Park, including a PowerPoint virtual tour of the park.


Renee D. Long — A researched and documented comprehensive after-school program designed specifically for girls in grades 5-12 intended to encourage development of skills and confidence to help them achieve their true potential throughout elementary school and to prepare them for the challenges of high school and thereafter.

"Character Education"

Nicole Moracco — A thorough examination of character education in public school—its history, variations, and effect, as well as recommendations for area school districts.

"A.I.D.: Assisting International Diversity"

Karl Nielsen — An interactive and fully functional website containing descriptions of the 5 major religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. Inspired by religiously connected charitable organizations and their donations, this capstone includes an evaluation of known religious charities by examining their primary tenets and taboos.

"In the Garden of the Red and the Blue: The Birth of America's Dominant Political Parties 1829-1860"

David E. Rohr — An historical and interpretive study of our current two-party political system that explores and compares the formative years of each party as a political movement and as a system.

"Memoir: A Father and Daughter"

Casey Schmidt — An extensive autobiographical memoir (essays, poems, songs) of the relationship between a father and daughter during the dramatic experience of a man suffering from, and ultimately losing his life to, Lou Gehrig’s disease.


Fall 2004

"Essence of Humanity"

Michael Ahern — An carefully documented refutation of Jean-Paul Satre's existentialist philosophy, based primarily on the writing of Victor Frankel's Man's Search for Meaning.

"Education and Diversity: Focusing on the Hispanic Minority"

Cecilia Marquez — A sociological and demographic analytical study of Cuban and Puerto Rican students at East High School in Rochester that determines what factor(s) contributes to academic success and offers a all-encompassing plan to reach that success.


Todd Lilly — An original musical based on the short story “Les Jeux Sont Faits” by Jean-Paul Satre—Music and Lyrics by James L. Thomas; Book and screenplay by Todd Lilly; performed to a full house at West Irondequoit H.S on August 12, 2005.

"Bridges: A Parenting Guide"

Lucia Kiley Moya — A curriculum plan, health guide, and developmental composition program for Bantu refugee parents incorporating nutrition, health care, safety, education, and social skills to acquaint Bantu families with American society and progress.

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