Honors Research Symposium

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The Seattle Pacific University Honors Research Symposium is the final graduation outcome for the SPU Bachelor’s degree in Honors Liberal Arts. As part of the newly revamped SPU honors curriculum, the symposium is a new public presentation of the University Scholars’ honors research project work in the context of key liberal arts questions. The students themselves have created the interdisciplinary panels below based on the central questions of their honors research, locating the significance of their individual disciplinary findings in the larger questions of how knowledge is created, by whom, and for what larger purposes, both immanent and transcendent.

Advocating for the Reclamation of Self

Where does authority come from? Who decides what is valuable? How do we know what is true? Often, singular perspectives dictate regimes of knowledge and value, deciding what is considered authoritative, authentic, and reliable.

This panel will investigate alternative perspectives to commonly accepted epistemologies through three unique disciplines: law, fashion, and history.

Emily Barker

Apparel Design, Costume Design and Production, and Honors

Elizabeth Thompson

History, Classics, and Honors

K’reisa Cox

Business Administration and Honors

The Common Good: Explorations For a Better Society

A perfect society must have a strong foundation of virtues and economic prosperity. This session will investigate how to make a sustainably virtuous, prosperous, and healthy society by questioning the stability of modern conceptions of moral systems, perfection, and economic creativity.

John Goodhew

Classics and Honors

Natasha Koval

Economics and Honors

Eryn Tan

English and Honors

In Other Words

Storytelling impacts reality far beyond the land of children’s story time and the university English department. Examples from literature, film, history, and personal experience show how storytelling can control or liberate both its subject and its audience. This panel explores how authority determines which knowledge is valuable, and examines the impact that personal choice has on empowered, wholistic living.

Olivia Heale

Global Development Studies and Honors

Jennifer Kirchner

Theatre and Honors

Gabriel Blank

Film Studies and Honors

The Role of Responsibility in Science, Politics, and Education

This session argues that being human is not defined by one person alone but instead is shaped by the power inherent in the collective, especially in shared disciplinary knowledge. Therefore, the responsibilities, implications, and potential ramifications of research findings must be taken into account in either a school classroom, lab, or the political arena.

Suzanne Stafford

Biochemistry and Honors

Sarah Owen

Education, Integrated Studies, and Honors

Chea-Mun Tan

Political Science, Economics, and Honors

Truth As Praxis

Truth is rarely objective. In this session, panelists explore different processes of defining and disseminating truth. In both the sciences and the humanities, the moment we as humans begin interpreting meaning, whether in the context of data or narrative, the lens through which we view the world informs our understanding of truth. This occurs at the analysis level, as well as at the level of publication, and has real effects on people’s lives.

Truth as we know it also rests within regimes of knowledge and power. However, we all wield the power of resistance and the responsibility to take a closer look at what we collectively decide to call Truth. 

Tristan Wine

Biochemistry and Honors

Victor Hanson

Biochemistry, Chemistry, and Honors

Alex Moore

Social Justice/Cultural Studies, Sociology, and Honors

Issues of Power and Responsibility in Society and Culture

This session will investigate issues relating to the responsible use of power in human culture. We argue that being human is not defined by one person alone but instead is shaped by the power inherent in the collection of people who influence the way we live and perceive through visual messaging, formal institutions, and dominant cultural trends.

Janessa Akemi Fong

Psychology, Asian Studies, and Honors

Menolly Hollabaugh

Criminal Justice and Honors

Emma Brenchley

Visual Communication and Honors

The Importance of a Stewardship Mindset in STEM

Pursuing a career in STEM does not release us from our calling as stewards of creation. In fact, it provides us with tools for understanding the depths of that calling. Specifically, that excess in any aspect of life leads to degradation. This session will analyze how assuming responsibility as stewards on the disciplinary level contributes to society as a whole — in relation to our bodies, resources, and the environment.

Carl Cederborg

Computer Science and Honors

Ryan Hodge

Economics and Honors

Joshua Padilla

Chemistry and Honors

Considering Research as Ethical and Inclusive Storytelling

Regardless of discipline, every scholar takes on the role of a storyteller, choosing who and what is included or excluded. Research is not and cannot be a simple pursuit of “objective” understanding — it must be an earnest engagement with the scope of an issue that offers constructive contributions to creating a more just world.

In this panel, each researcher sincerely considers how the story they tell inspires meaningful cultural transformation through sociological, historical, and biological inquiry.

Amy Castle

Biology and Honors

Hannah Hutchinson

Ecology and Honors

Emma Friesen

Sociology, Social Justice/Cultural Studies, and Honors

Re-Thinking Objectivity

This panel will interrogate the claim of objectivity in knowledge acquisition — particularly in science-related fields.

We, who are incapable of seeing the world without bias, construct and uphold systems that ascribe ultimate authority to objective inquiry.

What, then, do we sacrifice when we put our faith in objectivity?

Andrew Josselyn

Mechanical Engineering, General Engineering, and Honors

Hannah Roosendaal

Physics and Honors