Honors College hosts I.C.E. Festival to showcase theses


Noora Neiroukh

Oak View Hall is home to OU’s Honors College.

From March 21-23, Oakland University’s Honors College (HC)  hosted its Innovation, Creation and Exploration (I.C.E.) Festival in the Oak View Hall main lobby to give Spring 2023 HC graduates the opportunity to present their thesis projects.

At the festival, OU students were invited to learn about the research and creative projects of HC seniors while enjoying complimentary refreshments, giveaways and activities.

I.C.E. is described as a “rebranding” of traditional HC thesis presentations. The festival was designed to be interactive and fun, where HC seniors were given an opportunity to present their research findings and HC underclassmen were able to learn more about the thesis development process.

“This event was created to be a casual space for our Honors College seniors to discuss topics they are passionate about,” Dr. Susan Lynne Beckwith, faculty fellow, said. “Students are encouraged to bring posters with key images related to their research, so visitors are able to stop and ask questions about topics that pique their interest.”

With a writing-intensive capstone project being a typical requirement for most majors, the HC is flexible in allowing students conducting research for their capstone classes to use a similar design for their HC theses. 

Abigail Austin, a senior majoring in social work, used a program development project from her social work capstone class to guide her thesis research. Austin used the framework of existing respite care programs to develop a respite program for caregivers of individuals with serious mental illnesses (SMIs).

“When discussing the topic of respite care in class, I was surprised to learn that there was no existing respite program for SMI caregivers,” Austin said. “It has been a very interesting process to develop this unique program and create unique solutions for individuals taking on the caregiver role.”

Megan Hanoush, a senior political science student, conducted survey research to examine the influence social media has on political polarization. Hanoush spent months extensively researching this topic and sending surveys out to her peers.

“For this research project — which I conducted through my political science capstone course — I had to gain over 100 responses to my survey,” Hanoush said. “It was a lot of work, but led to some interesting findings.”

Throughout the event, students were treated to a variety of complimentary snacks and drinks and invited to participate in an array of games, raffles and activities for a chance to win various prizes. Therapy dogs also made an appearance at the event to provide stressed students solace as finals week quickly approaches.

To learn more about the thesis development process, email the OU Honors College at [email protected]. Accepted HC theses can be found on the OUR@Oakland webpage.