Junior Projects: Round Two | Thomas More College

Junior Projects: Round Two

by Magdalena Dajka, ’20

An exciting moment in the spring semester is fast approaching: Junior Project time. As students settle into their new schedules, many of the juniors are feverishly working on drafts of their presentations and diligently working through their arguments. The Junior Project is a unique aspect of the curriculum of Thomas More College. In his third year, every student chooses a great work and spends a semester studying it under the guidance of a faculty advisor. The student then presents his findings before a panel of three professors and spends an hour answering their questions about it. The Junior Project is an opportunity for the student to study in depth a work of his choice and to demonstrate his ability to discuss it with his professors, drawing on the background of his nearly three years of reading, studying, and discussing the Great Books at the College. 

At the end of last semester, four juniors successfully presented their Junior Projects: Mr. Patrick Kuplack; Miss Taylor Sbat; Mr. Sean Tuffy, and  Mr. Owen Zaleski. Mr. Patrick Kuplack, who chose as his project the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, describes his experience: “The Junior Project begins with near-feverish nervousness and ends—one hopes—with confidence and accomplishment. For all the nerves I experienced at my defense, I was excited and felt in command of the situation. I thoroughly enjoyed conversing with the professors, answering and asking questions, and revealing to them something they might not yet have seen in the poetry of Hopkins. The experience was fulfilling and rewarding.”

The remainder of the junior class will be presenting their projects in the coming weeks, with topics ranging from the Gospel of St. John to Shakespeare’s plays and Willa Cather’s My Antonia (a complete listing of upcoming projects appears below). Although the preparation is often nerve-wracking, the students are also energized at the prospect of sharing their work. As Miss Eva Solak says, “The Junior Project is an opportunity to study a work of one’s own choice under the direction of a professor who is truly interested and knowledgeable in it. It has been a rewarding experience to study the Gospel of John under the Dean (Mr. Thompson) himself.” 

As the juniors put the finishing touches on their projects and the rest of the college anticipates witnessing the fruits of their labors, they would no doubt welcome prayers for peace of mind and a successful completion of their months of study.

Spring 2020 Junior Projects

  • Zoe Becher, St. Bernard’s 12 Degrees of Humility and Pride

  • Declan McCardle, Plato’s Republic

  • Benjamin Davis, Plato’s Symposium

  • Pauline Ullmer, Flannery O’Connor’s Short Stories

  • Hannah Smith, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

  • Elijah Moorman, Willa Cather’s My Antonia

  • Eva Marie Solak, the Gospel of John

  • Joseph Kervick,  The Celestial Hierarchy of Pseudo-Dionysus


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