Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects

In the Department of Communication, we have several students in the Honors College. These students have the opportunity to compose a Capstone Experience/Thesis (CE/T) project and have it published. There are four students in the Department of Communication that deserve recognition for their work on    CE/T projects, Sarah Beach, Minh Dao, Haley Miller, and Celia Whelan. CE/T’s are a way for our students to showcase their abilities in writing and research, as well as a chance to study their areas of interest in a new, closer light.


Sarah Beach completed her CE/T project entitled “A new kind of project: Blogging and the American teen girl.” She raised a question, how has blogging changed the way girls do that [better themselves outwardly]? Sarah, read 40 blogs every day for a month to answer her research question. Sarah’s advisor is Dr. Helen Sterk.


Minh Dao has worked on her CE/T project, “A case study of internationalization at WKU.” Minh explained, “This study investigated the student levels of satisfaction and engagement with internationalization at WKU.” She surveyed 418 students (domestic and international) to obtain her data. Minh’s advisor is Dr. Jieyoung Kong.

haley miller

Haley Miller conducted a case study on the American Cancer Society (ACS) and two local Relay For Life events. Her CE/T, “Rethinking Leadership Training: Relay For Life” focused on training that volunteers received, the quality of that training, and potential differences in a Relay For Life event between a rural and a non-rural county. Relay For Life is a big part of Haley’s life, and this study has the potential to help volunteers, like herself, across the world. Haley’s advisor is Dr. Jennifer Mize Smith and Dr. Ellen Bonaguro also served as her second reader.

celia Whelan

Another CE/T project was completed by Celia Whelan. Celia has a double major in Chemistry and Communication Studies. Celia explained, “The research that I do is concerned with cisplatin – a platinum anticancer drug that is commonly used to fight ovarian, testicular, bladder, and lung cancers…The goal of my research in particular is to begin to understand these side-reactions, what products are produced, and how these side-reactions change as the drug is modified.” Although her research is not directly related to the Communication Department, Dr. Ellen Bonaguro served on her CE/T committee with her biology major background. We are very proud to work side by side other disciplines across the university.

For students who are debating the CE/T Honors Track, all of these students have some advice to share. Sarah said, “There is only one way to eat an elephant–one piece at a time. I’ve been thinking about, working on, and writing my thesis for a very long time…Do it. And then pat yourself on the back, because you did it!” Celia agreed, “Do it…It’s difficult, but it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my college career.” We are proud of the work that is coming from the
Department of Communication and look forward to more projects in the future.


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