“They came in droves,” said Bridget Fullerton. “Maybe it’s the spicy Cheetos and chill beats; maybe it’s breaking through COVID solitude. Whatever it is, I’m happy to see students writing together.”

Don't forget to stretch for senior thesis — and finals!

Ashley Koman '22 of Burlington, Mass., a double major in history and sociology, demonstrates the art of stretching during this morning's Early Bird Thesis Cafe in Ladd Library's Writing and Language Center.

The cafe provided an opportunity to study in the company of other thesis writers, or "to enjoy warm tea or coffee and a pastry...or Flamin' Hot Cheetos," according to Bridget Fulletron, lecturer in humanities and acting director of writing, who organized the event, part of a series of senior thesis cafes that were held throughout the semester. The last one, the Afternoon Pickup Cafe, is today from 4 to 6 p.m.

"Thesis writing is such an intellectual process. We spend so much time in our brains," Fullerton said. "We forget we have bodies."

Identifications: 

Oliver Barrera (in orange shirt), Latin American studies and politics, double major. Studying with Margaret Flynn, a politics major;

Ashley Koman, a double major in history and sociology, studying under Steven Pinker poster;

Writing tutor and fellow Martha Coleman ’23, a French and American studies double major, is “working on email and other work for Gateway Community Services Maine, a local non-profit (in plaid shirt);

Isabel Fenton ’23, sitting and talking with Bridget Fullerton, is a politics major, from Silver Spring, Md., in white sweater

Ben Schmandt ’22 (in black hoodie), an ARC tutor in chemistry and biology;

Christina Wang ’22 of Woodcliff, N.J., is a double major in English and Politics, is wearing a black hat and on her heavily labeled laptop;

Chloe Lo Faro ’22, is an environmental studies major who is showing her poster to her friends Milly Detels ’22, a math and physics major in garnet mask, and Saskia Wong-Smith ’22 a double major in psychology and Chinese.
Isabel Fenton ’23, left, a politics major, sits and talks with Bridget Fullerton, right, while a feast of treats is spread across the table. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Fullerton, a lecturer in humanities and acting director of Writing@Bates, oversees Thesis Cafe, a hangout space in the Writing & Language Center where seniors can work on their theses in community while getting expert help from writing tutors and professional staff.

A program located in the Academic Resource Commons in Ladd Library, the cafe has a pop-up vibe, getting going just as thesis activity and anxiety starts to spike each semester.

On a recent December afternoon, the offerings at Thesis Cafe included everything from individually wrapped pastries and candies to spicy Cheetos, plus hot drinks, all supplied by Dining Services.

Christina Wang ’22 of Woodcliff Lake, N.J., typed away on her thesis: an analysis of online sex work through the lens of three different political philosophies: libertarianism, feminism, and Marxism. It’s been a challenge because there is so little literature available on the topic, she said. 

Don't forget to stretch for senior thesis — and finals!

Ashley Koman '22 of Burlington, Mass., a double major in history and sociology, demonstrates the art of stretching during this morning's Early Bird Thesis Cafe in Ladd Library's Writing and Language Center.

The cafe provided an opportunity to study in the company of other thesis writers, or "to enjoy warm tea or coffee and a pastry...or Flamin' Hot Cheetos," according to Bridget Fulletron, lecturer in humanities and acting director of writing, who organized the event, part of a series of senior thesis cafes that were held throughout the semester. The last one, the Afternoon Pickup Cafe, is today from 4 to 6 p.m.

"Thesis writing is such an intellectual process. We spend so much time in our brains," Fullerton said. "We forget we have bodies."

Identifications: 

Oliver Barrera (in orange shirt), Latin American studies and politics, double major. Studying with Margaret Flynn, a politics major;

Ashley Koman, a double major in history and sociology, studying under Steven Pinker poster;

Writing tutor and fellow Martha Coleman ’23, a French and American studies double major, is “working on email and other work for Gateway Community Services Maine, a local non-profit (in plaid shirt);

Isabel Fenton ’23, sitting and talking with Bridget Fullerton, is a politics major, from Silver Spring, Md., in white sweater

Ben Schmandt ’22 (in black hoodie), an ARC tutor in chemistry and biology;

Christina Wang ’22 of Woodcliff, N.J., is a double major in English and Politics, is wearing a black hat and on her heavily labeled laptop;

Chloe Lo Faro ’22, is an environmental studies major who is showing her poster to her friends Milly Detels ’22, a math and physics major in garnet mask, and Saskia Wong-Smith ’22 a double major in psychology and Chinese.
Christina Wang ’22, a double major in English and Politics, works on her senior thesis: a political analysis of online sex work. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

“My friends have been really thoughtful, sending me articles, and videos and documentaries about it,” Wang said. “I’ve talked with professors in the politics department, and they’ll give me advice about different readings to do, and different types of writing.”

“It’s definitely been a ‘takes a village’ type effort,” Wang laughed. 

Wang appreciates the Thesis Cafe because of the environment it provides, allowing her to work in a shared space where she can talk and share ideas with others.

Don't forget to stretch for senior thesis — and finals!

Ashley Koman '22 of Burlington, Mass., a double major in history and sociology, demonstrates the art of stretching during this morning's Early Bird Thesis Cafe in Ladd Library's Writing and Language Center.

The cafe provided an opportunity to study in the company of other thesis writers, or "to enjoy warm tea or coffee and a pastry...or Flamin' Hot Cheetos," according to Bridget Fulletron, lecturer in humanities and acting director of writing, who organized the event, part of a series of senior thesis cafes that were held throughout the semester. The last one, the Afternoon Pickup Cafe, is today from 4 to 6 p.m.

"Thesis writing is such an intellectual process. We spend so much time in our brains," Fullerton said. "We forget we have bodies."

Identifications: 

Oliver Barrera (in orange shirt), Latin American studies and politics, double major. Studying with Margaret Flynn, a politics major;

Ashley Koman, a double major in history and sociology, studying under Steven Pinker poster;

Writing tutor and fellow Martha Coleman ’23, a French and American studies double major, is “working on email and other work for Gateway Community Services Maine, a local non-profit (in plaid shirt);

Isabel Fenton ’23, sitting and talking with Bridget Fullerton, is a politics major, from Silver Spring, Md., in white sweater

Ben Schmandt ’22 (in black hoodie), an ARC tutor in chemistry and biology;

Christina Wang ’22 of Woodcliff, N.J., is a double major in English and Politics, is wearing a black hat and on her heavily labeled laptop;

Chloe Lo Faro ’22, is an environmental studies major who is showing her poster to her friends Milly Detels ’22, a math and physics major in garnet mask, and Saskia Wong-Smith ’22 a double major in psychology and Chinese.
Chloe Lo Faro ’22, left, an environmental studies major, is showing her poster to her friends Milly Detels ’22, middle, a math and physics major, and Saskia Wong-Smith ’22, a double major in psychology and Chinese. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Another student, Martha Coleman ’23 of Seattle, arrived early for her shift as a writing tutor at the ARC. While she waited, she used the studious atmosphere to do work for her job as an intern at Gateway Community Services in Portland and Lewiston. 

It isn’t just about studying, scholarship, and snacks at the Thesis Cafe. Fullerton makes sure to acknowledge whoever comes in, and offer periodic “breaks” from sitting and typing, by leading stretches, breathing exercises, or just providing something different to look at.

Ben Schmandt ’22, right, an ARC tutor in biology and chemistry, stretches in his seat while Martha Coleman ’23, left, a French and American studies double major, watches. “Thesis writing is such an intellectual process,” said Bridget Fullerton. “We spend so much time in our brains, we forget we have bodies.” (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

“Otherwise, the space is theirs to write and not feel so alone in their struggles and stresses, which I know they all feel from time to time in the thesis process.” Fullerton said.

“We also celebrate what they accomplish and I try to ask them when they leave, ‘What’s one thing you feel good about doing today?’ or ‘What’s next?’ That keeps it positive and reminds them that a thesis is a journey, not a destination.”

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