Five Newbury Honors Students Present Final Projects

May 12, 2017 – On Thursday April 27th, five Newbury honors students presented their final projects for the Honors Program. After researching and finalizing their projects over the past year or more, these students presented their findings to an audience of their peers, Newbury faculty and staff.

Congratulations to Al Vanaria ’17, Julia Leggett ’18, Janelle Hales ’18, Joshua Thorne ’18 and Jim McGrorry ’18.

Students in the Honors Program take a variety of interdisciplinary seminars that discuss a wide range of topics and incorporate off-campus trips to explore the Boston area. Honors students have visited the Museum of Fine Arts, Dreams of Freedom Museum, walked the Freedom Trail, toured the Boston Public Library and saw a film at the Brattle Theater. In their fourth semester of the Honors Program, students develop a final Honors Project.

According to Dr. Aaron Tillman, Director of the Honors Program, “As they develop their projects, Honors students reach out to industry leaders, make connections that they would not have otherwise made, and put their original ideas and leadership skills on display. Their projects are original, powerful, and meaningful, and they not only illustrate their talents and abilities, but they elevate the cultural and intellectual climate of the campus as a whole. Our students and these projects inspire. I love being a part of the Honors Program because I learn so much and witness first hand so many transformational moments in our students’ lives.”

This year’s presentations included analyses of businesses in terms of management or sustainability, an exploration of sexual assault efforts on college campuses, a discussion of successful expressive therapies, and a documentary film screened for the first time for the College. Tillman said, “This year, our current group of Honors students showed…impressive range, and effectively stretched the scope of the project requirement by initiating and contributing to activities and events, nearly all within their fields of study.”

Below find brief descriptions of this year’s honors presentations.

Al Vanaria, Hotel Administration

The Impact that the Concepts of Management and Leadership Have on the Restaurant Industry

Through a combination of interviews with professionals, personal experiences and secondary research, Vanaria explored the ways management style influences the success of restaurants. He looked at issues these businesses face, such as turnover rate, low compensation, training costs and low morale, and discussed how a participatory style of management can help overcome them. Vanaria emphasized that creating an open line of communication, listening to and empowering your team, and providing adequate training and incentives are positive management techniques that can benefit the business overall.

Julia Leggett, Psychology

Art, Music and Dance/Movement: Moving Beyond Traditional Talk Therapy

Leggett discussed the importance of expressive therapies, focusing on only three types (art, music, dance/movement). She explained how these therapies are often met with skepticism because they are not as well-known as talk therapy; however, they have shown success, especially with clients with Alzheimer’s or disabilities. Leggett emphasized that expressive therapies can be utilized with all ages and regardless of whether clients typically communicate in verbal or nonverbal ways. Part of Leggett’s research included implementing an art therapy program on campus as Newbury--students drew containers with their “stress” pouring out. She concluded that this small sample was more relaxed after the program. Leggett’s goal is to help expressive therapies become more well-known and utilized.

Janelle Hales, Graphic Design

A Campus Crisis: Exploration of Sexual Assault and Violence on College Campuses

Hales' research looked at how campus sexual assault cases have been handled, what Newbury and other institutions are doing to combat sexual assault, and the ways to improve these efforts. She discovered that many colleges and universities do not deal with cases in an equitable way and that a majority of sexual assaults on campus go unreported. While institutions, like Newbury, are taking a stand against sexual assault by educating and advocating on campus, Hales concludes that not enough is being done. She notes that education, activism and intervention are the most important elements in the fight against sexual assault. Her suggestions include: educating about sexual assault and consent before entering college, incorporating this education into college curriculums, providing optional training such as self-defense classes, and being more transparent and candid about where to seek help and how to report assaults.

Joshua Thorne, International Business

Businesses, Consumers and Sustainability

Thorne presented his research on climate change and the impact businesses and consumers have on the environment. He explained that there is no clear-cut answer on how to deal with climate change. While the business industry is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions, Thorne explored companies like STOKE Certified and Patagonia that are leading the way in creating environmentally-conscious, sustainable businesses. He also urged consumers to be informed about the products they buy and to take action in community clean-ups, fundraisers, etc. Pollution, garbage patches in the oceans, the rising of the global temperature, etc. are very real threats and Thorne argues that businesses, consumers and the government need to take action.

Jim McGrorry, Communications

Asbury Park – A Story of Hope

McGrorry took a creative approach to his honors project, creating a documentary about the history of Asbury Park, N.J. His film covers the hopeful origins, the riots and destruction of the city, and the recovery and promise for the future. After its founding, Asbury Park quickly became an oceanside travel destination, rich with music and entertainment. However, racial tension rose in the 1970s when jobs were given to white teens and the west side was neglected. Riots, shootings, and fires ensued, destroying Asbury Park of its former glory and giving it a dangerous reputation. McGrorry’s film explains that for about two decades the city was a “ghost town.” It wasn’t until recently that the city began to recover—new companies came in and the effects snowballed. The film showcases how Asbury Park is going through this positive shift, but change is slow. In the end, Asbury Park is called “A Story of Hope” for its inspirational recovery after a time of destruction and neglect.

Find more information about the Newbury College Honors Program here.


About Newbury: Newbury College is a private, independent college located just minutes from Boston in the Fisher Hill neighborhood of Brookline, Massachusetts. Founded in 1962, Newbury College offers bachelor and associate degree programs in over 20 career-focused majors. Committed to personalized and experience-based teaching, Newbury inspires students to become independent thinkers, valuable collaborators, and global-minded citizens.

Contact: Sarah Johansson, Communications Coordinator

Five Newbury honors students presented their final Honors Projects to an audience of their peers, Newbury faculty and staff.