CFA Honor Thesis Student: Rachel Luebbert
We are pleased to introduce to you Rachel Luebbert, a College of Fine Arts student who is currently completing a thesis on her project “New Year,” which incorporates movement and text to articulate memories and stories of growing up from the perspectives of eight women. The culmination of the Honors Bachelors degree, the Honors Thesis is a significant undergraduate research project completed under the supervision of a faculty member approved by the Honors Faculty Advisor in the student’s major. Its purpose is to advance knowledge and understanding within the context of a research university and to further develop the student’s intellectual, professional and personal growth as a member of the Honors College. Thesis projects may take different forms in different majors but always demonstrate research expertise in the major field, a command of relevant scholarship and an effort to contribute to that scholarship.
Please explain your thesis research project, including the impact you hope it has.
Throughout the fall, I choreographed and produced a show entitled “New Year” which centered on using movement and text to articulate memories and stories of growing up from the perspectives of eight women. I explored how coming of age narratives can be used to create a space of individual and collective reflection and empowerment. Beginning January, I started to translate this project into a written thesis built on literary comparisons, interviews, academic research, and creative reflections. I hope that this project provides insight on the power of telling stories-the act of reflecting can provide healing, acknowledgement and empowerment.
Please tell us how your relationship with your faculty advisor has impacted your education/research?
Ellen Bromberg has been an incredible mentor throughout this process. As the director of the Screen Dance program, Bromberg has the distinct capacity to identify the narrative that a work of dance is constructing. Her academic, theoretical voice paired with her creative experience has been a guiding force in this project to help me create a thesis that is both creative and academic in nature. Though her insightful feedback and dialogue, I have been challenged to articulate my research in unique ways and to dissect what movement and words are saying to an audience.
What are some of the lessons you’ve learned throughout your experience as an Honors student?
As an Honors student, I have learned the importance of being interdisciplinary; uncommon collaborations and unique fusions have the potential to spark exciting innovation. In classes surrounding philosophy or global climate change, I have been challenged to work with students of all different disciplines to come to new ideas. Artists have an integral voice in these settings. I have learned that ideas can be dangerous simply because they are new and push the boundaries of change. This then requires critical evaluation, but also, a deep sense of courage to pursue new ideas. Lastly, I have learned that conversations are imperative to our society. When we articulate, listen, and discuss together, we speak into being new potentials for our society.