Biochemistry Research and Honors Thesis

This week, senior Solveig writes about her excitement over being able to produce a physical proof of her two years worth of biochemistry research – an honors thesis.

By Solveig van der Vegt ’18, Biological Sciences major, Mathematics minor

One of the greatest opportunities available to students at Cornell is to do research under a faculty supervisor. For the past two years, I have worked in the Fromme Lab in the Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology, learning how to do research and getting a glimpse into what it’s like to be in graduate school. The culmination of all my work will come this semester when I write my honors thesis.

A view of the Weill Hall, where the Fromme Lab is housed, on a warm February afternoon!

An honors thesis in the Biological Sciences gives you a lot of freedom. You apply during your Junior Spring semester and are admitted during the summer. Your Junior Spring semester is also the time when you would start your research at the latest, but many students will have started in their second year or before. There are no classes you are required to take, although you do meet with your research and honors group supervisors to discuss your progress and the expectations of completing the thesis. At the end of the semester, there is a symposium where all honors thesis candidates in Biological Sciences will present their research in poster presentations.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my research over the past few years and being able to write and submit an honors thesis is the icing on the cake. Although I might not be able to publish my research before I graduate, my honors thesis will be a proper replacement for that. I look forward to having something physical to hold that represents all the work I have put in over the past two years. Research can often feel like you’re throwing your results into a void, especially if you are part of a project that will continue after you graduate. Writing and presenting an honors thesis is a great way to show that you have contributed to the general pool of knowledge in your field.