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Finding My Thesis Mentor

By Samantha Finlay

I am currently working on my thesis project and will be defending my thesis at the end of this month. I am a philosophy major, and my thesis is on ethical considerations in tourism to Cuba. Working with my thesis mentor has been a great experience, and I am so glad that working on my honors thesis has given me the opportunity to build a relationship with an   OSU professor. However, finding a mentor was initially a daunting task. I felt too shy to reach out to professors and talk to them about the thesis project.

In my second year, I took the Thesis Stage 2: Explore & Build class and one of our assignments was to meet with a professor to ask them about the thesis. I met with a Professor Muraca who I had a class with, and it was a good experience to talk with her outside of the classroom. That assignment helped me feel more comfortable talking with professors and getting to know them.

Then, I studied abroad in Havana, Cuba, during the spring of my third year, and I decided that I wanted to write my thesis about Cuba. My major advisor suggested talking to Professor Orosco in my department who does Latin American studies and political philosophy. I reached out to him, even though I had never taken a class with him, and ended up meeting with him to talk about my ideas for my thesis. He was really helpful, and encouraged me to meet with several professors before asking one to be my mentor.

That ended up being great advice, and I set up meetings with two other professors in the philosophy department who I had had classes with before. After meeting with both of them, I had three great options for professors to work with, each of whom would steer me in a slightly different direction for my project. I ended up going back and meeting with Professor Figueroa and asking him to be my mentor. Even though I did not end up working with Professor Orosco, I am glad that I met with him because he encouraged me to talk with multiple professors before choosing one to be my mentor. Working with Professor Figueroa on my thesis has been a great experience, and I feel excited to complete and defend my thesis.

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