Featured Honors Student: Lauren Bennett
Lauren Bennett is a senior here at CU studying integrated physiology. She has been involved with the Honors Program since her freshman year when she lived in the Honors RAP. Since then Lauren has taken other honors classes, attended honors events, and is currently in the process of writing a general honors thesis on eating disorders in athletes, which she will be defending in March.
As a Norlin scholar, Lauren is required to present scholarly/creative work at a research conference by the end of her academic career. Presentations may include personal research in a lab, a project with a professor, or an honors thesis. Writing an honors thesis has always appealed to Lauren and this conference gives her another platform to present her work.
Lauren chose to research eating disorders in athletes as an assignment in a writing class that required her to write a paper regarding a problem in her field (medicine and health). Sports and mental health are two topics that Lauren is very passionate about and this assignment inspired her to conduct further research and turn the project into an honors thesis. Eating disorders (and all mental health issues) are a major social issue that affect many people. The cross disciplinary nature of eating disorders (sociology and medicine) has led Lauren to writing a general honors thesis (as opposed to departmental).
So far, Lauren has found the thesis writing process rewarding and a learning experience. The process of submitting proposals and going through training to conduct research has made her appreciate all the work that goes into research, even before data collection has started.
To conduct research, Lauren will be giving anonymous surveys to Division I coaches. The survey will ask the coaches what types of behaviors they have observed in their athletes (such as calorie counting, dieting, and making comparisons) as well as to what extent they believe eating disorders are a problem among athletes. Lauren is looking for a disparity between how much of a problem coaches perceive eating disorders to be and the actual statistics on eating disorders in athletes.
For students considering writing a thesis she suggests getting started early. Not necessarily on finding an advisor and committee, but on what your topic is. Pick something that you find interesting and are passionate about. Starting early gives you plenty of time to narrow your topic, make sure your GPA is where it needs to be, and take the classes that are required (remember, general honors requires a few more classes).
Good luck to Lauren as she finishes up her thesis and last year at CU!