Bachelor of Science in Human Science Honors Program

A Human Science Honors student presents her research at the Undergraduate Research Conference


The honors program in human science recognizes those students pursuing a high level of independent discovery research (laboratory, archival, community, epidemiological) during their undergraduate years, culminating in a senior undergraduate thesis as they complete their Human Science major course of study.

The purpose of this program is to permit students of high academic achievement to enjoy greater responsibility and initiative in their major work. The honors program in Human Science requires a significant mentored research experience in a topic of the student’s choosing.

Graduating with Honors in Human Science requires completion of the Human Science curriculum with the addition of a senior thesis. Students who complete an acceptable Honors Thesis and all other requirements for the Human Science major will graduate with a B.S in Human Science with Honors.

Eligibility for Human Science Honors

Full-time human science students with at least a 3.0 science GPA may apply anytime after the end of their first year, but before the posted deadline.

How to Apply

Application Requirements

Prior to completing an application, the student should identify a thesis mentor. If a student chooses to work with someone other than one of the Human Science faculty mentors, then the student must confirm a Human Science faculty member who will serve as the co-mentor for the thesis.

The application from the student to the Human Science Faculty will include:

  1. A completed application page, indicating support by thesis mentor(s). If the primary mentor is outside of the department, a letter demonstrating support of the work is recommended.
  2. A description of the idea and methods of the proposed thesis work.
  3. A proposed curriculum plan including Independent Research (HSCI-3940) for at least one term (minimum of 3 credits, but not to exceed 9 credits) pertaining to their thesis project prior to their senior year and the final Honors Thesis class.

The proposal should include an extensive literature review of the topic (introduction/background/rationale), hypothesis, a research plan/methods to answer the hypothesis, a bibliography list inclusive of current literature (at least 10, more is preferred), and the time frame in which the project will be completed.

Students should submit proposals to the Chair of the Human Science department.

Honors Proposal Timing

Sophomore and Junior students may apply for honors by submitting their honors proposal at any time during their degree progression, which will be considered by the faculty at the next regularly scheduled faculty meeting.

Rising Senior students should submit their honors proposal no later than August 15 prior to their senior year. Rising Seniors should submit a draft of their proposal for feedback to their Human Science faculty mentor (or co-mentor) at least one month ahead of the August 15 deadline. The proposal will be considered and voted upon during the first faculty meeting of the academic year.

Approval for Human Science Honors

The Chair will circulate the application to the Human Science Faculty, who will vote on the proposal.

Human Science Honors Curriculum

Human Science Honors students will meet all Human Science major curriculum requirements in addition to the research course sequence. A student working on an Honors project will enroll in a minimum of three (but no more than nine) credit hours of Independent Study research course pertaining to their thesis project prior to their senior year. Enrollment in Honors Thesis (HSCI-4998) the final term of the project is also required.

Proposed Timetable of Activities

2nd year

2nd or 3rd year

4th year

Complete research project and thesis:

Note: Students who fail to adhere to the deadlines indicated above may jeopardize their ability earn a “Pass” for their work.

Guidelines for Preparing a Written Thesis

Thesis Defense

Committee: Prior to submitting a complete thesis draft, the student, in consultation with his/her faculty thesis mentor, should select a minimum of three (including the thesis mentor) faculty to serve as members of the thesis committee. At least two must be Human Science faculty. The committee’s role will include, but is not limited to, providing guidance at the results/project update meeting at the end of Fall semester, providing guidance on the overall scientific merit and written presentation of the thesis work, and attendance at the oral defense.

Preparing the Final Draft: Each committee member should be given a rough draft of the thesis and each member will provide the student with feedback. The final draft of the thesis must be distributed to all Human Science faculty members at least one week before the oral presentation.

Oral Defense of Thesis: The student will present the thesis orally at a public venue, open to all faculty and students who wish to attend. Generally, the student should prepare a 30-minute presentation and expect the total defense time to last approximately 1 hour. The student may be interrupted during the presentation to answer clarifying questions posed by the audience. The goal of the defense for the student is to generate a discussion of the topic and defend the strategy and results of the experiment(s).

Grading the Thesis: Immediately following the oral defense of the thesis, all non-faculty members in attendance will be excused and the faculty remaining will determine if the thesis receives a “Pass” or “No Pass.” All faculty members who have read the thesis and attended the oral defense are eligible to grade the thesis. No letter or other grade will be applied to the thesis. If the thesis project is deemed acceptable, then a notation will be placed on the transcript.

Thesis Revision: The committee (or all voting members present at the thesis defense) may request specific revisions to be made before a transcript notation will be issued. The student will revise the written product of the thesis between the date of the defense and the due date. The last version of the thesis is due to the committee on the Friday before grades are due for graduating seniors. A final reading will take place and the final transcript notation will be issued.

Course Description

HSCI-4998 – Honors Thesis (Spring of Senior year only)
During their last semester of the senior year, students in the honors program bring their research projects to conclusion, complete the written thesis for the faculty committee and make an oral presentation of the results to a seminar group of faculty and students. The student will be encouraged to submit the thesis for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
Credits: 0
Prerequisites: A minimum of one (1) Independent Study Research (HSCI-3940) of at least three credits.

Past Honors in Human Science Senior Theses

  • Julia R. Alvey. Characterizing the DNA Damage Response of the NORAD lncRNA in Human Osteosarcoma. Honors. (Mentor: Alex Theos)
  • Elena E. Evans. Dysregulation of FBLP-1 Binding Partner Interactions in the Molecular Etiology of CRMO. Honors. (Mentor: Alex Theos)
  • Zahraa S. Hotait. Characterizing Murine Diabetic Glucose Metabolism Under Conditions of Attenuated Renal Glucose Reabsorption. Honors. (Mentor: Blythe Shepard)
  • Jen-Yuan Christine Kao. Examining Associations Between Discussing Lung Cancer Screening Results & Determination To Quit Smoking. Honors. (Mentor: Joan Riley)
  • Arjun Mathur. Investigating the Role of OCR-2 and OSM-9 in Alkalinity Sensitivity. Honors. (Mentor: Ted Nelson)
  • Janessa Mendoza. Literacy, self-stigma, and well-being: the triad of college student mental health – Mental health literacy, self-stigma of seeking help, and well-being in Georgetown students. Honors. (Mentor: Joan Riley)
  • Cornelia D. “Nina” Williams. Impact of Emergency Medical Technician Training on the Well-Being of Young Adult Trainees. Honors. (Mentor: Joan Riley)

  • Dalton Fowler. Characterization of a Mouse Liver Cell Line to Elucidate Sensory Receptor Function in Hepatic Tissue. Honors. (Advisor: Blythe Shepard)
  • Ali Jordan. Elucidating the role of estrogen receptor signaling in the development of STZ-induced type 1 diabetes mellitus. Honors. (Advisor: Blythe Shepard)
  • Andrew Tiu. Investigating drivers of influenza seasonality. Honors (Mentor: Shweta Bansal; Advisor: Ted Nelson)

  • Elizabeth “Lizzie” Considine. Olfactory Receptor 1393 in Type 1 Diabetic Knockout Mice: Mechanism and Consequences. Honors. (Advisor: Blythe Shepard)
  • Sara Misiukiewicz. Neuropeptide-Y Mediated Perineural Invasion as a Mechanism for Ewing Sarcoma Metastasis. Honors. (Advisor: Jason Tilan)
  • Sara Niederberger. The Crystallization and Properties of Thymine Hydrate Grown with Tailored Lattice Substitutions. Honors. (Advisor: Joan Riley)
  • Jinia Sarkar. Prescription Literacy and Viral Suppression in HIV-Positive Women in Washington D.C.: A Pilot Study. Honors. (Advisor: Joan Riley)

  • Carolyn Hofley. Provider-Level Barriers to Hepatitis C Treatment among Persons Who Inject Drugs: A Qualitative Study of Primary Care Providers in southern New Hampshire. Honors.(Advisor: Joan Riley)
  • Lindsay Caprio. The role of Neuropeptide Y (NPY) and its Y5 receptor (Y5R) in refractory Neuroblastoma. Honors. (Advisor: Jason Tilan)
  • Alexis “Lexi” Schiazza. Sweet Victory: Controlling Glucose Handling via Renal Olfactory Receptor 1393 Offers Protection in a Type 1 Diabetic Mouse Model. Honors.(Advisor: Blythe Shepard)
  • Jowan Watson. Role Separation’s Impact on Student-Athlete Well-Being. Honors. (Advisor: Joan Riley)

  • Joseph Dao. Investigation of tmc-1 and Salt Chemotaxis Learning with C. elegans. Honors. (Advisor: Ted Nelson)
  • Sarah Joseph. Temperature-dependent sorting of fluorescent protein-tagged tyrosinases to the melanosome. Honors. (Advisor: Alex Theos)
  • Noori Srivastava. The Role of DmBlm in Double-strand Break Repair and Gene Conversion. Honors. (Advisor: Jan LaRocque)
  • Larissa Wietlisbach. A stressful study! Prenatal stress identified as a risk factor for Neuroblastoma development and malignancy in offspring. Honors. (Advisor: Jason Tilan)
  • Danielle Zamalin. Identification of SpCas9-Specific Immune Response in Immunocompetent Mice. Honors. (Advisor: Alex Theos)

  • Benjamin Johnson. Psychosocial Impacts on College Students Providing Mental Health Peer Support. Honors. (Advisor: Joan Riley)
  • Madison Keefe. The Effects of Submaximal Exercise on Autonomic Dysfunction in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Honors. (Advisor: Joan Riley)
  • McKenzie Schwarze. Characterization of cell biology and potential functions of Tyrp1 variants. Honors. (Advisor: Alex Theos)
  • Kristen Watkins. Huntington’s disease and employment: The relative contributions of cognitive and motor decline to the decision to leave work. Honors. (Advisor: Rosemary Sokas)

  • Rachel Acree. Investigating the Role of NPY in Ewing Sarcoma Metastasis Formation. Honors with Distinction. (Advisor: Jason Tilan)
  • Shannon Glynn. Smokeless Tobacco Use Among Undergraduate Male College Students: Motivation for Use. Honors. (Advisor: Joan Riley).
  • Jeff Haake. Uncovering the Mechanisms behind Rad51 Misregulation in Response to Strigolactone Treatment in Cancer Cells. Honors with Distinction. (Advisor: Ronit Yarden)
  • Margaret Krackeler. Characteristics and Behaviors of Male College Student Smokeless Tobacco Users: Nicotine Dependence and Cessation Attempts. Honors. (Advisor: Joan Riley)
  • Jennifer LaPier. Investigating the combined effects of Strigolactone and PARP inhibitor in cancer cells as a potential synthetically lethal drug combination. Honors with Distinction. (Advisor: Ronit Yarden)
  • Neha Rajpal. Barriers and Facilitators to BRCA1 and BRCA2 Genetic Counseling among at-risk Latina Breast Cancer Survivors in Washington D.C. Honors with Distinction. (Advisor: Joan Riley)
  • Pallavi Tatapudy. The Function of RECQ1 in Genome Stability and its Conservation Across Species. Honors. (Advisor: Jan LaRocque)
  • Yuzana Khine Zaw. Targeting Mutant p53 in the Growth Inhibition of Human Oral Cancer. Honors. (Advisor: Alex Theos)

  • Anthony Do. Determining the role of mismatch repair in suppressing recombination between diverged sequences. Honors with Distinction. (Advisor: Jan LaRocque)
  • Christopher Grivas. Strigolactones Compromise Microtubule Integrity and Inhibit Invasive Properties in Cancer Cells. Honors with Distinction. (Advisor: Ronit Yarden)
  • Yuhao (Tom) Shi. Rac1-mediated DNA damage and inflammation promote Nf2 tumorigenesis but also limit cell cycle progression by inducing p53 checkpoint and cellular senescence. Honors with Distinction. (Advisor: Jason Tilan)
  • Victor Wang. Strigolactone analogue induced reactive oxygen species activate pro survival responses prior to apoptosis in cancer cells. Honors with Distinction. (Advisor: Ronit Yarden)
  • James Nolan. Investigating the Role of BRCA1 and Posttranslational Modifications in the DNA Damage Response. Honors with Distinction. (Advisor: Ronit Yarden)

  • David Christian. Prenatal Stress Enhances Neuroblastoma Development and Progression Through the Neuropeptide Y system. Honors With Distinction. (Principal Investigator: Joanna Kitlinska, PhD, Mentor: Jason Tilan, PhD)
  • Melissa Metcalf. Internally Tagged Glycoprotein Non-metastatic Melanoma Protein B (GPNMB(HT)i) Overexpressed in ARPE19-NHT cells: A Model System for GPNMB Function. (Advisor: Alex Theos, PhD)
  • Alexandra Pietraszkiewicz. The G2/ M Key Regulator, Cyclin B, is SUMOylated in Response to DNA Damage. (Advisor: Ronit Yarden, PhD)

  • David Barton. Traumatic Brain Injury: Targeting Blood-Brain Barrier Breakdown Via an Apolipoprotein E-dependent Pathway. Honors With Distinction. (Advisor: Maureen Basha, PhD)
  • Ryan Bellmore. A Characterization of the Site-specific Dephosphorylation of Microtubule- associated Protein 2 in Response to Neuronal Activity. (Advisor: Maureen Basha, PhD)
  • Petar Georgiev. Quantifying Levels of Nicotinic Acetylcholinergic Receptor Ligands In Serum and In Brain. (Advisor: JP Hyatt, PhD)
  • Neha Jejurikar. Understanding Subcellular Location of GPNMB Points to Putative Biological Function of the Protein as a Potential Driver of Tumor Progression (Advisor: Alex Theos, PhD)
  • Danielle LoRe. Eye Movements and EEG Activity During Task Performance Reveal Personalized Brain Dynamics for Coping with Fear and Anxiety. (Advisor: Alex Theos, PhD)
  • Colin Ryan. Strigolactones Cause Cell Cycle Arrest and Apoptosis via Formation of DNA Double-Strand Breaks (Advisor: Ronit Yarden, PhD)
  • Madeline Tadley. Investigating the Role of ESCRT in the Intracellular Transport of GPNMB in Human Melanoma. Honors With Distinction. (Advisor: Alex Theos, PhD)
  • Scott Wisniewski. EGFP-tagged Temperature-Sensitive Tyrosinase as a Tool for Tracking ER Exit and Potential Protein Refolding. (Advisor: Alex Theos, PhD)

  • Dana Alsaadi. Msx1 Expression Analysis in Endometrioid Ovarian Epithelial Carcinoma. Honors with distinction.
  • Melissa Gadsden. Missorting of GPNMB-R150X Protein in DBA/2J Mouse Melanocytes: a Model for Pigmentary Glaucoma. Honors with distinction.
  • Ashley Huber. Resveratrol Treatment in Rhesus Macaques has Minimal Influence on Skeletal Muscle Genotypic Expression and Glycolytic/Oxidative Enzyme Activity. Honors with distinction.
  • Ali Soroush. Challenging the Canonical RNA Binding Model of Hepatitis Delta Antigen Using a Mammalian Cell-based Assay. Honors with distinction.

  • Chelsea Feldman. Characterization of the Sorting Signals that Direct GPNMB Internalization and Trafficking. Honors with distinction.
  • Lauren McDaniel. The Role of c-Myc in Antiestrogen Resistant Breast Cancer. Honors with distinction.
  • Megan McMenamin. The Impact of Method of Delivery on the Development of Allergic Disease. Honors with distinction.

  • Laura T. Boitano. The effects of yoga on the immune status of breast cancer patients treated with chemotherapy. Honors.
  • Brigitte L. Granger. Impact of studying abroad on U.S. college students’ tobacco use. Honors with distinction.
  • Kaileen Rohr. Complex Dysregulation of Cytokine Production in XLA monocytes following TLR and Bacterial Stimulation. Honors.

  • Roland M. Dimaya. Assessing short-term memory in Tourette Syndrome using a nonsense-word repetition task. Honors.
  • Bridget Dowd. Cysteine residues within the fractalkine-like domain of the attachment G glycoprotein of respiratory syncytial virus play a critical role in the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte response upon infection. Honors.
  • Stephanie M. Zare. Navicular drop not static arch height is a better predictor of stress fracture risk in male athletes. Honors with Distinction.

  • Allison C. Boyd. Novel HIV-1 Genomic Mutations Related to Antiretroviral Drug Resistance. Honors with Distinction.
  • Emily M. Herzberg. PDE-5 inhibitor use and associated risk behavior HIV- patterns among positive males at an urban HIV clinic in Washington, DC. Honors with Distinction.
  • Jennifer Mulla. The role of IRF-1 in ICI 182./80 mediated apoptosis of MCF7/LCC9 breast cancer cells. Honors with Distinction.
  • Caitlin Wallach, Comparative Pharmacokinetic Parameters of Intravenously Administered Ravuconazole in Healthy and Neutropenic Rabbits with Pulmonary Aspergillosis. Honors.
  • Emily P. Wang. The effect of estradiol in the presence/absence of antiestrogens on the ErbB2/PI 3-K/Akt1 pathway in hormone-dependent breast cancer. Honors.
  • Bradley M. White. In Vitro Dopamine Sensing Capabilities of Polycarbazole Film-Modified Platinum Electrodes. Honors with Distinction.

About the Information on This Page

Approved by the Human Science Faculty: May 10, 2006

Clarifications approved by Human Science Faculty: May 2, 2007; May 13. 2010

Modifications approved by Human Science Faculty Date: April 5, 2013; October 10, 2014; May 16, 2016; August 29, 2016; March 26, 2021; October 6, 2022