Departmental Honors and Undergraduate Research

Departmental Honors and Undergraduate Research

Are you a highly motivated student with big ideas to explore? Consider embarking on a research project! Messiah Language, Literature and Writing majors have presented at NCUR (the National Conference for Undergraduate Research), completed year-long departmental honors projects, and everything in between. Whether you choose to work with a professor and devote yourself to an honors project or pursue your passions independently, you will not regret expanding your horizons through undergraduate research.

To find out more information about departmental honors - apply here.

Christine Bye '21

English w/ literature concentration and Spanish

My project focuses on finding a way forward for my generation as it looks into a future likely to be characterized by economic oppression and environmental disaster. Because the topic is large, I look at it through the lens of my family’s beautiful southern Lancaster County farm and its surrounding community, which offers wonderful perspectives - both new and old - on what a sustainable life can look like. Presenting this alternate view of success is essential in a society where there is really only one definition of achievement - a definition that demands the irreparable destruction of our natural resources and subsists on a very narrow vision of the world. I am certainly not the first to think about these things, and this project has given me the opportunity to read extensively. In particular, I have looked at the writings of Henry David Thoreau, Wendell Berry, Rebecca Solnit, and Marilynne Robinson, as well as many other contemporary essayists who have reflected deeply on the consequences of continuing to live as we do. I hope to encourage my generation by presenting the idea that there is not a single track into the future but countless ways in which to walk forward without destruction, ways which require only imagination and determination to discover and live.


Joel Pace '21

English w/ Writing Concentration & Classical, Medieval and Renaissance Studies

For my Departmental Honors Project, I will recreate three fictional short stories, each roughly twenty pages in length, written from the perspective of three different cultures, but written in a manner that is relatable to the modern reader. Thus, I will present the spirit, the ethos of the original intent of these stories, while still encouraging the reader to consider the ancient myths and legends as relevant to a modern context. The retellings of these three myths will not serve as a watered-down, oversimplification of these stories, but rather they will invite the reader to interact with these cultures on a personal level, get into the mindset of the distant past, and to really question these connections. I will reconstruct these three myths: The Sarcophagus of Osiris from Egyptian myth and its commentary on Ancient Egypt's thoughts on Pride and Jealousy, The Hanging of All-Father Odin from Norse mythology and its commentary on the Norse ideals of Worthiness and Sacrifice, and The Twelve Labors of Hercules and how it relays the Ancient Greek understanding on Justice and Futility.

2018 English Honors Presentations

Four of our seniors presented their departmental honors projects: Poets on the Margins: Walking with Wordsworth and the Slam Poetry Movement presented by Carly Laird, We Are Fragments: A Memoir of Reconciliation with Self and World presented by Elisabeth Ivey, Till Human Voices Wake Us presented by Alicia Fleming, and Re-Earth: Fiction presented by Angeline Leong.