Student research is a very important part of the Honors Program. There are many opportunities to be involved in research here at Bentley, whether through lab or field work, as research assistants through the Valente Center, the Center for the Integration of Science and Industry, or independently with faculty.
In addition to those opportunities, all honors students must complete a semester-long capstone research project during their senior year as part of the program requirements. The capstone project is an opportunity to explore important, interesting or emerging topics of a student’s choosing. In particular, students are encouraged to explore unique or creative topics, using discipline based methods working with faculty who have expertise in that area. Examples of the many topics that students have explored can be found in the Honors Conference section, where previous conference programs are available.
To encourage high-quality student research, we offer a small number of highly competitive honors research fellowships each semester. Through generous support from United Technologies Corporation, these fellowships provide selected scholars dedicated funding to attend conferences or support other research related expenses. In addition, some fellowships are also eligible for stipends.
Students work directly with faculty advisers to craft a research project proposal, which is approved through the Honors Program. During the semester, students then work with their adviser on research techniques and analysis, using discipline specific standards to write up their research findings. There are also opportunities for theme based research seminars to fulfill the capstone research project. Typically, these small courses are offered once a semester, and have a team-based community-service or policy dimension to them. Examples of these research seminar capstones include:
- Local Governance and Economic Development Consulting
- Science, Technology, and Society
- Money and Politics
- Economic Redevelopment Plan for Moody Street (Waltham, MA)
- Milton, MA, Public Schools Antibullying Campaign
- Human Trafficking
- High Cost Electricity in Massachusetts: Causes and Potential Solutions
- Corruption, Scandals and Contemporary Society
- The Distribution of Wealth
For students who may not have a research topic in mind, the research seminar course may be a good fit. In addition, students can access CapMatch on Blackboard for research ideas, and also look for potential faculty advisers for their project. Students can go to the Honors Program office to see examples of past research projects for additional ideas and inspiration.
For more information on the capstone research project, contact the associate director of the Honors Program, who manages the process. For specific information on dates, deadlines and procedures for current students, see Blackboard.
The Honors Conference takes place near the end of April each year, and provides an opportunity for all graduating seniors to present the findings of their capstone research projects in a formal setting in front of family, friends, faculty and peers. It is an enriching opportunity to take stock of the hard work throughout their four years at Bentley, and in particular celebrates the challenging yet rewarding conclusion to the capstone research project.
To encourage the collaborative nature of the research process, all senior honors students are expected to participate in the conference, by both presenting and attending sessions. Family, friends, faculty and the broader Bentley community are encouraged to attend as well. Following the concurrent sessions which run during the day is a reception, in which students display summaries of their projects and have the opportunity to mingle with family, friends and faculty. The day is capped off with a celebratory dinner, highlighted by students receiving their honors medallions, as well as the presentation of student research and capstone adviser awards (see Awards section).
The links below are the programs for the Honors Conferences each year, which contain abstracts of all the senior capstone projects.
Many of our Honors Program students present their capstone projects, as well as other research projects they are involved in at conferences outside of Bentley. Recently, groups of students have presented their research at the Northeast Regional Honors Conferences, the International Atlantic Economics Conference, and other select conferences in addition to the Bentley University Honors Conference.
Although it is not a requirement of the Honors Program, we encourage and support dissemination of our students’ research findings. A number of our students have recently had their work published in peer reviewed journals, including Drugs and Alcohol Today and the Bentley Microfinance Review, among others
To further encourage and enhance academic excellence in the capstone process, awards were created to recognize the most outstanding capstone research projects. Each year at the Honors Conference held in April, a student is presented with a Capstone of the Year Award for Excellence in Arts and Sciences, and one student is presented with a Capstone of the Year Award for Excellence in Business. To recognize the unique nature of Bentley’s business education, and encourage the exploration of challenging multidisciplinary problems that society faces, a third category of award was created in 2015 – Excellence at the intersection of Arts and Sciences and Business.
Nominations for exceptional student projects are encouraged from faculty advisers, but self-nominations from the student are also accepted, with faculty adviser support. Nominations are solicited near the end of the semester in both December and in April. Typically, nominated student projects exhibit a strong level of original, independent thinking and/or creativity, provides new knowledge or understanding of a subject area, or may employ a significant level of rigor in the research process achieved through extraordinary effort, desire and motivation by the student. For more information on the nomination process, see Blackboard, or contact the associate director of the Honors Program.
The previous winners of the Capstone of the Year Awards for Excellence in Research are listed below.
Excellence in Business Award
- April 2015 - Brittany Baudier, "Equity-Linked Insurance Products: A Quantitative and Qualitative Approach," Adviser: Victoria Steblovskaya, Mathematical Sciences
- April 2014 - Rachael Dempsey, "Customer Experience in the ‘Age of the Customer,'” Adviser: Mark Davis, Management
- April 2013 - John Drago, "The European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 1494," Adviser: Claude Cicchetti, Finance
- April 2012 - Samantha J. Mayer, "Magazine Usage Among Tablet Owning College-Aged Millennials," Adviser: Leslie Simmel, Marketing
Excellence in the Arts and Sciences
- April 2015 - Kelsey Miller, "Lost in Translation: Translating a French Fantasy Novel for the American Market," Adviser: Jane Griffin, Modern Languages
- April 2014 - Juliet DiLillo, "Are the People in Welfare States Happier Than Those in Capitalist States? A Comparison of Life Satisfaction in the United States versus Denmark," Adviser: Kristen Sorensen, Global Studies
- April 2013 - Joshua Cali, "The Development of Judicial Review in the Early Republic," Adviser: Adviser: Cyrus Veeser, History
- April 2012 - Melissa Reville, "Contemporary Chilean Media: How Human Rights Issues Are Portrayed in a Developing Country," Adviser: Kristen Sorensen, Global Studies
Excellence at teh Intersection of Arts and Sciences & Business
- April 2015 - Claire Dennis, “Corporate Philanthropy Programs: Impact of Philanthropy Choices on the Long-Term Profitability of Firms,” Adviser: Deborah Gregory, Finance