Samples of Student Work
Thesis Title: Letting Go is an Act of Love: Examining Personal Narrative as Passage from Old Story to New
My graduate studies were truly (and unexpectedly) a healing experience from start to finish. I most appreciated the opportunities to learn about what interested/inspired/moved me as topics arose and to integrate my studies with the events and circumstances of my non-academic life. I feel both personally and professionally enriched by having pursued a graduate degree with Goddard. I have grown in my capacity to empathize with and care for my patients as a professional nurse. I have learned much about forgiveness and love and gratitude as they pertain to all aspects of living. Maybe some of this would have happened anyway but I can write with certainty that Goddard provided me with the space and framework to bring a creative, curious spirit to my personal and professional evolution. I feel both personally and professionally enriched by having pursued a graduate degree with Goddard. I have grown in my capacity to empathize with and care for my patients as a professional nurse. I have learned much about forgiveness and love and gratitude as they pertain to all aspects of living. Maybe some of this would have happened anyway but I can write with certainty that Goddard provided me with the space and framework to bring a creative, curious spirit to my personal and professional evolution.
Thesis Title: Reconnect: A Deeper Look at the Most Common Endocrine Disorders Affecting Women
My experience at Goddard has been one of self-transformation and a complete transformation of how I view, connect, and relate to the rest of the world. It has opened my eyes to a more holistic, ecological perspective and intelligence, considering personal and planetary health on a much deeper level. Through extensive research and writing, I have developed a much greater understanding of the body, mind, and spirit and their connections to our environment and lifestyle. This learning experience transcends a simple quest for a job or credentials, but I do feel much more qualified for employment in the health, wellness, and education fields. My graduate education has instilled within me a deep passion for personal and planetary health, and I look forward to sharing that passion and knowledge as an educator and holistic health practitioner.
(Advisor’s Comments: Jess graduates with every opportunity open to her; whether she pursues work as a practitioner or continues on to doctoral studies, her dedication and intelligence will surely serve as powerful catalysts for transformation in any arena she chooses.)
Thesis Title: A Metamorphosis of Limits: The Transforming Light of Harp, Honeybees, and the Life-World of Dementia
I learned that my ideas could be held fruitfully and respectfully within community. I've begun to develop the capacity to hold revelation as a research methodology within an intentionally held focus for an extended period of time. Not just the occasional hope for revelation, this sustained waiting within the conscious holding of unknowing asked for patience and trust from me as I listened in a more or less helpless way for what would emerge. I experienced with fuller consciousness the hidden movement of time, a kairos-level of time that could not be hurried, but which one could enter within to find leaps of insight and synthesis. At the same time, I sought to hold the pole of active working, reading, writing, and researching while allowing a new kind of clarity to emerge, one that was not about seeing and knowing, but about listening and being. Learning truly became a contemplative activity and I am filled with gratitude. My community health practices included, community outreach, response, and collaboration through providing harp music at a community memorial for a victim of a violent crime; developing a CD recording of music composed and arranged for a Quaker community member as she was dying; offering music-thanatology vigils to a community member who is living with cancer as a chronic disease; offering music at two different annual memorials to honor those who have died this year in the area (Glover, and Newport, VT); participation in a radio interview to share the work of music-thanatology and my studies at Goddard; continued development of the Honeybee Sanctuary and Eco-Thanatology initiative.
(Advisor’s comments: Linda's transdisciplinary study has opened new ground for conceptualizing what constitutes scholarly writing, research, knowledge, evidence, and process.)
Thesis Title: The Alchemy of Lyme Disease: The Paradox of Illness as Opportunity Through an Exploration of the Connections Between this Epidemic's Effects on the Human Body and its Effects on the Larger Body of the Earth
I absolutely love Goddard’s organic nature -- how it allows you to intuitively align with who you are, and consequently what your unique place is in this world. Society rarely provides us with such a space and I feel so lucky because we are actually encouraged to embark on an exploration of self-discovery -- to find our authentic voice – so when we leave we can go back into the world and offer the results of our deeply profound work.
Thesis Topic: Herbal Voices: American Herbalism Through the Words of American Herbalists
I came to Goddard as a plant person, someone who loved the solitude of her garden. Through my experiences in the Health Arts program, however, my vision expanded and, I began to understand myself as a thread in the intricate tapestry of American herbalism, a thread that was integral to the structure of the whole. I realized how diverse the American herbal community was and started to think deeply about how such a group develops a sense of identity and long-term sustainable vision with so many unique voices. This line of thought was coupled with a burgeoning understanding of key issues that the herbal community faced as herbal healing exponentially increased in popularity. While at Goddard I focused on advocating for a cohesive, grounded and sustainable future for the American herbal community. I interviewed herbal clinicians, educators and business owners from across the country asking them to describe their experiences of practicing herbalism during such a challenging time. As my final project, I edited many of these interviews and compiled them with my own reflections on the state of modern American herbal healing. So compelling and ground breaking was this study that it was quickly picked up for publication in book form. Fall 2004 saw the first copies roll off the press. Without the support of colleagues and faculty in the Health Arts program, this book would have remained a swirl of thoughts and questions in my head…and I might still be in the garden. Instead, through my experiences in the Health Arts program, I truly realized the importance of being an awake, aware and active member of a wider community.
(Ann is now in medical school.)
Thesis Title: The Physical and Mental Health Consequences Caused from Consuming a Standard American Diet
Goddard College provided one of the most unique and meaningful educational experiences of my entire 22 years of college studies. I am indebted to Goddard College and its fine faculty members for helping me define my educational and professional goals. As a college professor already at Great Lakes Christian College in Lansing, MI and a psychologist, I had very specific requirements that I needed to complete in order to meet certain certification and professional standards. Goddard's faculty and Director worked with me closely to create a program, which would accomplish this. My thesis (now titled A Diet that Kills and One That Heals) focused on the health dangers associated with consuming the Standard American Diet. As a result of my writing and degree, I now teach a college class called "Biological Foundations of Nutrition". Another part of my writing and educational training is now used in the Anatomy and Physiology component of a college class I teach in biology. Many of the nutritional concepts I studied are now used in my nutritional and counseling clinics. A great opportunity awaits you at Goddard.
Thesis Topic: Tim’s thesis was a rich academic inquiry into the ancient history and philosophy of Ta-chi and Chi-kung
I came to Goddard with a very specific project in mind, one that was perhaps more conventionally academic--while still being interdisciplinary--than is usual in this very unusual program. As a full time Ta-chi and Chi-kung instructor, I looked to the program as an opportunity to develop my historical and broadly theoretical understanding of the context and antecedents of these arts. The Health Arts program allowed me to pursue my vision and broaden it--both practically and academically, without forcing my work into a more 'alternative' paradigm. I have been encouraged to wed my academic interests to practical application in the community--which after all was my inspiration for the project to begin with. My initial goals included not only higher academic achievement but to publish a book that would be of use to the pedagogical communities, both academic and practical. I find this work greatly advanced by my time at Goddard and the profound consideration my advisor has tended it, which shows that even "traditionally' rigorous academic work can fit into the vision of community oriented research and practice.
Thesis Topic: How to expand yoga to be a more inclusive community health modality
Within the Health Arts program, I have received guidance and workshops on how to make a living, how to market my skills and services, and how to network effectively. Being a part of this community has provided a safe place for integrating my experiences as a yoga teacher and practitioner, and as an activist and artist into work that continues to evolve and to feed me intellectually, spiritually, and professionally.
(After graduation Traci became the director of yoga programming at Omega Institute.)