The Effects of Federally Funded Afterschool Care Programs on Juvenile Crime Rates
Hannah Klein, Economics, 2011
Thesis Advisor: Professor Susan Averett

Q: When did you start thinking about your thesis?
A: I always had it in the back of my mind to do one, but at the beginning of junior year when I really thought about going to graduate school, it became a more definite decision.

Q: How did you start tackling your thesis project at the very beginning?
A: I thought of what I was passionate about and what would make sense as far as my graduate degree was concerned. Since I am planning on going to graduate school for public administration, I decided it had to be a topic that would have policy implications.

Q: Did your advisor explain the structure of a thesis project to you?
A: Yes, but in economics it can be so different depending on whether it is empirical or theoretical, so it wasn’t until I figured out what form my project would take that it really become clear.

Q: Did you have to do a literature review? Had you ever done one before?
A: This was the first literature review I had done that wasn’t just a small book report, but luckily Professor Averett loaned me a book to help: Preparing Literature Reviews: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches by M. Ling Pan.

Q: Do you remember receiving correspondence from the library about your honors thesis?
A: Yes.

Q: What did you find most challenging about your thesis project?
A: The actual writing was really hard. Once the data was collected and the numbers were crunched, I was faced with having to explain everything clearly and succinctly with not a single incorrect word or statement. It was a very daunting task.

Q: What did you find most rewarding about your thesis project?
A: When I talked to the professor I will be doing research with in graduate school next year, she was amazed by my work and told me how excited she was that I could help her with more complex econometric work in the field. Because of this I received a full scholarship to Villanova, which is a huge reward!

Q: What assistance did your advisor/department offer you throughout the course of the year?
A: Professor Averett was amazing, holding meetings every Monday and Wednesday if we wanted to come in, which I certainly did. She helped clear up any econometric confusion and also helped when technology wasn’t being very nice to me.

Q: Did you meet with librarians in the course of conducting your research? How many times and at what stages of your research?
A: I got help with finding some particularly complex data in the middle of my research and final help with formatting sources at the end. I didn’t rely too heavily on librarians, though.

Q: What other kind of support did you rely on throughout the year to accomplish your thesis (IT, parents, friends, etc.)?
A: Thank goodness for my friends, who were there as a support for me late at night. Without some of the late night laughter I never would have made it through. I think some of the best support I received was actually from the other students working with Professor Averett. We had very different topics, but occasionally similar issues with data or the current step of our research, and we were able to talk to each other and get help even when we couldn’t meet with Averett.

Q: Were you able to get access to all of the research materials you wanted for your project?
A: Some of the data I needed wasn’t archived by government agencies, but the rest of the information I needed I could find easily through services provided by the library, such as journal entries for my literature review.

Q: Would you do anything differently if you went through the process again?
A: I may have picked an easier topic…

Q: What advice would you offer other honors thesis students, especially in your department?
A: Honestly, only consider doing an honors thesis if you want to go to graduate school. Then, it really helps having this type of research on your resume. For those who are just finding jobs, it doesn’t necessarily help depending on the field of work and it really does take over your life at certain stages of the process. If a social life is crucial for you, then a thesis is not for you.