- Alternative Capstone Experience
- SMP Resources
- Highlighted SMP Projects
- Asian Studies Department SMP Guidelines
What is an SMP?
The St. Mary’s Project is a year-long, 8-credit, independently designed and executed course of study intended as a capstone experience for a student’s time at St. Mary’s. Working in close conjunction with one or more professors, in or outside of the Asian Studies department, you have the opportunity to explore, in depth, a question or idea that entrances and intrigues you. Many—although by no means all—SMPs are interdisciplinary, bringing together threads from earlier classes taken across the curriculum. The College has established certain guidelines for the SMP:
- It must be student-initiated
- It must demonstrate methodological competence (by identifying an area to be explored and proposing a method of inquiry appropriate for the topic)
- It must draw on and extend knowledge, skills of analysis, and creative achievement developed through previous academic work. It must include a reflection on the social context, the body of literature, or the conceptual framework to which the project is a contribution
- It must be shared with the larger community through some form of public presentation.
First year students and sophomores:
- Consider your interests and keep track of favorite and interesting topics
- Don’t be too specific, keep it broad
- Talk to friends and seniors doing projects.
- Attend SMPs and look over the archives
First semester of junior year:
- Consider whether you want to collaborate with others. Note that collaborating with students will not necessarily make your work load easier
- Think about whether you want to do the project in two 4-credit blocks or employ some other sequence
Second semester of junior year:
- Narrow your choice to one or two topics
- Discuss and develop your topic ideas with faculty members who might be good mentors.
- Talk to the St. Mary’s Career Center if you want to include an off-campus component to your project.
- Decide if you will be collaborating with a fellow student.
- Have a good idea of what you want to do by advising day.
- Select a faculty mentor in the spring semester.
- Submit a formal proposal
- Work closely with your faculty mentor.
- Submit the budget request form by late October (option to resubmit in March).
- Complete research, hands-on experience, written essay, or poster.
- Present in the Spring semester
How to Choose a Topic
- What areas of Asian Studies interest you?
- What are your career interests?
- Do you want a project to include specific experiences such as doing an off-campus internship or conducting on-site research?
- What was your favorite class and why?
- Would a topic from a class be something you would like to pursue further?
Alternative Capstone Experience
Asian Studies majors are required to complete an eight-credit SMP. However, it does not have to be an Asian Studies SMP.
- Students may choose to complete an interdisciplinary SMP, of which only four credit hours consist in ASIA 493/494, but they must also complete four credit hours chosen from any 300-400 level Asian Studies courses in addition to the major requirements.
- Students may also complete an SMP entirely outside of the Asian Studies department, but they must also complete eight credit hours chosen from any 300-400 level Asian
- Studies courses in addition to the major requirements.
St. Mary’s Projects Website >>
Highlighted SMP Projects
Sarah Laiza Braine. “Understanding China’s Cultural Revolution through Film.” (mentor: Charles Musgrove)
Sarah Xuejie Kimball. “Linguistic Imperialism: The Effect of Language and Educational Policy on China’s Soft Power.” (mentor: Jingqi Fu)
Sara LaRocco. “Tourism, Representation, and Commodification of Culture: Ethnic Minority Groups in China in the People’s Republic of China.” (mentor: Charles Musgrove)
Tori Moulden. “Marginalized in Japan: A Research Blog.” (mentor: Charles Musgrove)
Alana Demones. “Black and White.” (mentor: Jingqi Fu)
Scott Gutherie. “Effects of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) on China’s Development.” (mentor: Charles Musgrove)
Greta Cady. “Discourse on Identity in the History of Taiwan as it Relates to Japan.” (mentor: Charles Musgrove)
Frederick Thayer. “Words Count: A Linguistic Comparison of Learning Math in English and Chinese.” (mentor: David Kung)
Mayumy Rivera. “Wing Chun Avengers: Kung Fu Heroines and Their Limited Liberation in Chinese Martial Arts Films.” (mentor: Charles Musgrove)
Grant Castner. “Autonomy as a Name, Communism as a Rule: China in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region”
Jessica Chen. “Exploring Three Kingdoms: The Heart of a Chinese Classic” (mentor: Bruce M. Wilson)
Megan Dower. “Straight to the Source: China’s Single Children Offer Insight into the Reality of the One-Child Policy” (mentor: Jingqi Fu)
Melissa Anderson. “Explanation of Otakon and its Impact on Baltimore City” (mentor: Holly A. Blumner)
Katrina Rigby. “Chinas lost generation: a look at their past and present sufferings” (mentor: Jingqi Fu)
Nemisis Zambrano. “Visualizing nothingness: a new media representation of core Buddhist ideas” (mentor: Bradley D. Park)
Lauren Jacoby. “Words and deeds: human rights norms and U.S. policy” (mentor: Matthew B. Fehrs)
Paul Hunter. “An Analysis on the Possibility of Aggressive Conflict or Interdependence as a means to resolving the Taiwan Issue” (mentor: Charles D. Musgrove)
Lisa Whittington. “Minor wives and secret lovers: a study of polygamy in Thailand” (mentor: John W. Schroeder)
Anna Holbert. “Presenting The Past. A Look at Contemporary Japanese and Taiwanese Comic Art” (mentor: Haomin Gong)
Jaime Corcoran. “Censorship and creativity in the Chinese visual arts: an elaboration of an overgeneralized concept” (mentor: Jingqi Fu)
Hannah Goszkowski. “Ethnic minorities and unequal education in China: an investigation into government policy and practice” (mentor: Jingqi Fu)
Victoria Van Natta. “Sibling rivalry: an analysis of Chinese and North Korean foreign policy” (mentor: Charles D. Musgrove)
Anna Spivack. “State of education in Burma/Myanmar and the potential for establishing a conditional cash transfer program” (mentor: Devorah Schoenfeld)
Ian Konigsdorffer. “Burma in a sea of crisis: a nation in need: an exploration of Burmese history, religion, and crimes against humanity” (mentor: Bruce M. Wilson)
Shahin Firoozmand. “Misrecognition, nihilism and authority in Lu Xun’s fiction” (mentor: Haomin Gong)
Devon Litherland. “Reform implications on health care, education, and social security policy in China” (mentor: Michael M. Ye)
Melissa Newcomb. “You wont know me: disrupted autobiographies by Asian-American women” (mentor: Jennifer Cognard-Black)
Alexandra Noble. “Unbalanced relationship: the state and Buddhism in the Peoples Republic of China” (mentor: Charles D. Musgrove)
Rachael Carter. “Chicken Tikka Masala: Literature of the South Asian Diaspora in Britain”
Asian Studies Department SMP Guidelines
Students preparing to begin their St. Mary’s Projects should submit a proposal to the program coordinator in the spring of their junior year. Proposal deadlines and procedures will be announced each spring. Students wishing to begin their SMP mid-year should submit a proposal to the program coordinator prior to the last week of scheduled classes in the fall semester.