my capstone experience

Ashley Wilkinson '08

Ashley Wilkinson '08, an English major with a minor in Writing for Publication from North Berwick, Maine, discusses her senior Capstone project, a research paper entitled “Pushing Past Oppression through Characterization: The Silence of Virginia Woolf, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Harriet Jacobs.” The Capstone project, which requires extensive research and a presentation, is the culmination of each student's academic experience and part of the Liberal Education Program at Colby-Sawyer College. After graduation, Ashley hopes to find a job in the communications/marketing/advertising field near in Maine or New Hampshire.

Describe the subject of your Capstone project and why you chose to focus on this subject.

The title of my project was “Pushing Past Oppression through Characterization: The Silence of Virginia Woolf, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Harriet Jacobs.” I chose to focus on this topic because the oppression of women writers has always interested me. Since I am also a female writer, I think it is extremely important to be aware of what women have endured in the past, and how far we have come.

What research did you conduct for this project?

In order to fully envelop myself in the topic, I conducted a lot of research from numerous sources. I used books, personal diaries and letters, scholarly journals, and the knowledge I had gained here at Colby-Sawyer.

What did you learn through your Capstone project, and in what ways is it a culmination of your learning experience at Colby-Sawyer?

The Capstone experience is an opportunity for students to showcase what they have learned over the past four years and how they have been able to grow and accumulate information. My Capstone was absolutely a learning experience. I thoroughly enjoyed gaining an understanding of what women had to overcome in the literary world, and how times have both changed and stayed the same.

What was most fun and rewarding for you in the process of creating your Capstone?

Presenting my research was fulfilling and allowed me to showcase for my teachers and fellow students what I have actually learned and how I have developed as both a student and individual.

What did you find most challenging and difficult about the project?

The process of writing a 40-page paper and then having to condense it into a 10-minute presentation is very difficult. There is so much that you want to say in your presentation, but can't fit in. It forces you to choose what is most important and then go from that point. It's hard to explain to an audience everything you learned because the presentation has a time limit.

What do you hope will be the lasting value of your Capstone project, both for you and others?

I hope that people understand the struggle female writers have faced, and the oppression placed upon them in the past. It is very important to learn about women and all that they have overcome.