Liam Lonergan '19 Completes Voros Thesis in the Humanities with Distinction
Most high school seniors would not relish spending school vacations diving into data from the United Nations about the economic implications of natural resources around the world. But Indian Creek senior Liam Lonergan is not your typical student. Liam embraced the most prestigious and most challenging opportunity that is offered to rising Indian Creek seniors each year: The Voros Senior Thesis. Not only did Liam embrace this project, he set a new bar for future seniors with his highly-lauded thesis entitled "Analyzing Models of Natural Resource Economics in Developing States.”
The Voros Senior Thesis Program is designed to enrich students who have expressed a unique and disciplined approach to their study of the Humanities throughout their time at Indian Creek School as a way to give them both confidence and understanding of the long and often difficult process of producing a paper of this magnitude. The program allows select students the opportunity to pursue a question within the scope of the humanities, that may have developed from various study throughout a student’s educational career. The process attempts to mimic that of a thesis paper that many of our students may experience as they pursue higher levels of education. The Voros Senior Thesis process culminates in April of the student’s Senior year with an oral defense before a panel of teachers and local experts in which the student is able to explain the various choices made to create their work.
Liam's thesis was based on a subject that he found incredibly interesting: the complicated relationships between the natural resources of an area and it's economy. His work was more data-driven than many literature based theses, as he pored over data during school breaks. Through this research and analysis, Liam found results that seemed counter-intuitive; areas with the most natural resources had infrastructures that did not benefit from them, falling victim to higher levels of violence, corruption, and hindered growth than areas with little to no natural resources.
Liam's extensive research and dynamic 47-page paper inspired his faculty advisor Mr. Jimmy Monack to bring in a real-world expert on the topic to serve on Liam's defense panel. "Upon reading the first draft of Liam's work, I realized the we, once again, were going to need to bring in a heavy weight. His writing is very sophisticated, but the analyses were way over my head. I loved being his advisor, but I’m not even in his league." Naval Academy Professor (and ICS parent) Pamela M. Schmitt agreed to read Liam's thesis and come to school on Monday, May 20, to hear him defend his work, along with Upper School Humanities faculty members Ms. Ashley Fetterolf, Mr. Jesse Larson, and Mr. Tom Sheppard.
At the discretion of the panel, theses are typically given the distinctions of “Completed with Distinction,” “Complete,” and “Incomplete.” Not only was Liam's work awarded the "Completed with Distinction" title, he was also described as a "renaissance man" two separate times during the panel discussion. Mr. Monack elaborated, "This is the type of project that is perfect for a student of Liam’s caliber. I would expect this type of work from a graduate student."
Liam's work at Indian Creek proves the renaissance man comparison to be true, as he is described by all as a hard-working, intelligent, well rounded student who is respected by both teachers and peers alike. This year, he not only completed the Voros Thesis in the Humanities this year, but also undertook a STEM thesis entitled, "Effects of Floating and Buried Conventional Motor Oil on Zephyranthes candida Growth, Effectiveness of Archaeal Bioremediation.” Liam is a National Merit Commended Scholar, an AP Scholar, and a member of the National Honor Society. He thrives outside the classroom as well, having served as President of the ICS Student Government Association his senior year, President of his Junior Class, the Vice President of the National Art Honor Society, and the Secretary of the Sociedad Honoraria Hispanicá. He is also a member of both the varsity sailing team and cross-country teams.
This thesis project will serve Liam well as he heads off to Princeton University in the fall, where he is considering studies in Public Policy. Whatever direction Liam chooses, we are confident that he will have an extraordinary impact on the world. Congratulations to Liam on this incredible feat!