Mandeville, Monsters, and Medieval Maps: Senior Jocelyn Auld Combines Passion for Art, Psychology, History, and Mythology into Senior Thesis

Tackling a challenging academic course-load, immersing herself in extra-curricular activities, creating incredible artwork, and applying to colleges would fill most students’ senior years. But Indian Creek senior Jocelyn Auld wanted more. Last spring, she applied to Indian Creek’s Voros Senior Thesis Program, in order to deepen her studies of the Humanities in an enriched and inspiring way.

The Voros Thesis Program, started by and named after beloved former faculty member Chip Voros, 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. In this way, students are as prepared as possible for the academic rigor beyond high school. Jocelyn’s thesis project, which is in the refining process, is entitled “Mandeville, Monsters, and Medieval Maps: A Representation of Fear and Other.” Through her project, Jocelyn is exploring the presence of monsters and grotesques throughout European medieval culture.

Jocelyn’s thesis project is the first at Indian Creek to combine an extensive research paper, which will be presented and defended to a panel of experts in the spring, with an original painting. The painting that Jocelyn has created is based on medieval Madonna paintings, which depict the Virgin Mary. The right half of her painting reflects upon the holy, whilst the left reveals the monstrous. The painting is meant to employ the medieval contrast between holy and other.

When asked what inspired her to choose this interesting, yet obscure, topic, Jocelyn shared that she has developed a strong interest in myths and folklore from many cultures. This project allowed her to learn more about the psychology of why people believed in these mythical monsters, and presented her with an opportunity to combine history, art, philosophy, psychology, and fantasy.

Jocelyn has learned quite a bit while researching and writing her thesis paper, which currently stands at 30 pages. The addition of an original painting component has elevated her thesis to a new level. We are proud of Jocelyn and her work, and look forward to reading her final thesis paper in the spring.