MALS Byam Shaw-Brownstone Thesis Award Recipients

The Byam Shaw-Brownstone Thesis Excellence Award is awarded annually in recognition of the outstanding thesis in each MALS concentration (General Liberal Studies, Creative Writing, Cultural Studies, and Globalization Studies).

Aaron Bonsu is the 2022 MALS Thesis Award recipient for his work in the Globalization track.

His thesis, titled Rings of Rhetoric: Government Officials and Their Justifications for the Olympic Games, provides a comprehensive overview of, and sharp insight into the International Olympic Committee process for selecting host cities for the Olympic Games. Developing a methodology to categorize the nature and frequency of arguments presented by each candidate city in their bids, Aaron provides a deep analysis of the bid packages prepared for the 2012 and 2016 Summer Games. His thesis advisor, Professor Peter DeShazo, calls his work "obligatory reading for any city considering an Olympic candidacy."

Tell us what brought you to Dartmouth:
After undergrad, I was looking for a place that would allow me to continue to focus on looking at sports and other topics like media and politics. I still wanted a diverse learning experience and MALS provided me with that flexibility to continue and build upon my learning on the topics that I'm interested in, but also to think about new ideas, thoughts, or topics. 

What's next for you?
I will be going into a PhD program next year continuing my work looking into how people and institutions throughout the world utilize sport to appeal to others, define identities, and frame their understanding of the globe. 


Adella-Marie Cloutier is the 2022 MALS Thesis Award recipient for her work in the Creative Writing track.

Her thesis, titled In Our Eyes, is a hybrid collection of short stories and personal essays exploring the black experience, blackness, and black identity. Reflections on her own experiences growing up as a black child in a white family explore her sense of self and seek to deepen her understanding of her own identity. In the short stories, she brings forth the broader experiences of the black community to present the whole picture of lived experiences. Her thesis advisor, novelist Saul Lelchuk, noted in his letter of recommendation: "To read this body of work is to be challenged, moved, and most of all enlightened, and the rich prose lingers in the mind long after one concludes."

Tell us what brought you to Dartmouth:
After I earned a bilingual Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, I lived and worked in Toronto for an additional three years. My intention was to become a permanent resident but when it was time for me to complete my application, the then administration changed the permanent-residency requirements and qualifications. As a result, I moved back to New Hampshire, and even though this was not my plan, I believe it happened for a reason. I decided then that I wanted to be at Dartmouth College. I spent the next couple of years applying to work at the College and was offered a job in the office I currently work in in 2016. I found out about the MALS program soon after that and I applied. I knew that it was the right program for me because of its interdisciplinary nature and the incomparable courses. 

What's next for you?
As I continue my work at the College, I will be considering opportunities for potential future postgraduate study.


Caroline Murphy is the 2022 MALS Thesis Award recipient for her work in the Cultural Studies track.

Her thesis, titled Defiance in the Dance Hall: The Black Working-Class Woman's Production of Space, unravels the complex lives of Black working-class women during the period between 1910 and 1930, using a black feminist geographical lens. During a time of intense social, geographical, and cultural pressures, the movement of black women from the South into New York City transformed buildings and warehouses across Harlem into spaces of momentary liberation, opening opportunities for empowerment for black working class women. In her letter of nomination, the renowned Ethnic Studies scholar, Professor Regine Rosenthal writes, "Speaking to the larger issue of the intersectionality of race, gender, sexuality, and class, the thesis brilliantly explores how black working-class women inventively reconfigured these factors into the spaces of freedom that, through their ingenuity, the dance halls of Harlem had become."

Tell us what brought you to Dartmouth:
I graduated from Sewanee: the University of the South in 2014 with a major in history and minors in Women's and Gender Studies and Education. I have taught high school history courses for the past seven years in New Hampshire and became familiar with the MALS Program through proximity and reputation. The rigor and interdisciplinary work that the Cultural Studies track offered was particularly enticing to me and it did not disappoint as my courses were led by passionate professors and a diverse array of students that unveiled theories and perspectives that transformed the way that I thought about the world around me. 

What's next for you?
I will continue to work as a high school history teacher looking to constantly re-imagine my curriculum to incorporate the interdisciplinary scholarship that was so captivating to me as a MALS student. Additionally, I aim to have my classroom environment resemble that of my MALS classroom experience where students are expected to question and critically examine the content covered and have honest conversations with their peers and instructors about the greater implications of such work.