Skip to Main Content

News Story

May 06, 2022

La Roche University Students Present at Honors Colloquium

PITTSBURGH, May 6, 2022 – Graduating seniors at La Roche University recently presented honors theses to campus and the outside community.

The attainment of such honors signifies the highest approbation the University can bestow upon an outstanding student and is considered a reflection of mutual scholarly attainment by both the student and the University community. Under the direction and guidance of a committee of La Roche faculty, students conduct research, write and then present their theses at the University’s annual Honors Colloquium.

The following students presented their projects in December 2021 or April 2022.

Brooke Batyi of Homestead
“Hallucinogens and How They Improve the Mental Health and Spirituality of a Person”
La Roche Honors Institute

Cassandra Cornelius of Butler
“Making a Mark on Menstruation: A Solution to the Present Market’s Problems”
La Roche Honors Institute

Cecilia Grace Larimer of Pittsburgh
“Performing Arts in Pittsburgh: A Study on Student Attendance”
La Roche Honors Institute

Lillian Marker of York, PA
“The Sixth Amendment in Black and White: The Role of Race in Trial by Jury”
La Roche Honors Institute

Steven Munshower of Tarentum
“The Tangled Web of Spider-Man”
La Roche Honors Institute

Alexis O’Donnell of Pittsburgh
“Development, the UNSDG, and COVID-19: A Study of Three Countries”
Departmental Honors in International Studies

Joshua Paris of Tarentum
“BirthWright: A Reimagined Cooperative TableTop Game”
Departmental Honors in Graphic Design

Rebekah Schleppy of Tyrone
“Truth and Reconciliation: The Untold History of American Colonization”
Departmental Honors in Graphic Design

Abigail Witkowski of White Oak
“Investigating the Link Between Autoimmune Diseases and Allergies”
Departmental Honors in Health Sciences

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Howard J. Ishiyama, Ph.D., said, “These outstanding students took their education to the next level by conducting original research alongside esteemed faculty and mentors, and we are proud to recognize them for their scholarship, innovation and creativity.”

Mr. Munshower and Ms. Schleppy received the Richard G. Kotarba Outstanding Honors Presentation Awards for their honors theses. Established in honor of Richard B. Kotarba, the awards are given for the best honors project presentations and are accompanied by a cash award.

Mr. Munshower, the first-place recipient, drew inspiration for his thesis, “The Tangled Web of Spider-Man,” from a lifelong passion.

“Spider-Man was always a big part of my life growing up,” he said. “I wanted to challenge traditional standards of literary study through proving demonstrable academic value in Spider-Man. In doing so, I hope to expand the scope of curricula, taking advantage of a long-overlooked medium: the comic narrative.”

The Honors Institute at La Roche cultivates academic excellence, intellectual discourse and scholarly achievement. Designed for exemplary students, the program embraces challenge and provides outstanding educational opportunities that will serve as their pathway to a successful future.


About La Roche University: A private liberal arts university in the North Hills of Pittsburgh, La Roche University offers 66 undergraduate programs of study, six master’s degrees and one doctoral degree, with particular strengths in education, business, criminal justice, psychology, nursing, and health and medical sciences as well as interior design and graphic design. This residential university provides a vibrant campus community for nearly 1,300 men and women enjoying 30-plus student organizations and an exciting NCAA Div. III athletics program. Founded by the Sisters of Divine Providence in 1963, La Roche University embraces its Catholic heritage while welcoming people of all faiths and backgrounds. With a legacy of social justice and a commitment to international exchange, La Roche University educates students to be lifelong learners and achievers in an increasingly diverse and global society.