Michael Grillo, Jordan LaBouff, Melissa Ladenheim, Neil Shelley
Like most Honors graduates before me, the final work for this thesis became something much different than what I had originally intended. Originally, I wanted to make short videos and blog posts about the nature of religion at UMaine. However, the project evolved into a short documentary focused specifically on Catholic students. I produced, directed, shot, and edited the film. My primary goal was to investigate whether or not Catholic students felt like a minority and how that affected them. I was repeatedly forced to reevaluate my own experience with faith throughout the production process. As a practicing Catholic, I went into this project with many biases and preconceived conclusions. I expected all of the students that I interviewed to feel shunned. I expected them to feel like they had to hide their faith. This turned out to be false. Of the four students featured in the documentary, only one expressed that she had felt ostracized for her faith. However, even this student said that this changed over time. I titled the finished documentary, Room for Opportunity. This is a quote from Jake Gebhart, a subject in the documentary. The title refers to the idea that while UMaine is a secular campus, it also allows students to be challenged and grow in their faith.
Buttarazzi, Jacob, "Room for Opportunity: An Investigation of Catholic Student Life at the University Of Maine" (2020). Honors College. 585.