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Sociology minor wins best honors thesis

Claire Mulholand in cap and gown

Claire Mulholand, ASU 2020 graduate

July 01, 2020

The T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics recently announced Claire Mulholand as this year’s Best Honors Thesis recipient. Mulholand won the award for her Barrett, The Honors College thesis, titled “The Enneagram and Empathetic Development: How Personality Indexes May Explain and Predict Empathetic Interactions in a Professional Working Environment.” 

“The overall research goal of this thesis was to measure the change in development of empathy within a professional working environment,” said Mulholand. “I wanted to see how instances of empathy, or lack thereof, between coworkers could be explained by the types of Enneagram personality test.”

Senior Lecturer and Online Graduate Program Director of Sociology Marcella Gemelli served as the supervisor for Mulholand’s thesis.

“The brilliance of Claire’s thesis is how she examined the interactional effects of a personality index indicator with a prosocial behavior such as empathy,” said Gemelli. “Her research has implications for understanding ourselves and how our personalities affect our propensity for empathy when interacting with others.”

According to Sanford School Professor and Faculty Honors Adviser Tracy Spinrad, Mulholand’s thesis was one of eight considered for this year’s Best Honors Thesis award. Each year the undergraduate committee convenes to review the theses of Barrett sociology and family and human development students. The undergraduate committee voted Mulholand’s thesis the best of this year’s submissions.

“I’m extremely grateful to have been a part of a program that is tangibly involved in the lives and professional development of students,” said Mulholand regarding her experience with ASU’s sociology program.

“It was such an immense pleasure working with Claire on her honors thesis,” said Gemelli. “Claire is hardworking, dedicated and passionate — I couldn’t be prouder of her and all that she has accomplished.”

Mulholand graduated summa cum laude this past May with her bachelor’s degree in psychology and a sociology minor. She will be starting her career in administration at Desert Springs Church and plans to do a postgraduate education in ministry program. Her ultimate goal is to obtain a license as a pastor for the Assemblies of God Church.

Read more about Mulholand’s achievements.

Article by Wesley Jackson