Buzzer beaters: Princeton athletes are polishing a scholarly thesis amid NCAA playoffs

March 23, 2023

By Daniel Day, Liz Fuller-Wright, Jamie Saxon and Denise Valenti, Office of Communications

Princeton student athletes must juggle competing demands on their time between academics and athletics. Seniors like Quincy Monday of the wrestling team have been working on their theses as they have advanced in post-season tournaments.

On the court and on the mat, they’re fully focused on their performances during the NCAA playoffs. Yet many of the Princeton athletes who’ve been in the spotlight at national tournaments this month have an extra buzzer to beat: completing a senior thesis, the capstone scholarly project that Princeton students produce before graduating.

Anthropology’s Quincy Monday continues to work on his senior thesis while finishing third in his weight. For his thesis, Monday is examining the ethnography of students finding community at Yeh College, Princeton’s seventh and newest residential college, which opened in the fall.

“On a lot of the trips this year, I’ve brought my work with me,” he said, but not to the championship tournament in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “I did not even bring my laptop because I wanted to be dialed in. Now that I’m back, I’m switching my focus again, being fully in thesis mode.”

Monday also finds time to devote as vice president to the campus Black Student-Athlete Collective, a group he co-founded with Grace Stone of the women’s basketball team.

Monday credits his adviser, Carolyn Rouse, the Ritter Professor of Anthropology, with guiding him through the thesis process. He also cites a wrestling team catch phrase coined by a senior teammate during Monday’s first year at Princeton — “Be where your feet are” — with keeping himself focused. “When it’s time to be in the classroom, be fully attentive, be the best scholar you can be.”

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Buzzer beaters: Princeton athletes are polishing a scholarly thesis amid NCAA playoffs