The New School Graduating Class of 2021 Thesis Highlights | Part 1

The New School
5 min readApr 30, 2021


Despite the immense challenges the past year has posed, the graduating class of 2021 has created work that inspires, teaches, and even challenges us. Leading up to The New School’s commencement ceremony on May 14, 2021, we’ll be highlighting their work and accomplishments so our entire community can continue to learn from and support their research and art practices.

Additional work from the Parsons School of Design Class of 2021 will be featured virtually throughout the summer. More information about this year’s Parsons Festival will be available soon.

Congrats, grads!

Maggie Boyce

BFA Fine Arts, 2021

“My oil paintings depict my perceived reality and have been filtered through a lens of compassion and understanding towards myself. I use my works to explore thoughts, concepts and situations that keep me preoccupied and overthinking. This leads me to themes such as losses, longings, and paranoias. Many times this process requires a look into my memories which is where I pull some of my imagery from. I also derive imagery from the natural world, this allows me to explore a connection between human and nature. I view some of my works as a memento mori for my future self.”

Check out more of Maggie’s work on instagram at @maggieboyce_art

Ana Holschuh & Julie Vantrease

Holschuh: BAFA Integrated Design, BA Global Studies, 2021
Vantrease: BFA Integrated Design, 2021

“Asked by Kids is a global hub of arts-based educational children’s resources that are free, bilingual, and open source. Our goal is to make information more digestible for kids globally, by co-creating resources that are built from children’s own questions and ideas. Whether it be through a coloring book or interactive workshop, our work spans multiple focus areas, from Covid-19, democratic processes, participatory budgeting and supply chains to children’s rights, peaceful protesting, and mindfulness practices.

“Our research direction is grounded in participatory design methodologies, as we believe that giving children a seat at the design table creates the most accessible resources for children. Within our own design practice, as illustrators and aspiring children’s book authors, we have seen time and time again how children’s resources are being built without any input from children. We see this as a flawed design process as it excludes and devalues children’s knowledge, which we aim to center from beginning to end.

“We would like to thank our amazing partners: Artists Striving to End Poverty, Center for the Future of Arizona, Equity for Children, and Tinkuy Marca Academy. Thanks to these organizations, we are able to ensure that our resources and workshops reach children who need them most, especially children facing the digital divide.”

Check out more of Ana and Julie’s work on instagram at @askedbykids or by clicking here.

Elliott Ryan

BA Liberal Arts focusing in Religious Studies, ’21

“My thesis is entitled Satanic Panic: Broadcasting Outrage and Paranoia into America’s Living Room. It’s a long-form essay that examines how television, and specifically The X-Files, broadcasts Satanic panic conspiracies, tropes, and imagery into American homes. Through doing this, they simultaneously reinforce and subvert these Satanic cult conspiracy narratives. The essay is accompanied by several collages, including ones I’ve made using screenshots of The X-Files episodes I analyze. This thesis was spurred by my desire to understand how the former presidential administration manipulated media to foment outrage and paranoia. Through my research, I have found that the Satanic panics have directly influenced the conspiracy narratives that the 45th president peddled, ultimately culminating in the QAnon cult and attack on the Capitol. In fact, I just recently presented at the Spring 2021 Religious Studies Roundtable about QAnon, cults, and conspiracies. In addition to Satanism, I am interested in other new religious movements, religion in media, and Queering religion. I am looking for gainful employment and will later be applying to Divinity School.”

Check out more of Elliott’s work on instagram at @eewryan

Bhavya Gupta

MFA Design and Technology, 2021

“Participatory and iterative design techniques are the core of my practice. I design with the people to create human-centric experiences in order to solve complex problems. My work focuses on design-oriented solutions at the intersection of storytelling and technology. My interest ranges from Service Design, Accessibility, Data-Driven Design, Storytelling, and Program Management.”

Check out more of Bhavya’s work on instagram at @thehighbrow, on Twitter at @thehighbroww, and on her website:

⁣Leading up to The New School’s Commencement Ceremony on May 14, 2021, we’ll be highlighting graduating student work and projects. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more work from our amazing graduating students! Congrats to all!

Have a thesis or final project you’d like to share? Submit it here.



The New School

A university in New York City for scholarly activists, fearless artists, and convention-defying designers established in 1919. #100YearsNew