Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2022

Document Type

Undergraduate Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies


-- College of Arts and Sciences --


Dr. Cheryl Getz (Leadership Studies)


When defining empathy, the most common definition is “stepping into someone else’s shoes.” Along with this definition, many also share that it is important to have empathy and be an empathetic person. Yet, when thinking about its importance and this definition, a few questions arise: can we actually step into someone else’s shoes? Can we truly understand what someone else is feeling and experiencing if we are not them or do not hold the same identities that they do? Through a deeper exploration of existing empathy building certificate programs and empathy research, this thesis project explores these exact questions and finds ways that we can strengthen our empathy by utilizing certain practices and activities. In addition to investigating and looking into existing methods, this project offers new ideas and a new empathy building certificate program. This new program will be the first of its kind and aims to help our society get closer to understanding what someone of different identities, other than their own, feels like and experiences. Not only is this program important in helping us all be better people but better leaders, which is exceptionally important for those in positions of power, who are making decisions on behalf of others, and for White-identifying folks.