Haley Burns has longed believed that everyone has a spark of creativity even if they don’t believe they are artistic.

“As an art major, I have heard from other students taking art classes that they don’t think they are artistic at all,” said Burns, Pen Argyl, Pa. native and a senior studying fine arts and art history at Seton Hill University. “I think everyone, on some level, is creative.”

Burns is setting out to prove that through her Honors Program Capstone Project at Seton Hill by collecting doodles from people from a wide variety of backgrounds and researching the science behind doodling.

“I think doodling is the way that we can see people’s creativity even when they don’t see it in themselves,” Burns said.

For several months, Burns collected doodles from members of the Seton Hill community, their friends and family as well as people she knows from her hometown. The doodles come in all forms – from drawings on napkins and take-out menus to those doodles drawn during a class or meeting along notebook paper margins.

Burns is currently displaying the doodles she has collected at Seton Hill University’s Visual Arts Center, at 215 S. Pennsylvania Ave., Greensburg, where she will hold a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, November 20.

“Haley has always contributed a thoughtful and creative voice to the Honors Program,” said Christine Cusick, associate professor of English and Director of Seton Hill’s Honors Program. “The Honors Capstone Project invites students to respond to an intellectual curiosity through independent research. Her research into the cognitive implications of doodling does just this; it delves into academic research and most importantly interprets these findings for the larger community in an innovative and thoughtful way.”

While Burns’ completed project will be submitted in the spring 2015 semester, she has already uncovered some interesting findings.

“One thing that I am finding is that doodling – counter to what people might think – actually keeps people focused and on task, more than if they were simply daydreaming,” Burns said.

“Haley Burns is an outstanding student and her Honors Capstone Project is a well-conceived integration of her work as a BFA studio major with the Honors program. I'm looking forward to her project!” said Carol Brode, assistant professor of art and a faculty advisor on Burns’ project.