Vermont Academy offers an elective for seniors entitled the Senior Seminar. Each student investigates, plans, and produces a creative project in a field of his or her choice. Some class time is devoted to presentations that will help the students do just this; however, most time is spent working on the projects. The projects involve exploration of student-chosen subjects with minimum restrictions, in a direction and depth that are new to the students. The course is team taught and the teachers serve as facilitators and managers to help the students develop the skills necessary to successfully complete projects of this type. The projects must involve work with adults outside of VA; these may be mentors, interviewees, professionals observed at work, etc. Throughout the course, and most specifically at the end of each semester, the students publicly present the progress and product of research and their interpretation of the meaning and application of that research. Below are brief descriptions of this year's seminar projects.
Dating back to my early days on the playground, I have always been curious about the differences between boys and girls. On the surface, one can see that boys wear blue and girls wear pink; boys want to be firemen and girls hope to become princesses. However, Senior Seminar has given me the opportunity to study what really makes us different – not what we can see with the naked eye, but what scientists, teachers, and parents come to learn through close study and observation. In the first semester, I have developed a greater understanding of gender differences; neurologically, environmentally, historically, and emotionally. My readings began with studying the fundamentals of Psychology, and then honing in on gender studies itself, by closely comparing the two books by Louann Brizendine M.D., “The Female Brain” and “The Male Brain.” I have met with a licensed psychologist to discuss the subject area, interviewed boys and girls of different ages, and have only just begun. I look forward to progressing in my project, and am excited for all the information I will learn!
Sejung Kim - "Apple syndrome"
Why Apple? What makes Apple so different from the other companies that it dominates the world? Out of many factors, I believe that Apple’s popularity and success lies greatly in CEO Steve Jobs. He reshaped not just one industry but four: computing (the Mac), music (the iPod), mobile communications (the iPhone), and movies (Pixar). By analyzing one of the industries, I will analyze the CEO’s influence, and also other factors of success.
My Senior Seminar project focuses on saving the arts in public schools. I will be making a catalogue of all Vermont Academy owned artwork on campus that local children can view and see how important art can be in one's life. I will also be making a Scholastic Art Magazine that focuses on Bernard Hoyes, an alumnus of Vermont Academy. This will help children learn about one artist and how significant his work is. They will also be able to take a field trip with their class in order to see all of his work.
For my senior seminar project I'm working on the construction of a radio telescope for Vermont Academy. A radio telescope is a device that receives radio signals generated by astronomical objects and allows astronomers to observe things that can't be seen with conventional telescopes. I'm planning to pursue a college education in electrical engineering, and this project is an incredible opportunity for me to explore that field.
For my senior seminar project, I am creating a documentary for the 2010-2011 basketball season. With a brand new coach and new players, the basketball team is hoping to turn things around. My challenge is to create a sense of this while also being apart of the basketball team. I will show the ins and outs of the basketball program here at VA while also overseeing the project during the season. I believe this will be a great year for the basketball team, and it is the perfect time for a documentary. Watch Ryan's video here.
My senior Seminar is based on the question, "What is the nutritional significance of Gatorade and how does it help athletes and how is it made?" To answer these questions, I first had to research the human body and how certain nutrients were distributed throughout the body. I then continued my research by visiting a Gatorade factory and learning how it is made. My final product was a sports energy drink of my own in which I named VAde.