Independent study inspires seniors through winter term

The senior project program allows students to explore interests outside the traditional courses of instruction.

February 20, 2023

Eric Zhang '23 helps a fourth grader extract DNA from strawberries as part of his senior project.

Every Exeter student appreciates how the Harkness approach emphasizes learning through discussion and collaboration. But every once in a while, you just want to go it alone.

Senior projects allow students in their final year of study to explore a topic of their choice, working largely independently with guidance from a faculty-mentor. The program allows Exeter students to study areas of interest that fall outside traditional course descriptions and develop their own curriculum.

This winter, five members of the class of 2023 took advantage of the opportunity to dig into projects in the arts and sciences:

Alysha Lai, “The Plane Play: An Audience Interactive Comedy”
In The Plane Play, written and directed by Alysha, the audience chooses a flight and journey for each performance. The passengers on the flight are a collection of characters: a scared lady, a young couple, a criminal (or two), etc. Every performance is a staged reading and has the potential for a different ending.
Rodrigo Spinola e Castro, “Building a Magnetometer for Space Weather Studies"
In this project, Rodrigo built a magnetometer to measure changes in the local magnetic field caused by solar phenomena.
Eric Zhang, “Exploring the Effectiveness of Basic Genetic Experiments for Learning"
Eric spent the term working to create a 90-minute genetic curriculum where students learned about basic techniques and concepts like DNA extraction and the structure of DNA.
Chloe Becker, “Away”
Chloe’s presentation shares three songs from her album "Away", which tells the story of an astronaut who crashes into a planet that seems to appear out of nowhere when traveling through space. The full album will be performed live in spring term.
Aisha Janus, "Fragrance: Consumer Preference and Formulation"
Aisha has worked on the analysis of perfume notes and ingredients in order to find those with a correlation to a perfume’s success with American consumers. My project culminates with a formulation of such an optimal perfume.