Senior Project 2.0 Goes Live

School News
February 4, 2019- Since the start of the second semester, cohorts of 12th graders have been meeting with lead teachers to put their Senior Project plans into action. Implementation of cohorts is just one of many additions to the school’s capstone 12th grade program, which now requires all seniors to complete a project and to integrate some sort of real-world component such as an internship, job shadowing, or interviews with experts in their chosen subject matter. For an in-depth look at Senior Project 2.0, take a look at this article. 

Work on Senior Projects actually began last year in an Ideation class that was a part of the Personal Growth Curriculum. After taking a break to focus on the college search during the past semester, they've resumed work and created the project descriptions that follow. With 40 total projects this year, the descriptions will be broken into in two sets. The second set will appear in the March issue of Tuesday News Monthly

In the meantime, save the date and make plans to join us for Senior Project Presentations at the 2019 Academic Symposium on Wednesday, May 15 and Friday, May 17. 

Andie Billingsley

Writing a Fantasy Novel
I plan to write a fantasy novel set in a world of my own creation. I’ve loved to read since I was little, and have wanted to write this particular story for the last year. To supplement my creative writing, I will research and write four papers: one each on character creation, worldbuilding, narrative structure, and fictional language creation. I plan to learn about the process of writing a novel, from start to finish. 

Emma Blakslee

High Altitude Pollinators
Bees and pollinators provide an agricultural and environmental service that is invaluable to world health and often overlooked. In my project, I am studying how pollinators impact life at high altitudes. My research will include how bees influence the health of the environment and agriculture along with the rapidly growing practice of using bees for medicine. I am shadowing a local beekeeper at Knapp Ranch in Lake Creek and conducting interviews with other experts in the field. I will use my research and experience to create a booklet to educate community members about how bees impact their high altitude lifestyles and inspire them to take steps to support local pollinators. This booklet will include information about local pollinators, what local flowers to plant each season, medicinal uses for bee products, and recipes using honey. 

Bobby Bolyard

Sound Science, Music Culture & Music Production
During my second semester, I look forward to broadening my understanding of sound science, music culture, and music production as a whole. I hope to work closely with experts in music production itself, but also to gain insight into the importance music holds in different cultures. As I navigate these different interviews, I aim to get real-world experience working in music. In addition, I will be working closely with a mentor to learn a new music production program called Ableton Live increasing my technological literacy and developing skills in music production. 

Jack Burch

Genetic Algorithms
The subject of my senior project is genetic algorithms, which are a type of computer program that teaches itself by simulating evolution. They test out different solutions and the best ones are combined or “crossbred” to make an even better solution. The process repeats until it’s produced a near-perfect solution. My product is a program that can use this idea to turn random shapes into aerodynamic 3D objects. My written component is a research paper on the history of genetic algorithms and a technical paper about how my code runs. My project is important to the real world because computer science is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States right now and learning more about it can help me get a better understanding of the field. My real world component is a series of interviews with people who are currently working in the computer science field, as well as publishing all my code online for other people to use and review. 

Lamar Campbell

A Preschool Scholarship
For my senior project, I plan on creating a scholarship for preschool students in the Vail Valley. In the Vail Valley, there is a shortage of preschools available to families, and most middle and low-income families here cannot afford preschool for their children. My product will be a business plan consisting of how this scholarship will work, including a list of donors, the money they are donating and for how long, and how the recipient of the scholarship will be determined. My written component will be portfolio based, containing three separate papers all containing information I have researched that is necessary for me to develop a successful scholarship. This project is important to the real world because early childhood education lays the foundation for all future education, social development, and human development. 

Shane Cole

Buddist Concepts & Love
For my senior project, I will be learning about love and how we can apply Buddhist concepts to the emotion so that I can practice true love with myself, my loved ones, my community, and the world. My product will be a short documentary exploring Buddhist concepts that we can apply to how we love. This film will include interviews with a Buddhist Monk, a psychologist who practices mindfulness, and a politician who believes love is necessary for democracy. I will be working with a professional filmmaker to learn the process of making a documentary and to make sure my product is the best it can be. I will also write a research paper outlining how we can all practice true love with the help of Buddhism while explaining the process of filmmaking.

Maddy Cooper

Real Issues Modern Teens Face
I plan to write a script that is by teenagers, for teenagers, and about teenagers in an effort to portray some of the real issues that modern teens face. In movies today, the lives of teens are often exaggerated or completely fabricated, giving high schoolers, like me, the skewed impression that their problems are taboo or unrelatable. Through interviews with real high schoolers around the United States as well as professionals in this subject, I hope to create a realistic-fiction narrative that accurately addresses the issues that modern teens face such as hookup culture, self-confidence, and social media. The characters and story will be based on the research I gather from my interviews. This will allow me to create a script that is both entertaining and shows that teens are not alone in facing various issues. I will then work with Chloe Pesso to make this script into a movie. While we don't intend to provide a platform specifically for discussion, we do plan on sharing the videos on Youtube and Instagram in hope of reaching a wider audience with our story and message. 

Ava Cuningham

Public Art
I plan to learn about the history, process, and importance of public art. In order to do this, I will learn about the behind-the-scenes process of picking artwork for public display through an internship with Art in Public Places in Vail. However, I will also go through this process as an artist, and submit my own artwork for consideration for public viewing. I will see my own artwork go from a sketch to a painting and hopefully, be displayed in Vail. By researching and producing public art, I will be able to deepen my understanding and appreciation of what is involved with placing art in public areas. Finally, I hope my final painted mural will be displayed in Vail and express a positive, local’s view of Vail that would start healthy conversations about our community. 

Chris Davis

The Northern Crusades
My plan is to study the Northern Crusades which took place in the Baltics. I am looking to study the effects that certain battles had on the crusades and subsequently Europe. For my product, I will write a professional journal article and pair it with computer simulations of key battles that took place. My written component will be comprised of a research paper on The Northern Crusades and the battles, as well as a literary analysis of two primary sources written during the time. The project is authentic because I would be writing a journal article that could be reviewed by at least a college-level history journal. Through the simulation, I would be creating a way to share information in an informative and entertaining way that could be put online. 

Lauren Dirvonas

Eastern Medicine
Though I have grown up accustomed to western medicine, my experience with acupuncture, massage therapy, and Chinese herbs has sparked an interest in eastern medicine. In my senior project, I will study eastern medicine and its effect on the human body. It is important that we open our perspectives to different practices from cultures outside our own, especially if they allow us to lead a more enjoyable life. By spreading the knowledge of eastern medicine, I hope to equip my community with the skills to live a balanced lifestyle through this medicine. My short book about eastern medicine will explain its philosophy, evaluate its benefits, and provide steps for the reader to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, I plan to write two different papers using my online research and interviews of professionals in this field of study. In one paper I will research the history and science of eastern medicine and in the other, I will construct a persuasive thesis to show the benefits of the medicine. Combined, these elements will educate our community about a scarcely known medicine with great potential.

Bridget Donovan

Behavioral Economics and Marketing
I plan to explore what drives people to purchase items and the psychology behind it through behavioral economics and marketing. I am interested in behavioral economics and marketing and what falls beneath both of those topics like psychology, branding, business, and also how social media platforms contribute to successful businesses. These subjects will also be the focus of my research paper. I will be designing a new look for a product and reworking the entire website and social media platforms with support from Mountain Town Coffee. I will be working with a psychologist, a mentor in web design, and someone from a New York based behavioral economics company in order to connect with and gain knowledge from people in different communities. Through my study, I hope to explore the science behind why a product is profitable through behavioral economics and marketing. 

Sammy Gish

Being a Musician
I am going to delve into all aspects of being a musician, ranging from the individual to the industry as a whole. I am going to write an essay, guided by research, about the scientific and cultural significance of certain types of music, as well as the impact they have had on me. I will then write my own album and go through the process of uploading it to Spotify. Additionally, I will be doing a series of expert interviews with musicians and songwriters, talent managers, and talent agencies in an effort to connect the individuality and intimacy of art to the industry essentially running it. The last portion of my project will be shadow days at Highline Sports and Entertainment, which will teach me the processes of putting on an actual performance and working with musicians. I will also write a 10-page paper with the purpose of connecting the individual and art to the industry. 

Henry Heaydon

Restoring a Not-So-Collectible Car
I plan to explore car restoration and maintenance for my project. Typically, people choose to restore vintage cars that are worth quite a bit of money.  I am restoring a 1995 Honda Accord back to its former glory, at home, using tools that are very common. I have grown up around cars and have a great passion for them. The goal for this project is to restore a non-classic car on a budget and show car enthusiasts, or indeed anyone, that you don’t need a classic car worth one hundred thousand dollars or more to justify a restoration. I will be writing a build sheet to document what I have done to the car, and doing a research write up comparing the condition of similar 1995 Accords that have lived their lives in different parts of the country.

Tim Herwig

Building a Functional, 3D Printed, Prosthetic Hand
My senior project explores the process of designing, building, and testing a functional, 3D printed, mechanical hand that could be sold to a customer. My entire academic career has been just that, academic. I haven't had the opportunity to take principles learned in biology, physics, and computer science and apply them to something tangible; this is what my project is. I will be writing about my personal process and reviewing literature pertaining to prosthetics and mechanical limbs. I also am writing a biography of Hugh Hurr, the father of modern prosthetics. My product will be will be rigorously tested and redesigned as if it is a viable prosthetic that will be sold to someone in need. In my project, I will learn skills that I may use in my future career, and also make connections with people with similar careers as a resource for the future.

Hannah Hopkins

Early Childhood Education and Children's Books
For my senior project, I will be studying early childhood education and development in order to successfully write and illustrate a children’s book. To this day, books that my parents read to me as a kid have stuck with and affected me. For my written component of the project, I will be writing two separate papers, one focuses on early childhood education and development, while the other focuses on what goes into writing a children’s book. I will be interning at the Family Learning Center in Edwards to gain perspective on what it is children want and need to see in a book. From research on how children’s brains develop and grow, and interactions with kids, I will gain the knowledge necessary to craft an children’s book. I hope my book will give children a story that helps to develop their authenticity, kindness, and emotional intelligence. 

Audrey Howell

A Workout to Prevent Ballet Injuries
For my senior project, I will be studying common injuries in the hip, how ballet can cause those injuries, and the best way to prevent them. I have been dancing for 14 years, and I have seen multiple friends and fellow company members have to walk away from dance because of injuries to their labrums. Through my research, I will hopefully be able to create a 5-10 minute workout designed just for dancers to do before class, rehearsal, or even a performance. The Vail Valley Academy of Dance has graciously allowed me to take the first five minutes of the advanced ballet class to teach this workout for three continuous weeks. I will be taking data from my fellow dancers on how the workout is helping their overall performance, and if they feel like their hip is more stable and stronger. Every pre-professional dancer has an average of almost two injuries per year, taking them out of performances and away from their passions, but I believe that if we could create a short and effective workout to prevent these injuries, then more dancers can stay dancing.   

Kailin Kerzner

Developing and Marketing A Unique New Dog Toy
Through this project, I plan to study areas as diverse as dog psychology, pet toy market research, marketing, and product design. I have grown up with dogs my whole life and have observed them through their lifespans. Recently, I had an idea for a unique dog toy based on observing our newest puppy. This project gives me the opportunity to actually take an idea and move it through the design, production, and marketing stages. I have an interest in marketing and business but have not had an opportunity to pursue this interest in a real way. There will be ups and downs in trying to make this dog toy a reality and eventually trying to market it. Half of my written component will detail this journey, while the other half will be my chance to practice writing the market research part of a business plan. This project provides an excellent opportunity to pursue my interest in marketing before committing to that as a major in college. This product will be an actual dog toy that can be used by people in the community and beyond. Learning how to turn ideas into actual products will serve me well both now and in the future. 

Kate Kirwood

Sleep and the Unconscious Mind
Sleep is an essential part of maintaining balance and health in life. This relationship is only recently being researched and very little is known about it. In my project, I plan to study the neurological and psychological aspects of sleep and dive into the unconscious mind through the interpretation of dreams. I am an insomniac and therefore have been interested in sleep ever since I was 14 years old. Becoming aware of one's unconscious enhances one’s self-awareness, reduces stress, and promotes emotional health. I will create three to five interpretations of my dreams and their meaning in the form of artwork. To share what I have learned and experienced, I will create a pamphlet that has background information on the importance and benefits of sleeping as well as a step by step guide to having a dream journal, interpreting those dreams, and using those dreams to better your life. 

Peter Littman

Engaging Adolescents in Jazz
I started playing saxophone in sixth grade. By ninth grade, I was frequenting jazz clubs of New York. I want to share my love of jazz by researching successful marketing techniques in the music industry. Combining proven techniques with an internship at Vail Jazz, I will optimize the organization’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. Engaging adolescents in jazz will deepen their appreciation for the arts while connecting our multigenerational community. A successful project will demonstrate that attracting young audiences to jazz is not about changing the music but changing the context in which is it perceived.

Carly Lloyd

Water & Land Conservation
I plan to study water and land conservation in Summit and Eagle counties as well as the desert around Glen Canyon Dam. I am interested in this because our public lands and wild spaces are in danger of being destroyed completely and irreparably if we do not speak up and stand up for them. I will create a collection of creative writings and a video highlighting the cultural importance of the wild waterways. My written component will consist of research papers on water policy, history, and laws in Summit and Eagle counties, as well as biographies on conservation authors and leaders. This project matters to the real world because the status of our public lands and water sources effects all of us and our livelihoods. I will send my collection to a publisher and potentially choose some pieces to send to an outdoor or conservation magazine in order to broaden my reach past the VMS community.  

The second half of Senior Project Previews will appear in the March 2019 issue of Tuesday News Monthly