Seniors Take Scholarship to Next Level with Individual Studies


For Class 12 students who are interested in developing their unique passions into polished research endeavors, Chapin’s longstanding Individual Study program offers an invaluable opportunity. This year, during the fall and winter terms, an impressive 20 students embarked on a dizzying array of thought-provoking projects within and across multiple disciplines.

A voluntary yet robust part of the Upper School curriculum, Individual Studies foster independent thought, sophisticated skills and deepened learning. Students are first required to submit detailed proposals to Director of Academic Program Ilana Pergam, who oversees the program. Upon approval, the participants immerse themselves in their chosen subjects under the guidance of one or two faculty advisors.

Before spring break, two seniors – Anna Tsioulias and Ayanna Chatman – presented their winter-term studies to their teachers and classmates during a lively Zoom meeting on March 19.

After their engaging talks on “From Pimples to Cuts to Coughs: Comparing Roman Remedies for Everyday Ailments to Modern Medical Knowledge” (Anna) and “Crown: The Natural History of Black Hair,” (Ayanna), the virtual audience had the chance to ask the scholars questions and to comment on their imaginative and meticulously researched projects.

The fall-term students – Tallulah León, Elizabeth Rauenhorst, Alex Nuñez – shared their equally engrossing projects during a virtual Assembly on December 16.

Their topics were: “Using Computer Aided Design (CAD) to Model Amateur Rocket Components and The Assembly of The Mirage by AeroTech Inc.” (Tallulah), “An Examination of Cyclical Incarceration Within the Criminal Justice System” (Elizabeth), and “Home,” an original play (Alex).

Below is a full list of the 2020-21 Independent Study scholars, all of whom will have the opportunity to present their spectacular projects to the School community in the months ahead.

Ashfah Alam, “The Bangladesh Liberation War: A Search for Economic, Political, and Cultural Freedom,” a History Department project advised by Director of Academic Program and History teacher Ilana Pergam (winter term)

Violet Barnum, “The Art Behind Math and the Math Behind Music: Composing An Orchestra Piece Using the Fibonacci Sequence and the Golden Ratio,” a Math and Arts Departments project advised by Science and STEM teacher George Lakis (winter term)

Lauren Berthoumieux, “An Analysis of The Stigma of Depression and Seeking Mental Health Treatment in the Black Community,” a Counseling Department project advised by Head of Counseling Services Rona Shalev and Director of Middle and Upper School Admissions Xiomara Hall (winter term)

Ayanna Chatman, “Crown: The Natural History of Black Hair,” a History Department project advised by History teacher Stephanie Phillips (winter term)

Ariane de Gennaro, “A Comparison of Vergil’s Aeneid and Star Wars Episodes I-VI,” a World Languages (Latin) Department project advised by Classics teacher Cathy Bender (winter term)

Hana Dolan, “Truth versus Nationalism: An Exploration of Japan’s National Identity through the Nanjing Massacre,” a History Department project advised by History teacher Lauren Tartaglia (winter term)

Grace Howe, “Homo Religiosus: Humanity’s Search for Meaning in the Cosmos,” an English Department and Library project advised by Director of Annenberg Center for Learning and Research and Upper School Librarian Liza Oldham (winter term)

Rosie Kaissar, “The Perpetuation of Systemic Injustices: An Analysis of Brown v. Board of Education and Its Legacy,” a History Department project advised by History Department Head Ellen Baylor (winter term)

Tallulah León, “Using Computer Aided Design (CAD) to Model Amateur Rocket Components and The Assembly of The Mirage by AeroTech Inc.,” a Science Department project advised by Prasad Akavoor (fall term)

Reed Lessing, “An Investigation of Mental Health Smartphone Applications: Evaluating the Adolescent Perspective,” a Science Department project advised by Head of Counseling Services Rona Shalev (winter term)

Akosua Lewis, “Language or Dialect: Perspectives and Identity of the African American Vernacular English Language,” a World Languages project advised by Head of World Languages Department Inés Gómez-Ochoa (winter term)

Riley Neubauer, “The Square House on 16th and K Street” (historical fiction), an English Department project advised by English teacher Carlynn Houghton

Alex Nuñez, “Home” (an original play), an English Department project advised by English teacher Katherine Burd (fall term)

Alesia Radzyminski, “The ‘Muslim Ban’ in the Media,” a History Department project advised by Director of Academic Program and History teacher Ilana Pergam (winter term)

Elizabeth Rauenhorst, “An Examination of Cyclical Incarceration Within the Criminal Justice System,” a History Department project advised by History teacher Esther Krell (fall term)

Taylor Richter, “Gender Diversity of Leadership Teams in the Technology Industry: An Exploration of the Gender Inequality Gap,” a Mathematics Department project advised by Math teacher Deb Gomez (winter term)

Christina Salas, “The Effects of the U.S.-China Trade War on the Ford Motor Company,” a Mathematics Department project advised by Math teacher Stephen Bonnett (winter term)

Nia Satterfield Brown, “Racial Bias and Excessive Force in Policing: How White Supremacy Uses Violence to Brutalize Black Bodies and Continue the Cycle of Systemic Oppression” (creative non-fiction), an English Department project advised by English Department Head Jonathan Wilcove (winter term)

Mia Schwartz, “Irish Fiddle in Three Regions of Ireland,” a Music Department project advised by Music teacher Elizabeth Adler (winter term)

Anna Tsioulias, “From Pimples to Cuts to Coughs: Comparing Roman Remedies for Everyday Ailments to Modern Medical Knowledge,” a World Languages (Latin) and Science Departments project advised by Classics teacher Christopher Barnes (winter term)

Congratulations to these accomplished, curious and passionate scholars!