Seniors have a lot on their plate first semester: having a social life, maintaining school work, applying to college, having a job and an internship, all while being expected to get at least six hours of sleep. However, for a select group of seniors, there is one more thing added to that plate: the SIP.
The Senior Independent Research Project (SIP) serves as the culmination of the Humanities and Arts students’ four years of study. This 18-22 page paper is their opportunity to research in-depth a topic of their choice and to present their results of that research in an essay or creative form to a panel of faculty members. “I decided to be an H&A student and do the SIP because I know it will prepare me for writing college papers,” senior Mitch Schuster said.
Senior Katie Seibert decided to do a creative project on poetry. Instead of writing the extended essay, students who opt to do a creative project are required to write an eight to 10 page paper, along with the project. Seibert decided to examine why the rate of depression and anxiety in millennials has increased in the past decade, and plans to portray this through a collection of poems. “I wanted to do a creative project because I think it is more interesting, so I decided to do an arts focus,” Seibert said. “But I still have to write a paper, so I am doing the research like everyone else with a humanities focus.”
Senior Sara Hodes is writing a full paper on the psychology behind cults. Hodes plans to look into how cults manipulate people into getting them to join, and how cults affect them. “I am excited to write this paper because it is about something I do not normally get to learn about in school,” Hodes said. “It is my chance to explore something different, which I think is one of the goals of the H&A program.”
The program is comprised of three main elements. First, as an underclassman, students take a set of required courses including enriched humanities sections of honors English and social studies. Second, students must complete one off-campus experience, which includes a study abroad, a university program or an internship. The third element is completing the capstone project of the SIP. “This year I took an internship period, which helped me get school credit and fulfill my humanities requirement,” Hodes said.
Run by Humanities and Arts program director Michelle Hanson, the program is open to any student in ninth grade and above who meets a series of requirements. Students must have a passion for some aspect of the humanities and/or the arts, to enroll in honors/AP level English and social studies courses and be able to present two positive teacher recommendations.
Hanson is always looking for new students to join the program. “I love running this program because of the students I get to work with,” she said. “I truly have the best job in the school.”
Follow @SIProjects on Twitter to keep up with this year’s seniors.