2011 Senior Projects Reflect Wide Array of Interests
Each year, the last gasp of Greenhills seniors’ academic energy is spent on senior projects — a unique aspect of a Greenhills education that provides seniors with the opportunity to pursue knowledge independently.All projects culminated in an oral presentation or performance at the Project Festival on Thursday, May 26.
Below is just a sampling of this year’s senior projects.
Video! Flute Senior Recital by A.J. Brandtneris
As a young musician who has been playing some sort of instrument for more than half my lifetime, I have performed countles times. From studio recitals in front of a handful of people to orchestra concerts with 2,500 audience members and approximately 600,000 more listening on the radio, each performance has given me a different experience. One experience I had never been exposed to, however, was performing in an individual recital where I was the main attraction. For my senior project, I chose to do just that. After putting together my recital from start to finish, practicing hard, and performing four pieces, I now know what it’s like to not only create and run a show, but also to perform as a solo musician.
Click here to watch a clip of A.J. performing.
Triathlete Transformation by Katie Sims
As I walk through the halls some may know that I’m a senior, that I’m an athlete, some may know I play basketball, but there are few who know about my life as a triathlete. There are few people who are able to tell me what a triathlete is. This is what sparked my interest for the Triathlete Transformation. I began competing in triathlons two years ago, and ever since then it has become a huge part of my life. Since then I have participated in Sprint, Olympic and Half Ironman distances. As a multi-sport athlete my goal is to expose the world of triathlon to those who may have no knowledge. In order to teach those around me, it was necessary that I learn some more myself. Over the past two weeks I have submerged myself into triathlons, learning about the perfect training plans, nutrition plans, while speaking with nutritionist and coaches from all levels of competition in order to understand every aspect of triathlon. What I have learned will not just benefit a triathlete, but will also teach multi-sport athletes, ranging from soccer to basketball players, the precautions needed to become a successful athlete on and off the court or field. As triathlon season is in full swing I am closely approaching one of my biggest races of the year and plan to share personal stories of racing and training from the past two years, which hopefully will spark some interest in others to give it a tri.
Pathogenic Mouth Guards by Viggy Parr
Mouth guards are an important piece of equipment in contact sports, but the conventional, bulky mouth guards are uncomfortable. This discomfort causes athletes to constantly take the mouth guards in and out to drink and to talk, getting the bacteria from their hands onto their mouth guards in the process. The purpose of this senior project was to compare the amounts of pathogens present on the new, thin ProtechDent™ mouth guard versus the Ultra STC Shock Doctor® bulky, conventional mouth guard after a team practice. Five players on a team were given new Shock Doctor mouth guards and five were given new ProtechDent mouth guards. The mouth guards were removed from the players’ mouths after practice and swabbed for bacteria. Results showed that the Shock Doctor mouth guards have much more pathogenic bacteria after a practice than the ProtechDent mouth guards.
Musical Photographs by Alia Phillips
For my senior project, I decided to explore my two favorite things: music and photography. I chose six classic songs (such as Killer Queen, Black Magic Woman, and Paint It Black) and translated how I perceived the music and lyrics into a photographic image. During my project, I learned a lot about the photographic process, and how to conceptualize an image from start to finish.
Click here to see more of Alia’s musical photographs.
Three Guys, Burgers and Fries by Curtis Heisel, Alex Blough, Kevin Watroba
Everyone loves a cheeseburger. There is something special about a perfectly cooked beef patty sandwiched in between a bun smothered in delicious toppings. For this reason we took it upon ourselves to travel throughout Ann Arbor on a quest to find the best cheeseburger. After visiting thirteen establishments ranging from the greasiest to the fanciest weighing the various factors of taste, health and price, we can proudly say we have accomplished the task. We have put together a journal with articles from every restaurant and even a history of the glorious cheeseburger, produced a short film about our experience, and teamed up with professional chef, alumni and our mentor Andrew Benjamin to serve our presentation guests some delicious sliders.
Video! Education Today by Joanna Lingenfelter, Julie Lingenfelter, Emma Harman
For our senior project, we looked back on our years in school and reflected on the education process. We made a short documentary on the Philosophy of Education. We interviewed about 14 Greenhills students specifically choosing students who are about to take control of their education (i.e. going to college in the next two years). We asked about 50 questions that were specific to each person’s educational experience as well as broader questions about the philosophy of education. In the end we narrowed it down to six specific questions that focused on the idea of school being our understood method of education. Our mentor for this project was Blair Beuche, the head of a charter school in the area.
Click here to see a video clip of the group’s presentation.
Herpetofanna Survey by Shane Vorva
Herpetofauna, reptiles and amphibians, are some of the most neglected animals in nature. Worldwide, these creatures are experiencing negative trends, but information on local species is hard to find. My senior project was a statewide survey of reptiles and amphibians. This project generated data for the Michigan Herp Atlas Project and other research institutions. Over a two- week period, I searched Michigan State parks, metro parks, and other wildlife conservation areas for species. My results reflected the worldwide movement. Southeastern Michigan, which is supposed to contain eighty percent of Michigan’s hereptofauna species, is losing biodiversity. Locations are losing once common amphibians like leopard frogs, pickerel frogs, and red-backed salamanders. Isolated populations of reptiles like Northern Ring-necked snakes and eastern massasauga rattlesnakes can no longer be found. Hopefully my study is an outlier, not a statewide development. In the future I will continue to contribute to the research of these cryptic creatures. A better understanding of Herpetofauna is the first critical step in protecting them.
Annual Golf Scramble by Melanie Bahti, Anna Davis and Jonathan Kanellakos
Combining philanthropy, business, and organization, we continued the annual Greenhills Golf Scramble in order to raise funds to support our class gift, the Senior Path. During the weeks leading up to the event, we learned about what it takes to produce a successful fundraiser, from obtaining sponsorships to organizing registrations. The scramble was a great success and we are excited to share our experience with the Greenhills community. Our presentation will cover the logistics of the scramble, real-world skills that we learned, and what we would have done differently.
Uncovering a Roman Legacy by Rebecca Beery
I went on the slightly more unconventional route of picking a senior project and chose to go to Northumberland, England on an archeological dig. More specifically, the site was about a mile from Hadrian’s Wall on a Roman fort called Vindolanda. On this dig, I learned how to excavate, survey, and clean ancient items. One of the unique things about this particular site is that it’s very clay-packed. Over many centuries, this clay has acted as a barrier for oxygen and has preserved the 2000-year-old items wonderfully. I didn’t find anything “world-changing,” but I did find a bronze belt-buckle, pieces of Samian pottery, roof-tiles, and very rusty nails.
It just felt great to be a part of something, and to know I was helping a real scientific group to piece together the lives people who lived centuries and centuries ago. I met some great people who have the same interests I do! What I found the most fascinating is knowing that I was walking exactly where the Romans had walked, and found objects that they had made with their own hands.
In the Raw. “Living Foods” and their Benefits by Nina Scheinberg
For my senior project, I decided to explore the world of living foods. On May 8th, I began my diet, which consisted only of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and other raw foods. For two weeks, I tried to make my diet as raw as possible, and it was definitely a challenge. I found that for me, this diet had no real health benefits (I ended up feeling weaker and more tired), but for someone with a rather unhealthy diet, switching to this meal plan would most likely yield surprising changes including weight loss and a more satisfied feeling (instead of feeling uncomfortably full).
I also kept a steady online journal detailing what I ate and how I felt on a day-to-day basis. My blog turned out to be about half of my project, as it took a fair amount of time every day to update it.