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Edith Hamilton Scholars Program

Inaugurated in 1999, The Edith Hamilton Scholars Program affords Bryn Mawr seniors an opportunity to pursue a unique course of study of particular interest to them while working with a mentor who has expertise relevant to the subject matter. Participation in the program is open to all rising seniors who desire to undertake a rigorous project, for which they receive neither credit nor grade, in addition to their regular academic courses. Scholars are chosen late in junior year through an application process that includes a written proposal and interview before a faculty and administrative committee. Following the completion of her project, each scholar delivers a convocation about her topic.

2021-2022 Scholar Projects

List of 9 items.

  • Alexis Alton '22

    History of Black representation and production in film, television, and streaming entertainment media

    Alexis is investigating the evolution of television and media from the studio system to the current era of streaming services. She is especially focusing on the implications of such changes like the increased presence of black performers and producers in epochal moments of film, television, and streaming services. She is intrigued by how different media change how black performers and producers access and influence the entertainment industry. These questions have grown from her own experiences as an actor, and she is passionate about understanding this history. Through conversations with Dr. Monk-Payton of Fordham University, Dorothy Claybourne Fellow Mr. Aaron Jackson, and working writer Ms. Rheerheeq Chainey, she has examined the modern media landscape through a variety of lenses. By analyzing and comparing streaming services’ offerings and various works of television, she is drawing conclusions about Hollywood representation and the cultural ramifications.
  • Allie Gorti '22

    Hindu Influences on the Western Counterculture Movement in the 20th century and contemporary pop culture

    Allie is investigating how the countercultural movement in the US in the mid 20th century was fundamentally influenced by the world's oldest religion. She will use this historical research to understand and identify how contemporary Western popular culture wellness movements retain that Hindu influence. Allie is currently working with Dr. Meredith Gaglio, a professor at LSU with knowledge of the counterculture movement who is guiding her research and giving feedback on her analysis of the cultural exchange.
  • Emily Kang '22

    Cultural History of Epilepsy
    Emily is investigating the historical and cultural factors that influence the understanding of epilepsy in different communities in order to explore the changing theories and discriminations of medical history as a whole. She is especially focused on cross-cultural medical communication and works with Dr. H. Yumi Kim, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, who is guiding her research. As she conducts interviews with patients and examines art, court cases, and media, Emily will use her research to build a mini-curriculum to share her findings with the public.
  • Hannah Shen '22

    Ethical Brands and Branding in the Beauty Industry

    Hannah is exploring the history of brands and companies that promote ethical values in the beauty industry. She would also like to analyze the current market in pursuit of developing her own brand. She is working with Beth Mealey of T.Rowe Price who is guiding her in how to analyze brands, markets, and industries, both historically and today. She is developing a brand perception map to visually capture the range of brands that have been purpose driven versus those geared towards the mass market. In addition, she will conduct interviews with beauty industry experts who work with marketing, finance, and social media influencers specializing in beauty to build a current state analysis of the industry in 2021. 
  • Madeline Richard '22

    The Science of Taste perception Applied to Chocolate Chip Cookies
    Madeline is investigating food’s psychological, social, and cultural connotations, and she hopes to apply this knowledge to chocolate chip cookies specifically due to their widespread prevalence and her personal interest in baking. She believes that they can convey both individual and collective principles and patterns, and, in doing so, speak more broadly about our surrounding society. Her conversations with Ms. Patterson Watkins (a food stylist, recipe developer, and culinary content creator), Dr. Daniel McCall (a professor researching psychology’s role in taste, flavor, and olfaction at Gettysburg College), and Dr. Julie Mennella (a researcher investigating the biochemistry of flavor and taste at the Monell Chemical Senses Center), as well as her independent reading, have guided her progression throughout her research, and she’s grateful for their insight!
  • Rory Powell '22

    Developing Music Therapies for Patients with Developmental Disorders
    ory is researching in the intersection of art and science, particularly as it manifests in music therapy. She’s worked with Nicole Spurgeon (MT) from Kennedy Krieger to explore groundbreaking research on Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT). NMT uses basic scientific processes, such as entrainment, to intentional apply musical rhythms, pitches, and harmonies as a therapeutic tool to remap signals in the brain after being exposed to injury or disease. After extensive reading from NMT texts, researching its application in recent scientific studies, and shadowing Ms. Spurgeon, Rory hopes to develop her own brief music therapy model for a patient.
  • Shreya Gandhi '22

    UN World Happiness Report as Applied to BMS
    Shreya is researching the quantification of happiness, beginning with the recently released UN World Happiness Report. She aims to apply what she learns about cultural approaches to happiness to the Bryn Mawr community and institutional positive psychology. Following her research, she has developed an experiment which tests the effectiveness of a happiness intervention in Upper School students and will be presenting a series of actionable steps to the school’s community that promote happiness, in the form of a Bryn Mawr Happiness Report. With the guidance of Dr. Justin Halberda, a psychology professor at Johns Hopkins, she has learned about positive psychology and cultural approaches to happiness and developed thorough research methodology for her experiment.
  • Sloane Huey '22

    The History and Influence of Women in Espionage and Intelligence Fields
    Sloane is passionate about the intersection of feminism and espionage against the backdrop of cultural representations and definitions of womenhood in the 20th and 21st centuries. She has worked with Amanda Ohlke, the Director of Adult Education at the International Spy Museum, who has helped to guide her research questions, and has provided an abundance of primary sources and intricate knowledge of female espionage. For her project, Sloane will be hosting an event at the International Spy Museum to share her research findings with the general public. Event attendees will compare modern day depictions of female spies to their real-life counterparts, examine the relationship between opportunity and effectiveness, and consider their own role within the workplace.
  • Stasia Kelly '22

    The Eve Archetype 
    Stasia is exploring her fascination with the origins and legacy of the archetype of Eve -- the mother of humanity, the original sinner, the original rebel. She is focusing on how contemporary cultural anxieties surrounding the ability to create new life -- through cloning and other technologies -- manifest themselves in Eve narratives in science fiction. Under the guidance of Professor Theresa Sanders of Georgetown’s Theology Department, she is exploring the early biblical influences of the Eve Archetype alongside more recent science fiction media, from The Giver to the HBO series Westworld. Ultimately, she will write science fiction short stories informed by this legacy, with the support of Steven Lubs of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society. 

2020-2021 Scholar Projects

List of 4 items.

  • Gaby Sequeira '21

    Gaby investigated the art found on decks of playing cards from an art historical and cultural comparative lens. Driven originally by her love of playing cards and card games, she pursued a research question about how culture influences the art found on the decks. She selected and analyzed decks from Japan, India, Sweden, and the Netherlands, and found that legal status of and attitudes toward gambling and gaming class shaped the art. Gaby delivered her findings about these cards to the community, sharing both the beauty and the complex histories that can be found on these objects. Gaby worked with Dr. Sonja Kelley, professor of Art History, Theory and Criticism at MICA, who specializes in the visual art of East Asia. 

  • Gillian Blum '21

    Gillian researched the relationship between history and musical theater in order to create a workbook to be used as a supplement to a middle school history curriculum. She narrowed her scope to three musicals -- Six, Les Miserables, and Hamilton -- and sought ways to use them as pedagogical tools for middle schoolers. The resulting workbook endeavors to help students with both historical knowledge and critical thinking about the past. She delivered the results of her work to the community, conveying both new ways of looking at musical theater and her own passion for the art form. Gillian worked with Dr. Gretchen Carlson, full-time lecturer in the Department of Music at Towson University. 
  • Julia Brinker '21

    Julia completed a project exploring common tropes found within horror movies, asking questions about what these movies reveal about our cultural and individual fears. In the movies Nightmare on Elm Street, Alien, and The Stepfather, she identified and analyzed the common tropes of The Final Girl, The Terrible Place, and, in her own contribution to the discourse about horror movies, The Perversion of Innocence. She delivered her findings about these movies to the community, arguing that despite plot and sub-generic differences, they share more in common when we consider what fears they evoke. Julie worked with Dr. Lorrie Palmer, professor in the Department of Electronic Media and Film at Towson University. 
  • Riya Khosla '21

    Riya researched the problems facing homeless veterans in Baltimore as well as the programs and supports available to support this population, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. She gained extensive knowledge both through research of the relevant sociological research and through interviews with people experiencing homelessness and those who work to support them. She used this knowledge to create an informational video to raise awareness about the needs of the homeless veteran population. She delivered her findings about the complex and interwoven problems to the community, as well as an excerpt from her film. Riya worked with Mr. Christopher Buser, Clinical Director of the Post-deployment Health Reintegration Program at the VA Medical Center and with Dr. Ann Elizabeth Montgomery, professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.