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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.

2024-2025 Scholar Projects

List of 8 items.

  • Madelyn Dunstone

    Madelyn is investigating the portrayal of women in historic paintings, particularly of the Renaissance and Romanticism periods, and the negative effect of the male gaze in artwork of that time. She wonders how she can "dissect the male gaze by creating paintings of [her] own." Her research will inspire her work in three to four large format paintings. She hopes to connect with a mentor who has a background in art history, especially those periods she plans to research.
  • Marisol Grose

    With her research, Marisol hopes to answer the question: "how do current policies and economic incentives influence companies to invest in sustainable practices?" She is especially interested in Corporate Social Responsibility and what leads companies to develop more environmentally sustainable initiatives. She would benefit from working with a mentor in the sustainable practices division of their corporation or someone who works for a company known for its sustainable practices and policies. Marisol would also like a mentor with experience in economics and environmental impact.
  • Devin Hanson

    Devin is intrigued by the idea that women's exposure to idealized versions of love through their consumption of various media, such as books, movies, shows, songs, and even social media, could alter their perceptions of love. She plans to center her research on the psychology behind this relationship. She is seeking a mentor with a background in social psychology, particularly someone who has studied the connection between love and the brain. 
  • Lily Kerr 

    Lily will be working on a sustainable and accessible design for the proposed campus renovations in our Upper School. She is also interested in how outdoor learning spaces may fit into these building plans. Her work has grown out of an impact project she completed this past year on the same topic. Lily is hoping for a mentor with a background in educational building design specializing in sustainability and accessibility. 
  • Kathryn Kondner

    Kathryn will be researching the commodification of outdoor clothing and brands, and how corporations have "capitalized on this desirable counterculture to sell the dirtbag fantasy." She is interested in learning about how this has developed over time into a profitable industry, with companies carefully crafting their brands around this aesthetic. Kathryn would benefit from a mentor who could provide historical and sociological context for this trend, particularly someone who is knowledgeable about the "dirtbag" lifestyle. A good mentor for Kathryn may also be someone familiar with the history and development of environmentally-centered businesses, such as Patagonia.
  • Lea Mattar

    Lea would like to learn more about CRISPR - Cas9 technology and how it can be applied to the treatment or prevention of various diseases. After first learning more about how CRISPR - Cas9 works and is used, she plans to narrow her research to focus on its application in a specific disease or mutation. Lea is excited to partner with a mentor working in this field, especially someone who is using CRISPR technology to treat or prevent diseases or mutations, such as sickle cell disease or MEN2A.
  • Alkinoey Tsapatsis 

    Alkinoey is fascinated with the explosion of artificial intelligence in society. She wonders about gender bias in AI systems and the ripple effect of this bias on everything from the hiring process to photos being blocked on social media. She is seeking a mentor who has a background in the ethical and/or political uses of AI, particularly someone employed in the ethics division of AI within an organization or working to develop policy around ethical AI use.
  • Hannah Zhang

    Hannah wants to learn more about how "evolving perceptions of Confucian patriarchal values, specifically concerning gender roles and societal pressures in education and career" have influenced birth rate trends in East Asia over time. She would benefit from a sociology mentor, particularly one with an East Asian specialization. We would love to find Hannah a Chinese-speaking mentor or, even better, someone based in China, if possible.

2023-2024 Scholar Projects

List of 8 items.

  • Cadence Cherot 

    Cadence is using her project to explore the potential of hope in a world of existential absurdism, and is doing so through a look at absurd heroes in literature and philosophy. She comes to this project by way of her admiration for the writing of Albert Camus, especially his essay “The Myth of Sisyphus.” She ardently hopes that in her project she can introduce her peers to the joys of philosophy “without making them struggle through long syllogisms and niche jargon,” and instead in a more relevant format. Cadence is interested in finding an expert in literature or philosophy who can guide her already growing reading list and talk over some of the ideas she finds along the way. 
  • Cecily Lowther

    Cecily is examining “The Roads to Bryn Mawr” through the lenses of local history and public policy. She is interested in understanding how the development of highways like I-95, Route 40, and Route 70 had both short and long term impacts on local communities. She hopes to do research in a variety of modalities, such as interviewing local residents and community organizers impacted by these roads as well as gaining an understanding of how public policy brought these roads where they are today. She is in need of a mentor who can guide this project through local public policy experience and knowledge. She also seeks connections with community organizations and individuals who may have first hand knowledge of these local histories. 
  • Elisabeth Stevens

    Elisabeth is passionate about understanding everything she can about bird vocalization. Combining her loves of naturalism/ecology, the outdoors, and human musical vocality, she is interested in understanding the mechanics and social adaptations of how and why birds make the sounds they do. Why are bird sounds so various? How and why did they evolve these different vocalizations? She will benefit from a mentor with experience in evolutionary biology, and/or especially ornithology.
  • Kenzie Brice

    Kenzie is investigating the connection between architecture and disease, hoping to culminate her project by creating architectural models of notable sites. She wonders how European architecture changed in response to disease and cleanliness during periods of epidemics like the black plague and the Spanish flu, and even the COVID 19 pandemic.  Ultimately she wants to “share the impact buildings can have and the stories they can tell while also bringing them to life with [her] 3D models.” Kenzie would benefit from a mentor in history in addition to someone in architecture who may be able to help guide her in the building of models based on her research. 
  • Mira Bruce 

    Mira is investigating case studies of women in history who have gone to extreme lengths to maintain autonomy over their own bodies and their own choices, including Mary Toft and Gerri Santoro, among others. She will use these case studies to explore the specifics of regulations concerning women’s bodies in history and what they have to teach us about the present moment. Ultimately, her goal is to create a podcast series, each episode of which will feature one of these historical case studies. She could benefit from professionals who have experience sharing moments of history to modern audiences in order to inform our present world, especially in the podcast genre. 
  • Sloane Wehman

    Sloane Wehman is investigating the ancient Greek concept of hubris and how it compares to our modern understanding of related terms like pride or arrogance. As an avid student of the classics, she will embark on an examination of depictions and interpretations of hubris in Greek mythology and literature in direct comparison with modern parallels. Her ultimate hope is to “inspire a deeper appreciation of the ancient world and encourage others to return to respected texts (classical, myth, philosophical works) for understanding and solutions when confronted with moral dilemmas.” Sloane will be working with Professor Richard Martin oF Stanford University.
  • Sophie Weiser

    Sophie is exploring the literary, mythical, cultural, and artistic histories of food in the Ancient Mediterranean World. She wants to explore the way in which ancient culture can be understood and experienced through these examinations of food. Ultimately, she would like to create an exhibition of her work, and so would benefit from a mentor who can support her as learns how museums and educational exhibitions are created. 
  • Xo Flaherty-Zimmerman

    Xo is in love with abstract expressionism and art history, and so would like to explore the historical and social forces that led to greater abstraction in the modern period. In particular, how does war and its attendant social changes shape artistic movements? Ultimately, they hope to create a series of educational lessons for a younger audience to share this love of abstract art with a new generation. They are interested in learning from someone in art history who can guide their reading on the topic or perhaps someone with art education experience. 

2022-2023 Scholar Projects

List of 6 items.

  • Abby Watson '23

    Abby Watson is investigating the effects of late diagnoses of ADHD in woman and girls. She is interested in how ADHD tends to be diagnosed later in childhood and even adulthood for women and girls, and how that tendency might impact not only school and work performance but also self esteem. She would like to learn more about the history of this diagnosis before diving into current studies on ADHD in women and girls.  She would also like to incorporate interviews with women to compare her findings to the narratives women tell about themselves.  She would benefit from working with a clinical practitioner who works with ADHD diagnoses or a researcher who can guide her reading on the topic. 

  • Arezu Fayyazi '23

    Arezu Fayyazi is investigating the most effective ways to encourage both education about personal health and higher education for young Afghan women.  She is particularly interested in the connections between higher education and self-esteem and even political involvement for women currently and formerly living in Afghanistan.  She is currently working in an internship with Dr. Anit Shet and others at the Maternal and Child Health India through the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Hopkins.  While this has been an enriching and enlightening experience to learn about the work of public health in women's lives, she would also benefit from working with a mentor who may have a background in researching higher education for women in global environments.  
  • Christina Biuckians '23

    Christina Biuckians is researching the neurological bases of memorable storytelling.  Combining her interests in neuroscience and journalism, she is interested in what memory and communication science can reveal about why we remember stories the way we do and how we can use that knowledge to craft memorable stories for others.  She would like to culminate this research with a podcast series that puts into practice her findings by guiding and supporting others to tell a story of their own life.  She would benefit from working with someone with a background in neuroscience and communication to guide her reading and research and later on in her project, possibly a journalist who can help her see how stories are crafted in the media today. 
  • Francesca Polito '23

    Francesca Polito is investigating the causes and approaches to treating mental health issues in high school athletes.  Following the NCAA's increased attention to mental health in collegiate athletes, and the larger cultural attention to high-profile athletes like Simone Biles, Francesca is interested in exploring how these trends and new understandings may be applied to the younger athlete population as well.  Ultimately, she would like to assess the most effective strategies to support high school athletes in the creation of an awareness project.  She is seeking a mentor with experience with sports psychology and/or with the mental health needs of adolescent populations, whether in clinical research or practice.  
  • Grace Martin '23

    Grace Martin is taking on the question of the role of ethics in politics.  Building on her experiences in Ethics Bowl, she wants to know what might be the history of ethical approaches in American politics and whether there is a place for ethical frameworks in the divisive political field of today.  She would like to look into current case studies as a way to understand the core values that underlie policy decisions, and ultimately host events for her school community to combat absolutism.  She will benefit from a mentor who has a background in political and ethical theory and who can guide her reading and research in either ethical frameworks or the political case studies she is pursuing. 
  • Olivia Hood '23

    Olivia Hood is embarking on an exploration of the concept of the magnum opus and what it means for the artist and the artistic process to dedicate the self to a single work.  She is particularly interested in how the art form and artistic process of animation compares to older forms of visual media, and to the artists who have dedicated themselves to these forms.  She would benefit from working with an art historian who can guide her in the research of the concept of the magnum opus and in compiling and analyzing visual media that can be said to fall into this category.  Later in her project, she would like to interview working artists to explore how they see this line between the art and the artist.

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.