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.
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 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 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 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 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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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!
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 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.
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 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.