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Independent Study Program

The Independent Study Program is open to intellectually curious Juniors and Seniors who have satisfied the graduation requirements of a department and possess a special interest in a particular topic or field. An Independent Study does not replace courses already offered in the existing curriculum but instead allows for students with keen, nuanced interests to pursue their intellectual passions.

Each student who takes part in the program has a faculty sponsor and also meets regularly with the director of the program. The course concludes with a multimedia presentation during which the student presents his/her culminating project and then fields questions from a panel that includes the department chair, faculty sponsor, director of the program, the associate head of school, and any other invited guests.

In order to participate in the program, a student must contact the one of the director of the program, Alan Bradshaw, and then fill out an application. The application process requires a detailed course plan that gains the approval of the chair of the appropriate department, a faculty sponsor, the directors of the program, and the associate head of school.

Recent Independent Studies include…

History - Stephanie Nelson '22, inspired by her own heritage and interests in international business, explored trends Cross-Cultural Marketing in Japan, Mexico, and the UK.

English - Haley Hammer '21, falling in love with the literature of Gabriel Garcia-Marquez her sophomore year, dove deeply into his oeuvre, exploring many facets of isolation in his literature. She then spent the next semester writing original stories that explored the concepts she discovered in her research.

English - Mac Bechtol '22 followed her pop-cultural interests in two contemporary playwrights—Greta Gherwig and Phoebe Waller-Bridge—and unraveled their films and television shows through an academic exploration of overcoming ordeals, mother-daughter relationships, and vulnerability.

English - Alena Haney '21, long a devotee of William Shakespeare, researched, wrote, and staged a five-act play in verse about McCarthyism that was performed in the Underwood Theater to great acclaim.

Science - Parker Nickerson '20, inspired by his prior Biology studies, dug more deeply into his passion for Neuroscience, designing research that tested nerve regeneration in arm fractures.  

English - Catherine Andrews '20 and Zoe Doyle '20 brought to life in novel form fantastic worlds of their own imaginations, and Anna Moise '20 too invented a new reality, crafting short stories in the Fantasy genre.

History - Jackie Zembek '20 built her own business, buying and reselling clothes. She developed a business plan, built a website, and then experimented with different advertising methods while tracking sales data. 

Theatre – Christina Betti ‘20 and Lizzy Barringer ’19 continued the Spring tradition of student directed one-act plays. Both students chose a script, held auditions, planned rehearsals, advertised, and then put on several showings of their plays.

World Languages – Claire Schwarze ’19 bridged the language gap between her and her German relatives by studying German. As a component of her practice, she met weekly with her grandmother to have discussions exclusively in German.

World Languages – Carolyn Hammond ’19 continued her Spanish studies through projects like developing a business plan in Spanish. She also read and wrote in Spanish about current events. Ever the lover of languages, Carolyn also studied Italian and Russian as well.

Computer Science - Jackson Williams ’19 harnessed his increasing passions for both coding and the financial markets to continue developing his software that tracks trends and markers in stock prices, a program that guides him in his real-life personal investments.

English – Ellie Gilchrist ’19 slipped into a world of her own creation, story boarding, drafting, and editing an original novella.

Computer Science - Aidan Stewart ’20 expanded his skills in programming, developing a set of tools for the manipulation and editing of digital photographs.

EnglishBella Ray '18 married her two passions of literature and acting, deeply studying several plays and then writing her own one-act play (directed in the Spring of '18 by Caroline Campbell '18, another Independent Study!).

Journalism - Isabella Goodman '18 took a historical and critical look at journalism as a passageway into politics and culture by researching past eras, critically writing about that research, and then emulating in her own original articles the different styles she studied.

Art – Austin McGinnis '18 melded together his interests in mechanical engineering and design. He refined his drawing skills specifically for design within the CAD models that he could then physically create using the school’s 3D printer, learned the CAD program, and then designed and printed his own chess set.

History - Holden Markoff '17 took his passion for the sports world and dug into the inner-working of sports management. Through the reading of books about sports management and interviews with sports agents, Holden examined what major players in the industry believe makes a good business plan and then developed his own business plan for a future sports management agency of his own.

ScienceGregory Abraham '16 developed his passions for engineering by researching, designing, and building a prototype of an Autonomous Electronic Device for underwater exploration.

HistoryAnthony Small '17 presented a solution to a conflict between the oil and gas industry and regulators. Deeply researching the dilemma through reading and extensive interviews with oil executives and regulators, Anthony created a detailed plan for finding a middle ground that served both the needs of the planet and a resource dependent world.