Senior Colloquium: Seniors Share Research in Literature, History, and Science

Last week, the Grace community gathered for this year’s Senior Research Colloquium, an annual event which celebrates the great scholarship of the graduating class in literature, history, neuroscience, and data science.
Students of the literature and history seminars spent the year honing in on their area of interest, culminating in a 25-page thesis paper that integrated other fields, such as film or philosophy, for a truly interdisciplinary exploration. 

Zamira F.’s thesis examined the life’s work of Bertolt Brecht and asked, “To what extent was Bertolt Brecht’s theater in the Weimar Republic a direct challenge to the instability of the regime and the rise of the Nazi party?” Her paper not only made connections between Brecht’s theatrical methods and the political landscape but illuminated the relationship at large between art and politics. Oliver B. analyzed media through queer and gender theory from Taras Bulba by Nikolai Gogol to Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, particularly in how they portray care and intimacy between men, navigating the expectations of masculinity.

In Intensive Data Science 2, students designed an independent project related to data, statistics, and programming. Many students chose to analyze something they were passionate about through a statistical lens, such as Ethan B. who dissected what makes a popular song using Spotify data. Others designed and programmed their own games from scratch.

Advised by Ms. Bevilacqua, Amaya S. and Eva S. conducted an experiment on daily social media use in their Experimental Research Methods class. Ms. Bevilacqua described the course as mirroring “a research laboratory where I serve as the PI or Principal Investigator, and Eva and Amaya were the lead researchers, conceptualizing the research question, designing the study, collecting data, and then working with me and other advisors in the field to analyze the data and interpret results.” Amaya and Eva found that it may not be how much social media you use, but why you use it that may be predictive of whether it will negatively impact your sleep or attention and contribute to other negative mental health implications over time. 

The colloquium captured the myriad passions and interests of the seniors as well as the depth of their endeavors. As Ms. Grafton, advisor to the History Seminar, put it: “From Title IX to the origins of the Roman political structure, [the students] investigated, wrote, strove and thought.” 
© 2022 Grace Church School
Grace Church School is a co-educational independent school in downtown Manhattan, New York City providing instruction for nearly 800 students in Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12.