Humanities Scholars Program seniors begin capstone projects

AnnaDailey

For the first time ever, 12 seniors at Marian will participate in the Humanities Scholars Program (HSP). “To me, the humanities are the subjects that connect us to other human beings,” HSP senior Elaina Carleton said. Some disciplines of the humanities include philosophy, art, music, history and identity. “Whether it’s halfway across the world or across town, the humanities bring us together,”  Carleton said. To be part of the HSP, students must have taken Introduction to the Humanities and five elective courses in the humanities from at least three subject areas. They must be initiated into an honors society relating to the humanities as well. 

“This project is for students to take what they have learned from all of their humanities classes and the theories and methods they learned in the Intro class, and put it together to make a project that is centered around the humanities in some area that they are interested in studying,” Introduction to Humanities teacher Mrs. Jillian Roger said. “It does have a lot of similarities to Honors Independent Research, but that’s much more science-focused. This one is a lot more humanities-focused.”

This project will take almost all school year to complete. The final draft must be complete on April 30, and presentations of the projects will begin in May. Each student will meet weekly with their assigned faculty advisor who will help guide them through completing their project. 

“From this project, I hope to gain a good grasp on the humanities as I head into college. I hope to know how to navigate a pretty open-ended project for future studies,” Carleton said. 

As this is the first year this project will take place, there are some concerns about what the outcome will be. 

“Being the first year and during a pandemic, this project is absolutely frightening,” Roger said. “However, I think this cohort of seniors I have are really exceptional, and I think that the work they produced last year was phenomenal. I can’t wait to see what they are going to do this year.” 

“My biggest worry about the project is that I might have a hard time researching my topic or being open-minded enough in my learning to really understand the profound nature of what I am learning,” HSP senior Casey Brattain said. 

Each student in this program picked her own topic that involves three of the humanities. “I am going to be studying the societal conditioning that has led women around the world to live their lives in accordance with beauty standards. I will be incorporating the humanities of philosophy, history and art into this study,” HSP senior Amanda Hingorani said. “I hope to gain new skills and knowledge from this completely new experience and from the other seniors in this program as well.”

The humanities are unique, because they have their own methodologies for conducting research. “This project is really going to help these students, especially if they go into the humanities when they are in college, to have the framework and foundation to do this type of research,” Roger said. “In a school setting where education is more math, science and English based, this project will really let us explore more of a subject we are super interested in,” Brattain said.

“I hope this is a thriving program,” Roger said. “I want it to sustain because this is our first year where we have seniors and juniors, and I have a new group of sophomores who are currently in the Intro class. I’m hoping that it continues to grow and that the students who are currently in the program pursue the humanities in college and in their careers. That is the real goal of the program,  to set students up for success in the future.”

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