Angela B. ’22
Creative Expression at Hope 7: Teaching students about music through interacting with color and sound and their own creativity
My project started with me reflecting on my relationship with music and how it impacted/influenced my childhood and the person I am now. Since I was young, music was a source of language/communication, and I felt that there were emotions and expressions that couldn’t be expressed through words, but were possible with the freedom of music. With this conception, I researched the effects of music education and music therapy on child development, hoping to use this knowledge and bring accessible music to the children in our community and classrooms near campus.
I created my own lesson plans, varying from sound and hearing activities to music interaction with art, and taught them to a group of 3rd to 5th graders at the Hope 7 Community Center. Every month I chose a specific theme and worked on establishing and helping the students find a new part of their identity through the creativity that music carries. We started in December with the theme of “me and you,” exploring ways to express emotions we get from music through art.
Through my own experiences with instrumental music, singing, and dancing, I hope that I can communicate and share the magical experiences I have with music with my students. “Creative Expressions” words are not the only things that people can express emotions. Through art and music, they show a lot of personal thoughts and character.
Soumya B. ’23
Organizing an Exchange Trip to Morocco
My project is inspired by my background. I lived in Atlas mountain in Morocco. I experienced firsthand what it was like to not have an education that was accessible to me. Being a woman had a big part in this. The local culture values traditional gender roles. My experience inspired me to start this project, which is to provide education to young girls in my village by building an all-girl school that teaches an educational curriculum, but also a trade school curriculum that allows the girls to be independent. This year's Signature project was mostly figuring out what everything is going to look like. My highlight from this year is getting a group of people who are passionate about education and people with different backgrounds to be part of a future non-profit organization. This process taught me to be patient and that not everything will happen overnight. This is a project that will follow me for the rest of my life and this year's Signature has helped me learn to ask for help and that I can't do it without other people.
Aurora W. ’23
Impartial Admissions and Diversity Enrollment
Initially, I wanted to investigate injustice in standardized testing and college admission. When I first saw the news that University of California schools decided to drop testing requirements for application not because of Covid, but because of equity concerns, I was very worried and confused to see that adjustment. I felt it was unfair at that moment because I saw how much effort a lot of people put in to prepare for that test. I first started working on my Signature project trying to find evidence for why colleges should get back to requiring test scores after the pandemic. But when I researched more and looked at the history of the policies, I realized the real unfairness is to qualify a student singly based on their test performances. So I changed my research direction completely. I then decided to explore a way to improve equity in the application process. In order to more fully understand how standardized testing and college admission impact one another, I constructed a shared timeline. I was surprised to discover that test optional policies are not new, and Covid wasn’t the main reason for most of the colleges to change their policies. I look forward to sharing more findings with you at our Spring Showcase!
Oliwia P. ’22
Education Without Borders: Making the "full academia-experience" more available to people in limited-resources areas
Education Without Borders is a project I started at the beginning of my college process. When reflecting on my academic journey, I realized how much luck it required and how problematic that was. Coming from Poland, access to good quality and affordable education is hard - schools don’t have clubs, student groups, opportunities, or resources. Emma is the polar opposite of what I experienced beforehand (which was already more than most kids my age can access). I don’t think it’s fair that only a select few get access to tailored, comprehensive, and inclusive education.
Education is not a “one-size-fits-all” concept, but it does get treated like one, and the group that suffers the consequences of this outdated approach is the youth.
A few countries in Europe established institutions or organizations that take the pressure off socio-economic backgrounds, standardized testing, etc., and put it on ambition, motivation, and work ethic. An example is ZEP (zone education prioritaire) in France, which provides high-quality education to kids with insufficient access or resources.
On the other hand, Scandinavian countries are prime examples of how to create an innovative and inclusive curriculum that prompts independent, critical thinking and inquiry. These countries are the leaders in quality of life and statistics on how well-educated their population is.
Through connecting initiatives like ZEP, Scandinavian curriculums, and Emma’s philosophy of teaching and learning, Education Without Borders creates a program that encompasses the previously mentioned strengths while actively working on remedying the existing flaws in the education system.