Senior Exhibitions 2012

Joy Sawyer-Mulligan
The Wow Factor as seniors take the podium.
•Genghis Khan was a social progressive.
•Venezuela’s oil economy funded $4.3 billion in weapons purchase.
•Fungal endophytes can create a diesel-like fuel.
•A conventional tomato, industrially farmed in Florida today, contains 14 times the sodium, 30% less vitamin C, and 62% less calcium than a tomato from the 1960s.
•Illegal immigrants pay more money into the U.S. economy during their working lifetimes than they take from it.
•In thirty years, the U.S. economy lost $7 trillion due to supply disruptions and price hikes--more than the cumulative costs of all wars fought by our country since the American Revolution.
•Psychopaths are both born and created, both nature and nurture at work in their make-up.
•91% of soybeans grown in the U.S. are genetically modified.

Who knew?

Fact is, Senior Exhibitions offer up a lot more than just. . . facts. As the culmination of a several months’ scholarly process, these 45 minutes X 57 seniors, compressed into two nights and two days, summarize extraordinary quantities of analysis, synthesis, and exploration.

In this project, launched nearly two decades ago and refined each year since, Thacher’s oldest students become the School’s youngest teachers. It begins in September. They choose their topics, pose questions and hypothesize, burrow into research, fine-tune their investigations, and share them in research blogs and annotated bibliographies. About a month before the curtain goes up and the spotlights go on, each senior sits with two faculty members in a 45-minute interview. Two weeks more of deciding what to squeeze into the presentation, what to cut, what polish to apply and where—and, at last, the shining moment in late April: standing before crowd of eager students--that is, schoolmates, teachers and staff, friends, and family who want to know more about the subject. It’s often SRO. Yet daunting ultimately becomes doable--and, with advising, coaching, and reheasing, done well.

This past Thursday, Friday and Saturday brimmed with possibilities, topics running the gamut from the humanities to arts and letters and sciences. And even the most esoteric material became clear via the seniors’ carefully chosen words and artful audio-visual supports. A quick breather, then Q & A. As one parent said, “It’s a like having a window into who they’ll be as adults.” Each SrEx ended pretty much the same: applause, cheers, applause-- and then rush of hugs from friends and schoolmates, kin, faculty.

Jeff Hooper, seasoned director of the program, had nothing but praise for the individual and collective effort. “This year's Senior Exhibitions were truly extraordinary. Serendipitously, we had an unusual degree of overlapping themes among topics, which created a lot of interesting connections between and among talks. The enthusiastic crowds and packed venues were further testament to how compelling these Exhibitions were, and the seniors should feel very proud of their work. They've set the bar high for future years.”

Other faculty key to quality control: group coordinators Christopher Land, Susannah McGowan, Chris Vyhnal, Aaron Snyder, Bo Manson, Jennifer Finley, Alice Meyer, and Roger Klausler. All other faculty members served as a project and/or presentation advisors. Bill Vickery--unflappable media/technical advisor and facilitator throughout the run-up and the Exhibitions themselves--has us convinced he’s a techno-triplet; that’s how ubiquitous he is.

The Class of 2012 and their topics:
Anouk Ackerman: Jewish Councils during World War II
Andrew Atwong: Laughter
Eva Batalla-Mann: Reproductive Health in Mexico
Ian Bearden: Waziristan
Joe Bell: Bullfighting
James Bissett: Natural Gas
Paige Bowie: Oil Dependency and Politics in the Middle East
Helen Brown: Canine Assisted Therapy
Lauren Butler: Third Parties in American Politics
Walker Conyngham: Jack London in Contemporary Society
Patrick Coughran: Mexico's Drug Wars
Sarah Cresto: Reconstruction of Iraq
Lucas Currie: Illegal Immigration and the US Economy
Liza DiNizio: Sex in Advertising
Cassie Disner: Border Relations of Island Nations
Anton Doty: Electronic Dance Music
Christina Eilar: The SAT
Charlie Evans: Baseball Statistics
Hailey Everett: Industrial Farming
Garen Fabian: The Manson Murders and American Society
Miles Fossett: Video Games and Us
Julian Garcia-Kasimirowski: The Illegal Marijuana Trade in California
Jesse Gates: Ski Design
Marshall Gifford: Sustainable Architecture and Design in Homes
Shane Griffee: The Matilija Dam and the Nationwide Dam Removal Movement
Giovanna Grigsby-Rocca: The Oil Curse: The Political Economy of Oil
Derek Gulick-Stutz: Marxism, Swedish Social Democracy, and the Modern-Day Relevance of Socialist Ideology
Lilly Haggard: Balinese Dancing
Lucy Han: David Ogilvy and Modern Advertising
Sarah Hancock Hatshepsut and Cleopatra: Woman and as Man, Woman and Woman
Jackson Howard: HBO’s The Wire
Margot Hughan: Fish Farming
Alice Hyde: Genetically Modified Crops
Emily Jordan: Sexuality in 20th Century American Literature: The Self and Society
Jin Yeo Jung: Billionaires and Philanthropy
Kalieb Kelbisow: Terrorism
Timothy Kent: Woodstock and the American Counter-Culture
Will Kirkland: Corporate Greed, Corruption, and Malfeasance: An Investigation and a Plan of Action
Katherine Krey: The Beatles in England
Lisea Lark: Obesity in America
Charlie LeFevre: Genghis Khan
Jade Lopes: Carnaval
Fidel Lopez: Cyberhacking
Marlon Miller: Anarchism
Geneva Miller: Chocolate in History and Culture
Chase Montague: Race Car Design
Bridget Park: Psychopaths
Emma Patterson: Aphrodisiacs
Zoey Poll: The Power of Street Art
Mackenzie Polley: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Chance Rodriguez: Financial Bubbles
Chasen Smith: Renewable Energy
Tabitha Sullivan-Wallace: Advertising and its Effects on the Female Image
Bea Taylor: Fungal Endophytes: Saving the World
Paule Voevodsky: Homosexuality and Christianity
Matt Wyckoff: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Molly Wyman: Folk Music and the Vietnam War
Michael Xu: The Rise of Deng Xiaoping and his Effect on China
Chris Yih: Genocide and War: The Story of Modern Rwanda
Katie Yu: Forensic Technology and Endangered Species

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