Senior Students Become the Teachers

DSC_6322 Ross School students are taught with the goal of encouraging them to become global citizens of tomorrow as they develop leadership, innovative thinking, and empathic abilities necessary to effectively shape the world for future generations. This year, three Ross School seniors have focused their Senior Projects on the goal of empowering others through education.

Aspiring cardiac surgeon Anna Popova ’17 combined learning from the domains of Science and Visual Arts to craft a functional 3D model of the heart. Anna’s fascination with this vital organ began at a young age, and although she enjoyed researching the heart for projects throughout her school career, Anna recognized that a functioning 3D model of the heart was extremely difficult to find. To fill this need, Anna built a model that is scaled to three times the size of a human heart and can replicate its primary functions. “Many people only learn about how their heart works when they face a malfunction,” Anna said. “I believe that education might prevent that. The heart is more than a life-supporting organ, and its function must be known.”

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Drawing on a life-changing experience in third grade at Ross Lower School, in which the class fostered puppies and made curricular connections to their studies of evolution, Rory Gallaher ’17 set out to create similar lessons that integrate the Lower School’s campus farm into the curriculum. With the guidance of her Senior Project mentor (and former third grade teacher) Junellen Tiska, Rory designed experiences to support Team K’s origins of life studies and grade four’s unit about the domestication of animals. Her interactive lessons included taking a tour of the farm and identifying the resources produced by each. “Rory’s enthusiasm and excitement for all that she is doing is contagious,” Junellen said. “This project is a great accomplishment for her, and it opens the door for us as a school to be able to work with our students and our alumni as active participants in contributing to the curriculum.”

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Timur Yuldashev ’17 prepared a book explaining the principles of political communication and its impact on public opinion, a topic that gained popularity during 2016’s election cycle. Among the topics covered in Timur’s book are crafting and manipulating a political image, the use of the media in determining public perception, and the role of social media in campaign communications. According to Timur’s mentor, political science and journalism teacher Kevin Snyder, one of the most rewarding parts of assisting Timur was seeing his passion for the topic develop. “Through this project, Timur has decided to study political science. . . . It’s inspiring to me that Ross supports its students by giving them the opportunity to develop their interests in this way.”

We are proud of the contributions these students made this year on spreading Ross’s mission of furthering education and inspiring lifelong learning!