Each year, Ross School is thrilled to present Senior Projects to the community. Over the course of three nights this week, the Class of 2018 shared the results of all their research, creativity, and hard work.
Senior Projects are the culmination of a student’s learning experience at Ross School, and the experience offers them the opportunity to embody their passions in a process and product that integrate such Ross School principles as multiple intelligences, cultural/historical context, personal reflection, application of technology, and pursuit of excellence. At the end of the Senior Project, students have gained deeper insight into themselves and learned more about the world they are preparing to enter. This year’s Senior Projects showed incredible breadth and ambition, with such recurring themes as sustainability, creativity, and self-exploration.
Diminishing humans’ destructive impact on the environment was a popular topic during Exhibition Night. Dawn Zhao and Valentina Vaney focused on ways of reducing humans’ carbon footprint through diet. Dawn’s project highlighted the hidden environmental benefits of eating insects, while Valentina produced an mobile app called Food Print, which calculates the carbon footprint of the foods a person consumes. It is designed to be used in the grocery store as a tool to help consumers make better purchasing decisions.
Artists Xavier McCormack and George Cortes explored more environmentally friendly methods of producing their art. Xavier, an environmental science enthusiast, used solar plating—a carbonless printmaking technique pioneered by Sag Harbor artist Dan Welden—to produce a collection of images captured in local nature settings. George, a painter, crafted a line of sustainable paints made from natural materials.
Personal stories inspired several students’ Senior Projects. Based on her experiences as an international student in America, Ruishi Tao created a stop-motion animation using Lego figures. The thoughtfully produced animated film follows the transition of a Chinese-born Lego person in New York City as she assimilates into a new culture while honoring the uniqueness of her own heritage. “I hope my animation inspires anyone losing themselves in a new environment,” Ruishi said.
For her project, Rosa Carmichael created her own deck of 78 tarot cards, using self-portraiture for the images on the faces of the cards. Her project is both a self-reflection and a tribute to Rosa’s late mother, who bequeathed her the tarot deck that inspired her project. Although her personal deck maintains the traditionally used imagery, she infused her photographs with elements of contemporary surrealism. The resulting product is something that she feels represents her layered personality.
Wenxuan (Kevin) Zhao’s Senior Project was inspired by his significant weight loss during his first six months at Ross School. Losing about 50 pounds helped Kevin to achieve a level of confidence and belief in himself he’d never experienced before. To inspire others on a journey of self-improvement, Kevin prepared a book for his Senior Project, half of which is filled with healthful takes on traditional Chinese dishes, with the remaining portion featuring exercises. During his presentation, Kevin prepared a pork and shiitake mushroom dish from his cookbook to serve 37 people.
Sabrina Liddle mined her childhood experiences to photograph and curate a 15-image installation. Raised in an abusive household, Sabrina—who escaped at 10 years old—used photography as her way of expressing the way she felt in that environment. “Before this, I had no trouble telling people what happened to me, but I never told them how I felt about it,” Sabrina said. The exhibition, which she says was cathartic to produce, focuses on the vulnerability and loneliness she felt, which stands in contrast to the strong woman she’s become. Sabrina adds, “I can share it now because that part of my life is over.”