Making a Difference with Senior Projects

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Community service and engagement play a significant role in the Ross School philosophy. The motto “Know Thyself in Order to Serve” reflects the school’s commitment to preparing students for meaningful lives and leadership in the global community. Several members of the Class of 2017 used their Senior Projects as a means to raise awareness and support for societal issues like homelessness, endangered species, and physical disability.

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Senior Projects Offer Solutions for Sustainability Challenges

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Sustainability and stewardship of Earth’s resources are woven into the daily experiences of Ross School students. The school’s facilities make use of the latest renewable energy sources, and the Ross curriculum highlights a multitude of sustainability topics throughout the grade levels, often leading to whole-school discussions about ecology, culture, economics, politics, and our shared duty to preserve and maintain the environment and protect those most vulnerable to destructive environmental change. Using their Senior Project as a platform, some members of the Class of 2017 have drawn on what they’ve learned in these areas to propose innovative solutions to some of society’s toughest problems.

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Rory Gallaher Brings Lower School Farm into the Classroom


When Rory Gallaher ’17 was in third grade at Ross, her class fostered puppies from two days old to four weeks old as part of their unit on evolution. The project exemplified Ross’s commitment to integrated learning: in the Math domain, students charted the puppies’ growth over time, while in Science and Cultural History, they researched the evolution of the dogs and learned about puppies’ development in their first few weeks of life. The experience left a profound impact on Rory, and is one of her fondest curricular memories from her Lower School experience.

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Personal Experience Turns Survivor into Activist


According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, roughly 20 to 30 percent of women experience sexual violence in their lifetime. Nearly two-thirds of assaults go unreported, due in part to the stigma surrounding rape. In light of these unnerving statistics, Ross School senior Amanda Mintz has devoted her Senior Project to raising awareness about sexual assault through education.

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Isabelle Rowe Trains Service Dog for Senior Project


This series captures the Class of 2017’s experience as they pursue their Senior Projects. Stay in touch with Ross News for ongoing coverage!

Ross News would like to introduce you to one of the campus’s most diligent students this year: Tucci, the Golden Retriever puppy. Tucci’s constant companion, Isabelle Rowe ’17, is training her to become a Seeing Eye Guide Dog as her Senior Project, and the pair of them can frequently be seen around campus.

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Elsa Diaw Produces Futuristic Technology


Using the technical and design skills fostered in the rigorous science program of Innovation Lab @Ross, senior Elsa Diaw has built a 3D-printed prosthetic arm controlled by electrical signals that travel from the brain to the muscles. Her Senior Project, titled Reach, was inspired by a summer spent volunteering at the Beth Abraham Health Services Center with patients in the physical and occupational therapy units. There, she was afforded a chance to work one on one with patients, an experience that helped her cement her proposal for the project. Under the guidance of mentor Dr. David Morgan, Elsa embarked on creating a device that explored how 3D-printing technology can be used to improve the people’s lives.

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Jodie Paffrath Lights Up the World


Senior Jodie Paffrath was raised around the family art business, so it was only natural that her background would come into play when deciding upon a Senior Project. However, she was less interested in the business side of things and more curious about creative process. She spent the summer researching Greek sculpture and visiting museums with her father as she laid the foundation for a sculpture project, but in the back of her mind lingered a particular piece of furniture she had seen three years prior: a wooden table with glow-in-the-dark elements. Raised in the German countryside, Jodie finds fascination in gazing at the sky for hours, losing herself in the vast complexity of the universe. So, for her Senior Project, Jodie decided to design and construct a wooden coffee table of her own with a personal, illuminated twist. Continue reading