SEEK Fellowship Program Presentations

From May 1 communication:

The Harpeth Hall SEEK Scholars Program encourages experiential learning beyond Harpeth Hall's middle school curriculum. Students first enter the program with a desire and passion to explore a topic or subject of interest not covered in the Middle School curriculum. She will then work with an in-school and/or out-of-school mentor who will help her formulate questions and help her guide her research. All SEEK students complete a final product such as a research paper, a publication, a performance, or an original composition that she will present to the SEEK faculty committee as well as the Middle School student body.

We are very proud of the 15 seventh and eighth grade SEEK Scholars who presented their projects this week. Their enthusiasm for their subjects was obvious and contagious. Topics were widely varied, and each presentation regardless of format was well planned and engaging. The program will conclude on Friday, May 3rd with an all school assembly featuring an inspirational guest speaker. Additional information on the assembly will be available next week.

Following is the synopsis of each student's SEEK project and photos from Monday's presentations.

Musical Composition Using Classical and Modern Influences
Julia Allos '23, 8th grade

Julia Allos conducted a comparison study of the musical styles of composers from two different eras: Beethoven from the Classical/Romantic period and Yiruma who is a 21st-century New Age composer.  She methodically analyzed and compared Beethoven’s "Moonlight Sonata" and "River Flows in You" by Yiruma focusing on the time signature, key signature, tempo, dynamics, and other musical properties. Julia used her increased understanding of music theory and the techniques of Beethoven and Yiruma to create a composition of her own. The lyrical piece, which she titled “Tranquility,” is soft and flowy, similar to Yiruma's style, and yet is in a minor key, similar to Beethoven's style.


The Evolution of Military Aircraft Technology
Isabella Baldwin '23, 8th grade

Inspired by her father's military experience and her passion for flying, Isabella Baldwin completed her project on the development of military aircraft technology since WWI and the effects of technological advancements on the future of aeronautics. She extensively researched the development and use of jet aircraft, helicopters, and unmanned aircraft during war time, as well as the background of flight and aircraft production rates throughout historically significant wars. To represent and synthesize her research, Isabella created a timeline to show the connection of the sequence of events to the development of aircraft. Based on her research, she created  a model that demonstrates her vision of future military aircraft, and discussed the unmanned aircraft new roles these aircraft might create for military pilots.


A Short Story Based on the Colonization of Australia
Josey Beavers '24, 7th grade

Josey Beavers combined two of her favorite things for her SEEK project- her love for writing and traveling. After visiting Australia in 2017, she began to wonder more about the country’s history. She was specifically curious about Australia’s colonization and the effects on its indigenous people, known as the Aborigines. Josey researched how the first settlers were convicts sent over from England, and how their settlement disrupted the Aboriginals’ way of life. Using her knowledge, she crafted a short story focusing on a female convict and an indigenous boy. Writing from two different points of view, Josey’s story dives deeper into the external struggle and the internal conflict that both groups faced as one gained land, and the other lost theirs.


Saving the Nashville Crayfish Through Phytoremediation
Sarah Braam '24, 7th grade

Sarah Braam's goal was to create an environmentally friendly method to save the endangered Nashville Crayfish. To achieve this goal, Sarah started by researching the Nashville Crayfish, Nashville water quality, and various solutions to water contamination, including phytoremediation. Phytoremediation is a scientific concept that uses the roots of plants to improve water and air quality. Sarah determined that phytoremediation using the common water hyacinth was the best solution for purifying the Mill Creek Watershed, the habitat of the endangered Nashville Crayfish. With this solution in mind, she designed and created a prototype of a storm drain filtration system that uses phytoremediation and the water hyacinth to improve water quality. Sarah sent a letter to the Director of Metro Water Services, Scott Potter, and to Nashville’s Mayor, David Briley to propose the use of phytoremediation in Nashville. Sarah’s plan incorporates the common water hyacinth in storm drain filters around the city to purify the Mill Creek Watershed.


Japanese Woodblock Printing
Lilly Cashen '24, 7th grade

Lilly Cashen studied the art of Japanese woodblock printing for her SEEK project. First, she researched the history, artists, and masterpieces of Japanese Woodblock printing including Katsushika Hokusai, who focused his work on Mt. Fuji. Lilly applied her research and trends she saw in historical Japanese woodblock prints to create four printing blocks, each featuring Mt. Fuji in a different season. The first three blocks were carved and printed in one color. In her final block, illustrating Mt. Fuji during the spring, she used a large piece of linoleum and printed the image with four colors. Lilly used a reduction printing technique on the final block by carving portions of the block and layering the ink. She carved and printed the piece section by section, matching the placement of the ink and printing each color in layers. All of the blocks showcase Mt. Fuji from different perspectives, seasons, and eras.


Immigration Then and Now (1890 - 2019)
Priyanka Chiguluri '23, 8th grade

Priyanka Chiguluri studied historical and modern American immigration policies and acts starting with the beginning of America’s Gilded Age in the 1890s and ending with President Trump’s current immigration policies. Priyanka also read and researched opinion editorials from various newspapers including The Tennessean and The New York Times.  For her final product, Priyanka wrote an op-ed about how President Trump’s immigration policies, including building a border wall, mimic one of America’s most restrictive immigration acts, The National Origins Act of 1924. Her piece is titled, “Donald Trump and the Wall Resurface America’s Xenophobia from 100 Years Ago.” Finally, she submitted her op-ed to the upper school paper Logos and The Tennessean. Priyanka’s article will appear in the May edition of Logos.


Using Photography to Create Change
Aarthe Govindaswamy '23, 8th grade

Inspired by her own community, Aarthe completed a SEEK project focused on photography, immigration, and the power of images. She studied the works of Jacob Riis, Augustus Sherman, Bud Glick, and John Moore, four photographers who documented immigrants from around the world and their experiences immigrating to and settling in the United States from the late 1800s to today.  In addition, she explored the Indian community in Nashville and the history of Indian immigration to the United States. Lastly, she researched U.S. immigration laws and historical trends of immigration. Aarthe used her research to create two photo essays: one documents immigration to the United States throughout history, and the other highlights the Indian community in Nashville today.


The Impact of 3D Printing on Bionic and Prosthetic Limbs
Bella Guillamondegui '23, 8th grade

Inspired by the shortcomings of current prosthetic technology, Bella Guillamondegui began her SEEK Project by researching bionic and prosthetic limbs. During her research, she learned about the differences and similarities between bionic and prosthetic limbs, including the advantages and disadvantages of each. She also researched 3D printing and the benefits 3D printing has in the prosthetic world. She found that 3D printing is starting to make prosthetic limbs cheaper and more accessible. Bella used her knowledge of 3D printing and prosthetics and learned how to use the Harpeth Hall 3D printer to print a wearable prosthetic hand. The fingers of the hand contract when the wrist is bent, mimicking new technology that converts the brain's motor signals into electrical impulses allowing a wearer to move a bionic limb with their mind alone.


Learning with Down Syndrome
Rachel King '23, 8th grade

Rachel King researched learning with Down Syndrome in comparison to typically developing learners. First, she learned about the most effective strategies for teaching students with Down Syndrome, the best learning environments, and developmental differences of these young students. For the next phase of her research, Rachel interviewed people from two different learning environments. First, she met with two teachers involved in the Franklin Road Academy Heart to Heart program which provides assistance and extra help in the classroom for students with Down Syndrome. Then, she met with a mother of two home schooled children with Down Syndrome. For her final product, Rachel created two lesson plans: one for fifth grade students with Down Syndrome and another for typically developing fifth grade students. Her lesson plan is designed to teach about the disease of yellow fever as an introduction to the novel, Fever: 1793, by Laurie Halse Anderson.


Historical Fiction - Catastrophes in American History
Lucy McNally '23, 8th grade

Lucy McNally explored catastrophes in American history and their impacts on people and communities. She focused on three specific disasters, The Great Chicago Fire (1871), the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, and Hurricane Katrina (2005). She researched the time and place of each disaster and conducted a series of interviews with witnesses and survivors of Hurricane Katrina. Using her knowledge of each time period and catastrophe, Lucy wrote fictional journal entries from the perspective of survivors of each disaster. Her pieces help the reader experience the horrors and triumphs of each catastrophe as cities and people faced disaster and rose from the ashes.


Winston Churchill's Impact on Britain During World War II
Amanda Pensinger '23, 8th grade

For her SEEK project, Amanda Pensinger studied Winston Churchill, and how he affected the Dunkirk evacuation and the Battle of Britain. First, Amanda researched Winston Churchill and the British government system. She then learned about Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain, including what lead up to each event, what happened during each event, and what role Churchill played. For the last part of her research, Amanda read and explored several of Churchill's speeches that were delivered around the time of each battle. For her product, she created infographics illustrating Churchill's actual role in each historical event, and then she considered what might have happened without his influence.


Blending Ancient and Modern Styles in Residential Architecture
Alston Riddick '24, 7th grade

Alston Riddick began her project by researching ancient Roman residential architecture with a focus on the homes of Pompeii. She studied how the "domus," a type of house occupied by families in Pompeii, was constructed and designed. She also studied more modern examples of domestic architecture, with an emphasis on iconic contemporary houses of the 1900s. She researched the history, common characteristics, and function of various examples of the two styles. Drawing from her research, Alston designed an online 3D model of a home that combined the characteristics of the Pompeian domus with the more modernized characteristics of 20th-century domestic architecture. Alston used her digital design to build a fully-furnished, intricate 3D model demonstrating how a home with Pompeiian influences and contemporary style could be established in the 21st century.


Interior Design with the Brain in Mind
Presley Schick '24, 7th grade

For her project, Presley researched the psychology behind interior design, and how it affects our mood, energy, and brain growth. Presley started by researching key elements of design including space, line, color, texture, and pattern. Presley also studied autism, and the impact of interior design on a child with autism. During her research, Presley considered how interior design can act as a therapy to people with and without autism. For her project, Presley created a vision board and a virtual room for two girls with the same interests but different emotional needs. Her project illustrates how important interior design is for our individual needs and for us to feel safe and relaxed in a space.


Understanding Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Through Poetry
Scarlett White '24, 7th grade

Scarlett White studied the factors behind and characteristics of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Her research included the major elements of OCD, and the struggles people with this disorder must deal with each day. She looked at the condition from both a medical and psychological standpoint. She applied her research to create vivid poetry in her book titled Mental. Using her poetic expression, Scarlett explored different perspectives on OCD. Scarlett's writing steers the reader into the subconscious of the disorder. Readers come away with increased empathy and understanding of OCD.


The Anatomy of Songwriting
Sophia Williams '23, 8th grade

Sophia Williams focused on songwriting for her SEEK project. As part of her research, she interviewed songwriters and used resources from the Berkeley School of Music, to understand how to write a song. Throughout her interviews and research, Sophia found that there is no one way to write a song. Songwriters start with different building blocks, whether theyv be musical or lyrical. After Sophia finished her research, she started the process of writing her own song. Sophia began by writing poetry and lyrics and then added chords to her words. As her final product, Sophia wrote the song "Try and Fail," which is about learning from failure in order to succeed.