SEEK is an acronym for Scholars Engaged In Extending Knowledge.
Established thirteen years ago, the Middle School SEEK program's mission is to provide a student enrolled in the seventh or eighth grade at Harpeth Hall with a means to pursue a year-long independent study in an area of her choice. The program is designed to encourage a student to expand her learning beyond the standard curriculum with the aid of an in-school and/or out-of-school mentor.
Harpeth Hall's fourteen 2017-18 SEEK scholars were celebrated for their hard work in their independent study projects at an all school assembly on Friday, April 27. With topics ranging from the history of pop art, the impact of therapy dogs in schools, building partnerships to support refugee children in Nashville, and how feminism affected the development of Disney's female characters and princesses...these scholars combined disciplined research with creative and original thinking to produce their final products. Learn more about SEEK 2017-18 project descriptions here.
Middle School Director, Judi O'Brien, opened assembly with a warm welcome and praised the students for "the amount of independence and focus needed to complete a SEEK project." SEEK projects require the students to be "self-motivated and inspired by the work at hand." O'brien thanked the SEEK scholars, faculty, staff, and volunteers for their "time, talent, and energy" devoted to the sustainability of this important Middle School program.
Chair of the Harpeth Hall Board of Trustees, Emily Cate Tidwell '75, introduced special guest speaker, Sabin Nettles '09.
Sabin Nettles graduated from Harpeth Hall in 2009, and is now attending Washington University at St. Louis as a Ph.D. candidate in neuroscience. Nettles shared her first memory of verbalizing her interest in science as a seven year-old. She recalled being at the breakfast table with her family, "My dad turned to me and asked: 'Sabin, what do you want to be when you grow up?' After sitting motionless for several moments, I responded, by saying: 'When I grow up, I want to become a doctor, find a cure for cancer and win a Nobel Prize.'" The Harpeth Hall community would say she is well on her way.
Nettles leaned into her interest for science taking one advanced science course after another. She also pursued science outside of the classroom competing in Science Olympiad competitions while at Harpeth Hall. Once graduated, Nettles elevated her interest further by securing internship work throughout college in multiple research science labs at Vanderbilt University. These labs included neuroendocrinology, education and brain research, and pathology. She also worked as a research technician in the neuroendocrinolgy lab at Wellesley College.
Nettles was and continues to be passionate about science, and expressed thanks to her mentors for supporting her and her passion along the way. "I am fortunate to have smart, passionate and committed mentors this past decade that have helped me validate my true passion for science, bolster my confidence, and identify my voice as a scientist and scholar."
In closing, Nettles praised the SEEK scholars for going beyond the scope of the traditional curriculum and for all of their hard work. "What these girls have accomplished is truly incredible, and this assembly is a testament to all of your hard work. You all have very bright futures, and I cannot wait to see where all of you end up as you continue to pursue your passion."
Harpeth Hall is incredibly proud of our 2017-2018 SEEK scholars, and thanks Sabin Nettles '09 for serving as an excellent example to our students of what it means to follow your curiosity and pursue your passion.