2013 Extended Essays (Summer 2013)

Congratulations Class of 2013! ~ Cindy Gallo, IB Coordinator

This year, more Sturgis students than ever before chose to write an IB Extended Essay. The EE, as it is lovingly known, is a 4000 – word essay exploring an argument in the topic of a student’s choice. The hard work in research and composition is balanced by the opportunity for students to follow their own curiosity and delve deeply into a subject of personal interest.  EE assessment focuses on the structure of the essay; the topic is the allure.

In college, our students employ the skills learned while writing the EE. Student feedback indicates that Sturgis Grads feel well prepared for college level work; The EE is a key part of this preparation. We are pleased that the IB now offers the Extended Essay as a option to all students, whether or not they choose to attempt the full IB Diploma.

Two thirds of the class of 2013, Sixty-five students, submitted an EE in categories including History, English, Biology, and some new options: Human Rights, Literature and Performance, Politics, Dance, and Film.  The EEs were sent for assessment to Swaziland, Australia, India, Portugal, UK, Spain, US, and Canada.

Congratulations to the class of 2013 for your hard work. Your educational journey will continue as you head to college and careers. Graduating from Sturgis was just the first step in a life filled with challenges and opportunities. Remember the skills you have learned at Sturgis, and the friends, and, of course, your teachers! Come back and visit next Fall when we have our Alumni day. All the best – Mrs G

Making Education Personal

By James Buckheit, Theory of Knowledge – East

EE and Why Should I CareWho are you? A name or a label won’t do. Who are you, really? That’s the opening question in the year-and-a-half Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course, which has as its ultimate goal helping students articulate why they believe what they believe. But it’s also the guiding question for the entire IB Core, which includes CAS (creativity, action, and service) and the Extended Essay.

CAS challenges students to take initiative beyond the classroom. They set up self-educating activities in the community and reflect on what they learn about the world and about themselves in the process. And what better way to answer that central question than to say, this is a topic I care about – enough to devote 40 hours of my own time to researching and writing about it. That’s the Extended Essay.

Beyond the practical benefits of learning research strategies and bibliographic annotation, the Extended Essay is deliberately a piece of personal scholarship. The guidelines call for a focused research question that must be “contestable” in some way, and the students’ arguments must connect published research to their own thoughts on the question. While they are not expected to generate the kind of new knowledge typical of a doctoral dissertation, their essays should present original thinking and a clear, defensible point of view. It can be a defining moment in a student’s academic life, and year after year our alumni report that the experience of doing the Extended Essay sets them apart in terms of their readiness for college level work.

A good secondary education has to be more than a collection of courses. The pieces need to fit together and contribute to a sense of personal meaning. That integration and coherence is the function of the IB Core. There were no doubt moments when the deadlines for CAS reflections, TOK assessments, and Extended Essay drafts felt like a cacophony of extraneous demands to our senior IB diploma candidates. However, at this point in the year we see them facing their college decisions with confidence and clarity. They know who they are and what they will be bringing to the college communities they will join next fall. Most important, they know that wherever their paths lead, they will be fully in charge of their own education.

The Role of Sturgis Libraries in the Extended Essay Process

By Kate Dunigan-AtLee, Lead Librarian
Joey Benedict Works on his Extended Essay

Joey Benedict Works on his Extended Essay

As a librarian, the Extended Essay is one of my favorite pieces of the IB program.  I get a thrill thinking about the great ideas being discussed, the research that’s being done, the scholarship that is being read and produced.  Our students are often both fascinated and terrified by this project. Most find it difficult to know where to start.  Although our students do a lot of writing in their classes, they have never encountered a research project of this magnitude and we try to give them as much support through the process as possible.

To help them through this sometimes daunting process we have put together a series of workshops to ensure they have the skills and information they need to succeed.  Students complete six workshops in the spring of their Junior year and they will attend two workshops in the fall of their Senior year. In these workshops we discuss forming a topic and writing a good research question.  We talk about how to organize their research and where to find the best academic sources.  We help them through the formatting process.  Students are allowed to spend a maximum of five hours with their supervisor but there is no limit to the amount of time they can spend getting help from their librarians. Because of the diversity of their topics we have the unique challenge of obtaining materials from around Massachusetts, the country, and occasionally the world.

EE "Lock In Night"

EE “Lock In Night”

Sometimes what our students really need is a quiet focused place to get some work done.     So, in addition to the instruction we offer in our formal workshops we also host several work sessions.  We  open the library during the summer for two work sessions, one in July and one in August.  In October we host an “EE lock-in”.  We invite students to stay after school on the Friday before their first drafts are due.  We provide dinner, coffee, and snacks to keep them energized for a late-night work session.  We keep the library open until 10pm and invite supervisors to join us.  These informal work sessions give students time and space to work with librarians and supervisors available to answer questions and provide support.

Each year our students dazzle us with the diversity of topics they choose.  Here are a few examples of  research topics chosen by Class of 2014 students:  cochlear implants, anti-bullying programs in elementary schools, hydrogen fuel cells, the BP oil spill, creation myths, disease in Latin America, soft tissue body modification, and medical experimentation on prisoners.    I can’t wait to read their papers in December.

A Sampling of Sturgis 2013 Extended Essays

Jenny Agel – Literature and Performance

A Close Comparative Analysis of Female Gender Roles in Two Cinematic Adaptations of the Snow White Fairy Tale

Research Question: How do Disney’s 1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Universal Studio’s 2012 Snow White and the Huntsman’s portrayals of women and gender roles differ from Grimm’s original Snow White fairy tale, and how do those differences reflect the socio-cultural gender expectations of their respective time periods?

Abstract: This essay deals in the comparative analysis of cinema as it pertains to the adaptation of fairy tales. In the interest of succinctness, the scope of the analysis is narrowed to examining the gender roles as they relate to the portrayal of women and female nature in two specific cinematic recreations of the iconic fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. For the interest of gaining a perspective on the portrayal of gender roles in fairy tale films in different time periods, the essay focuses on Disney’s 1937 animated feature Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Universal’s 2012 Snow White and the Huntsman. The analysis follows the guiding question: How do Disney’s 1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Universal Studio’s 2012 Snow White and the Huntsman’s portrayals of women and gender roles differ from Grimm’s original Snow White fairy tale, and how do those differences reflect the socio-cultural gender expectations of their respective time periods? With detailed observations regarding the differences between both films and the original fairy tale along with analysis of relevant socio-cultural gender expectations of both 1930’s America and contemporary society, the essay clearly proves that with the cinematic portrayal of fairy tales comes the development of gender roles and expectations as they relate to the socio-cultural gender constructs of the time period in which they exist.

Jenny Agel   “At the beginning of the EE process, I struggled with what I wanted to write about. I knew I wanted to focus on some aspect of culture or sociology; but because we have no anthropology classes in Sturgis, I had to look elsewhere. I was a child of the nineties, at the height of the second wave of Disney animation. That means I grew up listening fairy tales both on the screen and off. One of the most prevalent of those stories was the classic Snow White. The idea of analyzing my favorite childhood movie was not just fascinating, but fun. It was my Theater teacher (who would eventually become my adviser) who suggested I look into the relatively new topic of Literature and Performance in order to pursue it. Familiarity and knowledge of my subject was already there, now all that remained was to get started!”

Joey Benedict  – Human Rights

One of Many 2010 Haitian Earthquake Victims.
Both of her parents were killed in the earthquake but she miraculously survived and was adopted by  local family.   Photo by Rachel Todoroff.

Is The Haitian Government Improving Human Rights For Its Citizens Through Democracy?

Abstract:  This essay focuses on the recent past of Haiti from 1987 to the present day. After being a nation that was ruled by various tyrants and dictators for over a century, Haiti at last took a step towards democracy with the drafting of a democratic constitution in 1987. Since then, the Haitian government has strived to enforce this democratic constitution, but the reality is that Haitian citizens are still not guaranteed their rights. This leads one to the research question of this essay, which is “To what extent has the development of democracy in Haiti improved human rights for Haitian citizens?”

To analyze the effectiveness of democracy in Haiti, I found various secondary sources such as articles from academic journals and  reports from government organizations. Through these sources I found clear documented evidence of the state violating habeas corpus and neglecting to give all its citizens adequate living conditions. As a result, I concluded that the Haitian government, although it has taken legal measures to guarantee the rights of its citizens, has not practiced sufficient law enforcement to significantly improve the human rights of Haitian citizens.

Joey Benedict: “Choosing an extended essay topic was not easy for me. I had ideas anywhere from an English essay on science fiction to a Physics essay on Einstein, so by the summer I had not even found a subject area let alone a topic or research question. Fortunately, I was privileged enough to travel to Haiti in July on a missions trip, and this ended up giving me direction for my extended essay. After seeing with my own eyes the living conditions of the people in Port-au-Prince, I couldn’t help but write about the human rights in Haiti.

Looking back on the writing experience, I’d say I made things rather hard on myself for choosing a subject field that wasn’t even taught at Sturgis. I had to research human rights theory from scratch and find a multitude of sources to back my arguments up (I ended up needing 20, not including the sources I didn’t end up using). However, I think it was all worth it, because I knew my final draft was a huge accomplishment and something I invested my best effort into. I do wish I could have chosen a topic earlier though!”

Michael Chan – Dance

Research Question:   How has the evolution of street dance reflected the culture of American society in the past century?

Abstract:   Dance: the very mention of it stirs up images of people in motion, encompassing everything from the graceful movements of ballet to the gravity-defying moves of break dancing. It highlights the beauty of the human form, inspires countless paintings and poems, and captivates audiences both young and old. With the accessibility of the internet, dance is quickly becoming a part of mainstream culture. Growth in the street scene has been especially impressive; modern street dance has spread to the furthest reaches of the world and every year thousands of dancers and dance groups compete in international dance competitions to showcase their best moves/abilities.

How has the evolution of street dance reflected the culture of American society in the past century? To answer this research question, I found several online sources that detailed the evolution of street dance over the past hundred years and created a timeline as well as a “family tree” of sorts to help me visualize dance’s progression over time. I then took the timeline and analyzed the forms of dance and the background to the dance as well as other factors or events that were going on at the time. The scope of this investigation was within a time period of the last century and focuses solely on the evolution of the dance form known as street dance.

What I found was that dance evolves and fluctuates with the time period, becoming whatever society needs it to be at that moment, whether it be a form of self-expression, a means to get away from the troubles of the world, a community, an art form, or a source of entertainment, dance has always rose to meet and reflect the nature of the culture at that time.

Michael Chan:  ” After having all of my physics related Extended Essay topics shot down, I decided to write on a topic that has affected much of my high school life. Dance. The entire reason I chose to write the essay on this topic was due to a TED talk that I had watched previously that talked about how with the advent of the internet, dance was evolving before our very eyes. The idea of that was so inspiring to me, and it was truly a fun thing to research.  

For me, writing this Extended Essay was all a matter of putting a puzzle together. Once I had the research and information gathering done, it all boiled down to putting it all together into an essay. This was the hardest, but also the most fun part of the entire process as through it, I was able to see a bunch of assorted facts come together to create a flowing piece.

I was so into this project that the biggest thing that I took away from it, was the realization that I had at the end of the entire ordeal of writing it. The fact that dance evolves in order to encompass the needs of the people at the time was something that truly astonished me and affected me greatly.”

Lauren Clingan – Spanish

La expresión de las ideas políticas de Pablo Neruda en su poesía ¿Cómo usa Pablo Neruda su poesía para expresar sus opiniones políticas, en los poemas El Pueblo y Al Difunto Pobre?

Resumen: Esta investigación averigua cómo expresa Pablo Neruda sus ideas políticas en su poesía. Neruda influenciaba mucha gente, políticos y lectores inclusos. Por eso, sus pensamientos tienengran valor. En su poesía, Neruda explica algo del Partido Comunista de Chile, la historia de supaís, y esta época. Además, relata el cuento de los pobres, llamando por un futuro mejor con sus ideas comunistas – socialistas. El ensayo contesta la pregunta ¿cómo expresa Pablo Neruda susopiniones políticas, en los poemas El Pueblo y Al Difunto Pobre?

El ámbito de la investigación incluye sólo las ideas de Neruda que expone en los poemas El Pueblo y Al Difunto Pobre. Yo hago un análisis detallado de estos dos poemas, escritos por Neruda en 1962. Además, consulto biografías de Pablo Neruda, información antecedente de la política chilena, y crítica literatura de las obras de Neruda.

Las conclusiones de este ensayo indican las creencias comunistas de Neruda; creía en la igualdad, apoyaba la clase obrera, y opina que todos tienen una responsabilidad ética de ayudar a los pobres. Neruda usa técnicas literarias variadas para expresar estas creencias, incluyendo la voz narrativa, el simbolismo, y la imaginería. Las dos obras El Pueblo y Al Difunto Pobre dilucidan estas creencias comunistas de Pablo Neruda.

Lauren Clingan: “I decided from the beginning that I wanted to write my Extended Essay in Spanish  because it would make the whole process more interesting and would be a great opportunity to practice and improve my Spanish. I came across my topic when I was looking at a poetry book Ms. Briggs had lent me (which I still need to return)! I read these two poems, “Al Difunto Pobre” and “El Pueblo”, which are about people’s fundamental rights, equality, poverty in Latin America, and Neruda’s opinions on these topics, and I knew that I could write the essay about them! These are topics that I’m interested in and will study in college. Once I finally sat down to write, I realized that I was prepared (enough) to write in Spanish, but also that I have a lot to learn about the concepts I was writing about. I definitely learned about managing my time and setting/following my own deadlines. Writing this affirmed my interest in Spanish language, Latin American culture, and Public Policy, and showed me how much more there is to know in these areas!”

Casey Cunningham – History

Nelson Mandela and the 1995 Rugby World Cup, and their Influence and Effectiveness on Race Relations in South Africa.

Research Question: To what extent were Nelson Mandela’s strategies in using the 1995 Rugby World Cup effective in reducing racial tensions left over from the end of South African Apartheid until 2003?

Abstract: This extended essay examines the question: “To what extent were Nelson Mandela’s strategies in using the 1995 Rugby World Cup effective in reducing racial tensions left over from the end of South African Apartheid until 2003?” In order to address this, aspects such as apartheid’s background, Mandela’s background, rugby and race relations, and the chaos that ensued during P.W. Botha’s presidency, were assessed to provide historical context. Furthermore, the abolition of Apartheid and Mandela’s ascension to power, as well as the 1995 Rugby World Cup and the post-World Cup years from 1996 to 2003 were analyzed.

In order to assess these aspects, primary sources such as the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Mandela and De Klerk, and secondary sources such as John Carlin’s, Playing the Enemy, were evaluated. This examination leads to the conclusion that, the 1995 Rugby World Cup, provided a moment when South Africans of all different races supported both the Springboks and Mandela. Furthermore, the victory was highly symbolic of what the unity of the country could achieve. Thus, Mandela effectively used rugby to ease racial tensions and provide South Africa with the tools of maintaining this atmosphere. However, racial tensions were not eliminated altogether. There were still internal conflicts such as political disagreements and violence. Furthermore, another interpretation is that Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC) established in 1996 was more effective in easing tensions. However, the TRC focused more on labeling Apartheid as a crime, and the negative aspects of the past, Whereas the World Cup took on a more positive focus: unity and a common goal- “One Team, One Country.”

Brenna Joyce – Biology

The Relationship between the Evolution of the Hominid Skull, the Evolution of Hominid Foot, and the Evolution of the Hominid Pelvis

Research Question: How does the hominid skull’s changing in size and shape over time in evolution correspond with the size and shape of the hominid foot’s changing over time and the size and shape of the hominid pelvis’s changing over time?

Abstract:  Hominid evolution has been one of the most controversial studies in biology for the past century. Although there is a limited amount of fossils for many of the different species and genuses, connections and theories have been made about how Homo sapiens became the way they are. One aspect of “becoming human” is walking on two feet or being bipedal. Bipedalism refers to locomotion on two legs.   Many animals have facultative bipedalism, which means they move on two legs temporarily in order to perform a function like reaching for or carrying food.  But the only animals that are habitually bipedal are humans and birds.  This investigation analyzes whether or not hominids evolved into being bipedal at the same rate they became more intelligent. This relationship might reveal that there was a direct relation between intelligence, tool making, and being bipedal. Most scientists agree that hominids began using tools around 2.8 million years ago.  There is evidence that hominids walked on two feet as early as 6 million years ago, but its confirmed that they were mostly bipedal 4 million years ago.  It’s greatly debated whether or not hominids became intelligent first or became bipedal first, but I like to believe they both evolved at the same time in a mutually inclusive way.

This paper investigates the comparison of the rate of change between species of hominid over time in size and shape of the skull, foot, and pelvis fossils and analyzes how this can supply us with information to understand the relationship between becoming bipedal and becoming intelligent. The procedure used a variety of different data collected from fossils of hominids of different species and processed them to calculate a rate of change that can be compared from bone type to bone type. Data was collected from different types of ape or hominid and from each of the different parts of the body; skull, foot, pelvis. Due to not owning or having access to any of the physical fossils or even molds, pictures were measured in their stead. The essential data processing for the investigation is rate of change and standard deviation. The data was processed by plotting the lengths or widths of a bones along with numerals assigned to their species, and a line of best fit was created to see the general rate of change of the bones from older species to newer species. The investigation resulted in the rate of change between the hominid species to have a standard deviation of 0.87, though the pelvic bones were outliers and changed at much faster rate. This meant that the evolution of the hominid foot and the evolution of the hominid skull evolved at similar rates, but it did not address whether or not these similar rates of change happened at the same time.

Brenna Joyce: “I have always been interested in the human mind and the difference between humans and other animals. I always wanted to know the crucial element that set the homo sapiens apart from any other animal on earth. I jumped from psychology to sociology to anthropology to biology in my particular interests, but the topic has always been the same. So when it came down to choosing a topic for my extended essay, I knew I would have fun researching and studying how humans came to be truly human. I feel like I’ve gotten quite a taste for the trials and tribulations of an evolutionary biologist or forensic anthropologist with all of the failed measuring and educated guesses. I definitely feel a great deal more experienced with a 3500+ essay under my belt not only because I dedicated myself to the project but also because I’ve recognized that there aren’t any easy answers, something I couldn’t really grasp from just working in my biology class.” 

Devin Low – History

To what extent did the changing nature of warfare turn the Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) of 1943 into the Navy SEALs (SEa Air and Land) of 1973?

Abstract:  This Extended Essay analyzes the factors that led to the change in the Underwater Demolition Teams (Frogmen) into the Navy SEALs as we know them today. It inspects the teams in the time period from their creation in 1943, through to the end of the Vietnam War in 1973. It focuses on the teams in terms of their tactics, training, and their operational capacity.

The Essay concludes that the main factor was the continuously changing nature of warfare that caused the change from Frogmen to SEALs. The change from land based warfare to island hopping battles where invasions by sea were required every few months. The enemies began mining the beaches and pretty soon a group that could disable these obstacles was required. Hence the Frogmen were born. As wars progressed more inland the Frogmen began to grow legs in order to stay in the fight and soon they would be engaging in missions alongside other commandos. Finally in Vietnam when warfare truly began to change over to an unconventional style of war the Navy SEALs were formed to give America the edge in this new kind of combat. The only limitation of the investigation is that the SEALs are a very secretive operation and only a fraction of their story is able to be told.

Devin Low:  “There were a couple of reasons why I chose this topic. One, was that I found it very interesting so it was something that I had fun writing about. Two, was that it is the 50th anniversary of the formation of SEAL Team One and I wanted to learn the history that got them there, and finally, I am interested in trying out for the SEALs after college, so I am always interested to know more about them. Throughout this experience of writing the EE I learned a lot of things I didn’t know about the SEALs and got a different perspective on World War 2 from the Frogman’s point of view. I also learned a great deal about how to manage large research and writing projects like the EE and I am no longer worried about writing essays for college. My only advice to people who are about to tackle the challenge of writing an EE is to listen to you teachers. Do as much of it as you can over the summer and Senior year will be just a little bit easier.”

Kourtney Meiss – Information Technology in a Global Society (ITGS)

The Effects of Internet Addiction on Teenagers in the United States

To what extent does Internet addiction have harmful health and social impacts on teenagers in the United States?

Abstract   This extended essay explores the question, to what extent does Internet addiction have harmful health and social impacts on teenagers in the United States?

The world has been significantly impacted by the development of the Internet. Remarkable advantages have been reaped by those with access, but, as always, there are consequences. With an exponential growth of those with Internet access each year, social and heath impacts are being observed. It is suggested that people have now become addicted to the Internet in the same way some are addicted to drugs. Without recognition from the World Heath Organization it becomes difficult to implement solution to this problem. The scope of this paper ncompasses how using the Internet leads to impacts socially and medically for teenagers specifically in the United States. This is presented through the IT and historical background of this issue, which explores the factors of evolution of the Internet into what it is today. It investigates the social and ethical impacts on the stakeholders in order to suggest possible solutions in order to keep youth safe and combat Internet addiction before it becomes a larger issue.

In conclusion, the effects of Internet addiction on teenagers in the United States are significantly negative and explored extensively. This paper will evaluate the impact of the addressed problem. Overall, revealing the American Psychiatric Association and the World Health Organization’s need to recognize Internet addiction. In partnership with the United States Government, they should take action to combat the issue and implement regulation of Internet use.

Kourtney Meiss:  How I chose my topic: “I knew right away that I wanted to write my EE about something in ITGS (information technology in a global society). The upper classmen were definitely right when they said to pick something you’re passionate about because so much time will be invested into the production of the EE. One day at work I was reading a TIME magazine article that talked about the human reliance on technology by using the example of Jason Russell, the mastermind behind the viral “KONY 2012” video. It went into “where is he now…why did we suddenly stop hearing about him and this event.” He actually went “insane” due to the fact that he had to be online 24/7 tracking the progress of the video and working on coordinating everything. Psychologists studying this said that he indeed was addicted to the internet. I made personal connections to this article and because I was intrigued so much I knew this was the perfect topic.

The Process: I was one of those people that really wish I had done something over the summer because it was hard to balance completing my EE and doing my school assignments. This is such an overwhelming task and I didn’t know where to start or how to structure it, but I just sat down and wrote everything I wanted to say. Then, I went back and split everything up into sections to make sure that mass amount of information was included. (This came out to be kind of like an outline). Then to get supporting results I sent a Google Survey out through managebac to all the students and faculty and had about a 50% response rate, which was incredible. It took many drafts for this to become a product I was happy with, but there’s no better feeling than handing your EE in and getting a gold star put around your neck. 

What I gained: This seemed like an impossible task when I first got it and many times I questioned whether I was going to be able to complete it. The EE definitely tests some of the skills learned at Sturgis and requires you to go outside of that and figure things out on your own. However, I proved to myself and to my advisor that I could do it and learned so much about Internet Addiction in the process. I went on to lead a school-wide event, The National Day of Unplugging, which encourages people to stop and think about our reliance on technology and challenges people to give up something for a day to revisit the present. In addition, the whole research/writing process improved my skills in essay writing and gives me the confidence that I will be able tackle any assignment thrown my way in college.” 

Alicia Pollard – Literature & Performance

Research question: How would a theatrical dramatization of C.S. Lewis’ The Magician’s Nephew visually interpret three of the book’s worlds to communicate each one’s symbolic meaning?

Abstract: This investigation will use textual and theatrical analysis to investigate the research question: how would a theatrical dramatization of C.S. Lewis’ The Magician’s Nephew visually interpret three of the book’s worlds to communicate each one’s symbolic meaning? Treating literature and theatre as two separate languages, capable of communicating through symbolism and imagery, the investigation will show a method by which The Magician’s Nephew, a literary work, might be translated into a theatrical production in such a way that the production can convey the work’s ideas in a different medium. For example, if the literary work describes a personality with words, the theatrical production could describe the same character with the actor’s costume – each “language” using its capabilities to communicate. This investigation focuses on one literary work, The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis, and one feature of said work, setting. Focusing on the textual setting, this investigation studies how these settings could be conveyed theatrically through set design: for instance, how the symbolism and atmosphere of a written description of a mountain in the story could be recaptured in the choices of a set designer in a theatrical production. The book’s settings have been divided into three main sections, defined by the worlds Lewis created and described: the fictional Charn and Narnia, and the Earth he portrays (seen as London, circa 1900). This investigation will interpret the mood, significance, and meaning of Charn, Narnia and Earth in turn, and then examine how a theatrical production of the work could use specific tools of stage design to express these ideas. The literary analysis will prove that Lewis uses Charn and Narnia of examples of what Earth was and could become in the nuclear age, and the theatrical interpretation will explain how his message could be imparted visually.

Alicia Pollard:  “I have always loved theatre and English, and I was thrilled to find a subject area which incorporated both. Though I was a little nervous about choosing a subject that few had tried before (the I.B. didn’t even have an example essay for it), I was intrigued enough to choose Literature and Performance. My book, The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis, was an old favorite and I was excited to see what my research showed about interpreting it theatrically. Writing my extended essay was stressful because of deadlines, but I loved the subject and topic so much that I enjoyed it a lot. Starting the essay during the summer was a huge benefit too, because it gave me the time to completely polish it before I submitted it. I was worried that I would be thoroughly sick of the book by the time I finished after having spent so much time on it, but happily I found that having researched and analyzed it I liked it even more. Writing the Extended Essay taught me that writing about something you love shouldn’t feel like work and giving a project some extra time before coming back to it really helps the creative process.”

Olivia Sequin – Biology

What is the effect of varying yeast concentrations and gluten protein content in flour on the rise of bread in centimeters?

Abstract:  The research question being investigated in this essay is ‘What is the effect of varying yeast concentrations and gluten protein content in flour on the rise of bread?’ An original experiment is conducted in which 30 loaves of bread are baked using a bread machine. Fifteen of the loaves are made with varying yeast concentrations. The other fifteen are made with flours containing varying gluten contents (0%, 11%, and 12.7%). The height of the loaves after baking are then measured and manipulated to conclude which gluten and yeast concentrations yield bread with the highest and lowest rise. The results of the investigation demonstrated that the loaves baked with the medium yeast concentration rose the most while the loaves baked with the high yeast concentration rose the least. After consulting various outside sources, I found several possible explanations for why this happened. One reasoning could be that with too much yeast, the gluten does not have time to elasticize and hence cannot trap the CO2 released from the yeast which is responsible for the bread rising. The results also showed that the loaves baked with the all-purpose flour (medium gluten content) rose the most while the loaves baked with gluten-free flour (low gluten content) rose the least. Neither existing literature nor logic supports this result and therefore it may be due to an error.

Olivia Sequin:  “First of all, I decided to do my EE in Bio because it is basically an extended lab report and I have always been good at doing labs. It also means I do almost all of the research myself. I decided to do my EE on baking bread because I love to bake and I have a bread machine that takes almost all human error out of the bread making process, making it perfect for an experiment. I did all of my ‘research’ or baking over the summer and then the writing process was fairly easy since I followed a pretty strict format. The best part is I get to use what I learned to help me with baking and cooking outside of school.”

Sara Sweeten – Psychology

Psychological Effects of Adoption: Extreme Case of the Argentine Dirty War

Research Question: How did the adoptions in the Dirty War cause psychological conflict for the “children of the disappeared” upon finding out about their real identities later in their lives?

Abstract:  This extended essay will evaluate the question: How did the adoptions in the Dirty War cause psychological conflict for the “children of the disappeared” upon finding out about their real identities later in their lives? The scope of this essay looks specifically at the effects of the Dirty War in Argentina in the 1970s. During this war, many left-wing activists against the government faced violence and murder, and consequently their children were kidnapped and “adopted” into the government. With the immense terror and family secrets, these children have faced complex and case-specific psychological issues with regards to their illegitimate adoption. Through previous literature and research conducted on adoption, it is possible to evaluate this question. Additionally, through the analysis of specific cases such as the lives of Horacio Pietragalla Corti and Alejandro Rei, it is possible to assess the extreme differences in psychological issues depending on the circumstances. This essay concludes that there are many factors which influence the psychological effects of the “children of the disappeared”. Factors which yielded their reactions include their adoptive parents’ military involvement, the fate of their biological parents, and the overall temperament of the person.

Sara Sweeten: “Choosing a topic for the extended essay was the most challenging part of all. From day 1 of brainstorming, I knew my main interests were in three areas: Spanish, psychology, and international relations. I knew if I could involve all of these topics, I would really enjoy the writing process. My subject area for the EE is in psychology, however with the basis of The Dirty War in Argentina. I had the chance to read a book in Spanish to study the subject as well. It was a difficult process the whole way through but I gained so much. 4,000 words sounds intimidating but now that I along with many of my peers have tackled it, I don’t think long papers in college will come as such a shock — which is a relief!” 

Sturgis Alumna Secures Crossroads to Freedom Internship Thanks to her Extended Essay

Freedom Summer - HibbertCaroline E. Hibbert (Class of 2010) got a paid summer internship with an organization documenting the civil rights movement – and she has her Sturgis I.B. Extended Essay to thank!

Caroline, who just concluded her junior year at Rhodes College in Memphis, is one of several students who will be conducting interviews with participants in the civil rights movement for Rhodes’ Crossroads to Freedom digital archives. During the interview process for a spot on the team, Caroline discussed her EE on Freedom Summer – and she’s sure that helped her secure the internship.

Caroline is scheduled to graduate from Rhodes next spring with a degree in international studies and a minor in French. During her senior year she will serve as student co-coordinator for multinational communities for the college’s Kinney Program. She spent her first semester junior year studying in Europe and last year was an after-school tutor for the Memphis Refugee Empowerment Program. The world view Caroline acquired at Sturgis has inspired her to pursue her interests in international events and multicultural communities.

For more information on Crossroads to Freedom, visit www.crossroadstofreedom.org.

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