2016 Sturgis Extended Essays (Summer 2016)

EE Stars East 001

EE Stars East Campus

EE Stars West 001

EE Stars West Campus


Our Shining Stars

By IB Coordinators Cindy Gallo (East) & Julie Carman Couhig (West)

Extended Essay Gold Star

Extended Essay Gold Star

A quote oft attributed to Nelson Mandela states, “It always seems impossible until it is done”. Almost two thousand years earlier, in Naturalis Historia, Pliny the Elder noted, “How many things, too, are looked upon as quite impossible until they have been actually effected?” Sturgis Seniors who took the challenge of writing an Extended Essay can certainly relate to these statements!

One of the most challenging, and rewarding, components of the IB Diploma Program, the Extended Essay (EE) is a required task for Diploma Candidates, but may be undertaken by any student. Students push themselves to explore an area that they have a personal interest in while they learn how to organize their thoughts (and properly cite the thoughts of others) as they construct a 4000 word essay. Each year, Sturgis grads return with stories of how writing the EE helped them handle the workload and writing assignments at University.

Like for all difficult IB tasks, there is a scaffold of support at Sturgis for students writing an EE: each student has a faculty member as their EE advisor and they receive research and citation training from our librarians, Mrs. D-A, Ms. Milne and Mrs. Carah. Sturgis’ EE Coordinators, Ms. Daley and Mr. Hodge, oversee the process for all students and create milestones to keep everyone on track. Sturgis teachers do not assess the essays; they are sent to examiners at IB schools around the world for marking. This year, EEs were sent to examiners in China, Singapore, India, Equador, Argentina, among many other countries as well as in other U.S schools.

Approximately two-thirds of the Seniors at East and West campuses wrote an EE in one of 26 different subjects, ranging from Math to Music. The most popular subjects for writing an EE in remain English and History, but more students are expanding into subjects we offer as electives such as Business and Psychology. World Studies EEs are also being undertaken more frequently, as they offer an opportunity for students to explore large scale issues such as the Environment and Economic Stability or Equality and Inequality.

The EE is just one of many challenges that help our students grow as they continue their journey of life-long learning. Congratulations to the class of 2016, you have done the seemingly impossible!  Best of luck wherever your journey next takes you.

Reflection on the EE Process – Marca Daley, EE Coordinator

Last year’s change in terminology from deadlines to milestones (see the 2015 Extended Essay article Sturgis Soundings) gave senior diploma students a bit more flexibility in pacing themselves throughout their EE journey, and hopefully alleviated some of their stress, too.   Unfortunately, the time available to these EE candidates didn’t change, and those who tended to wait to meet the milestones found themselves pressured as the final deadline approached.   

Aaron Dunigan AtLee works with EE students

Aaron Dunigan AtLee works with EE students

In an effort to support EE seniors, special workshops were offered throughout the first semester:   two in the week before classes started in August; one EE “Lock-In” at the end of September and several EE afternoon study sessions in the final weeks of November and December for those who hoped to benefit from supervised work time.  

The first Extended Essay was submitted in December and by February, most seniors had completed submission of their extended essays, engaged in the viva voce, and best of all, received their stars!  Many thanks to the students and their supervisors for their concerted efforts in this core component of the IB Diploma.

At the same time that seniors reached the end of the EE journey,  juniors were beginning theirs.  Junior candidates enrolled in an EE Course on Google Classroom, and students, parents and supervisors were ‘kept in the loop’ through regular EE announcements and progress reports.

In February juniors were introduced to the EE process, and by March they had decided on subject areas and found supervisors.  In April those students still looking for a supervisor had a chance to share ideas with and ask questions of experienced supervisors at a Library Lunch session, and by the end of April students had participated in research workshops led by Sturgis librarians Kate Dunigan-Atlee and Daniela Milne, where they were reintroduced to the CLAMS, Mass. Commonwealth and Boston Public Library systems.   

In May, juniors had their first EE “Lock-In” and spent four hours meeting with supervisors,  researching their topics, and fine-tuning their research questions.  As we break for the summer, a visit to Cape Cod Community College is planned for the end of June.  The 4C’s library director will give a quick tour of the library, show students how to access the stacks and their databases, and allow time for research and reading.   Sturgis students are welcome to use the 4C’s library over the summer, which is when the bulk of their research should be completed.    

The new school year will start in September and our expectation is that students will return with a substantial draft of their extended essay.  And so the cycle goes….   

Advice from Students

At the end of the EE process, many seniors had words of advice for the juniors.   Most of the advice focused on time management, but some were subject specific and some centered on the choice of topic.  

From Deja Andrews:  One piece of advice I have is to start earlier (start in the junior year) and meet with your advisor.

From Mitchell Burns: The advice that I would give to students doing an EE is to choose a subject that aligns with your personal interests because it makes the project more easy to do.

From Sarah Byron:  Find something that you are genuinely passionate about and also to do it as early as possible to get it off your shoulders.

Katie Curran receives a gold star for turning in her EE

Katie Curran receives a gold star for turning in her EE

From Katie Curran (World Studies):  If you select a World Studies topic, it’s great because the structure of it really lets you break down the essay into digestible groups.  You can really delve into economics or environmental science or whatever lens you have, whether it be sociology or business, and it makes it very clear and concise. and provides you with different insights into one single topic, making you have a greater appreciation for it.   This was a really wonderful area to do an extended essay in.

From Rohan Kansagara (Physics) When I first learned about the Extended Essay in my Junior year, I remember being intimidated to write 4,000 words.  I started considering ideas at the EE SLAM in the library last December. I was interested in rockets, initially, how a real rocket worked, how the pressure built up, and had even built a bottle rocket in elementary school. When asked about my EE by Mr. Hodge, I thought I could return to this idea as an extention of my interest in Rockets. I ended up working with Dennis Pace on a Physics Investigation about the performance of  “Liquid Propelled Rockets,” and was primarily interested in how different liquid densities affect the propulsion. Answering that question in the Extended Essay demanded a lot of my time, and actually filled a  38 page essay,  but I learned a great deal in that investigation! What I wrote in my EE actually could be  background for future experiments I might consider at college.

From Brian Kelsey (History):  The best part about a History EE is definitely the research because it’s so interesting (I had over 30 pages of notes!), but the hardest part is definitely starting the writing.  What I didn’t realize at the time was that I should have gone right into my information and then written the introduction later.  The introduction is more than just saying what you did; it’s an attention grabber and has to say what is in the entire essay, so you have to have the essay written before you write it.   One piece of advice that I have is don’t begin the essay without doing the research.

From Julien Legault:  One big piece of advice is choose your advisor wisely. Find an advisor who you want to go and talk about the subject with; not someone you really want to avoid.

From Zoe Neal (Biology):  The best part of doing a Biology EE is that once you finish your lab, the actual write-up of your analysis and conclusion (which ends up being the majority of your essay and your word count) is easy.  After you analyze your data, you’re basically done, so the write-up of the paper ended up going quite fast.  The worst part was that I didn’t make my orders for my lab materials until the end of September and didn’t get them until the beginning of November.  The school actually takes a very long time to order, so keep that in mind.  One piece of advice:  if you can, try to write your procedures out at the end of the spring so you can come into the school and do your lab over the summer.  If you do that, your lab (I had 10 hours of lab work) is all done when you come back to school, and you can just finish writing your draft in September.

From Kaitlyn Smith:  One piece of advice when writing an EE is to be on time with the deadlines so that you can get feedback.  I think that feedback and having someone else read my work (which I had read a thousand times so it sounded okay to me) was the most helpful part of the writing process.

The Role of Sturgis Libraries in the Extended Essay Process

By Kate Dunigan AtLee and Daniela Milne (East Librarians)
EE Lockin 4

Daniela Milne works with students

As librarians, the Extended Essay is one of our favorite pieces of the IB program. The EE provides incredible opportunities for our students to discover their passions and learn research, writing, communication and presentation skills that will serve them in college and beyond. Students are often both fascinated and terrified by this project. Most find it difficult to know where to start. Our role as librarians is to support, encourage, and give students the research skills and resources they need to be successful.

We work with students both individually and in class to help them find diverse academic sources for their research; to discuss topic selection and creating a compelling research question; to walk them through citing sources, avoiding unintentional plagiarism and formatting their paper. 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 books and journal articles from around Massachusetts, the country, and occasionally, the world.

EE Lockin

EE Slam

Sometimes what our students need most is a quiet focused place to get some work done. So, in addition to information literacy instruction, we also host writing/research sessions affectionately called EE Slams or Lock-ins. Usually we hold these work sessions in the fall but this year we decided to hold one for the juniors in the spring. Those who attended have the advantage of entering the summer with quite a bit of their preliminary research done.

This summer we will continue our partnership with Cape Cod Community College’s Wilkens Library, inviting rising seniors to attend a work day there. Tim Gerolami, CCCC’s Coordinator of Library services will introduce students to their collections and databases, give a brief tour of the library and show them how to access computers, WiFi, and printers. Students will have time to research and have been invited by Mr. Gerolami to use the Wilkens Library over the summer. We hope many students will take advantage of Wilkens’ helpful librarians, resources, and quiet work space over the vacation.

By Laura Carah (West Librarian)

The EE Development at West went into full throttle from September to December. After a successful EE SLAM, the special evening where dedicated Seniors spend four hours of uninterrupted time researching EE topics,West saw even more Seniors attending than last year, with parents very generously supporting with meals, salads, and snacks. Researching students utilized the EE Binders for model EEs, as well as the Sturgis Resource page, and were reminded of the many sources available on apps within  their own mobile technology.  Though the library received many more students researching during the SLAM, they were unusually independent,  demonstrating they were well-prepared from working within their TOK classes. Students requests for help finding materials for their topics increased this year with the announcement of the necessity of having a balance of text and online sources in their citations. The class of 2015 pushed hard during the Fall semester, with the majority of the class completing their EE’s on time, before break in December.

Extended Essay students came together twice in the library to support their Extended Essays
Once in December, and then again on October 16 of this year, West seniors gathered in the library, and, as graduating classes before them, had the opportunity to develop an Extended Essay of 4,000 words.  TOK teacher, Matt Hodge, encouraged teachers to stop by to support their EE candidates as they moved toward the latter stages essay development.  Librarian, Laurie Carah, provided  online exemplars from 2015 students, encouraged students to peruse the EE binders of sample EEs, shared the weblinks to the Sturgis Formatting Guide, and gave research reminders about the support students could find for the finishing touches on their final essays using the Purdue OWL Formatting and Style Guides online.  Some hearty dishes and snacks were available to keep the Juniors going throughout the evening investigations.


A Sampling of Sturgis 2016 Extended Essays


Jordan Albrizio, Psychology

AlbrezioResearch Question: “How does the marketing of food affect childhood obesity?”

Abstract: This paper begins by describing the issue surrounding obesity throughout the globe. Obesity is becoming a much more prevailing problem, with the prevalence rates growing increasingly in nearly every country. However, the predominance of obesity in children is also cultivating rapidly, meaning that this issue is nearly an epidemic. There is not one specific cause of obesity, but rather a combination. The actual definition and some history of obesity are explored, as well as the four main points of marketing. Marketing techniques that are used on children have been under scrutiny in the past; however, they are still as extensive as ever.

This essay focuses on the some of the most common marketing tactics geared towards children and how children of different ages may interpret these advertisements on a cognitive level. A cognitive theory developed by Piaget is analyzed and applied to the different forms of advertising, both in-and-out of school, being discussed. The four stages of development from Piaget’s theory are depicted in a more in depth way as to how it may be applied to marketing.

Following the investigation of how children may be affected by marketing on a cognitive level, an exploration of what kinds of foods are marketed to children takes place. Through this examination, a clear connection between the relationships of food with advertising is made. It is this connection that suggests that the marketing of unhealthy food does indeed promote obesity in young children. This paper concludes with formulating that the constant advertising of food plays a role in children’s choices, and ultimately can be determined as one factor causing the rise in obesity found amongst children.

Lauren Berkley,  Human Rights

BerkleyThe Limited Educational Rights of Women in Afghanistan: A Human Rights Dilemma

Research Question: How are the limited educational rights of women in Afghanistan justified?

Abstract: This essay is focused on the issue of the lack of education of women in Afghanistan as understood from both a cultural relativist perspective and a universality of human rights perspective. Throughout Afghanistan’s history, the interpretation and implementation of Islam, the patriarchal society, and the destruction from the Civil War and subsequent Taliban rule have all contributed to the discrimination against women and their inability to receive an education.  My research questioned, “How can the limited educational rights of women in Afghanistan be justified?” On one hand, the limited educational rights of women in Afghanistan are a blatant violation of human rights as defined by the UN Declaration of Human Rights. On the other hand, my research also questioned whether or not it is justified to judge another culture simply because it does not conform to widely accepted terms of human rights. In researching this topic, I used articles and books found online. I even read passages from AlQu’ran.  My research gave me a clear understanding of this perfect example of how ambiguous human rights issues can really be. While it is my own personal judgement based on my research that women should be educated around the world because otherwise would be a violation of human rights, I realized that not all individuals or countries have the same value systems, and these differences should be taken into consideration when examining what can be considered justified or not within human rights.

Mathias Boyar, Music

BoyarResearch Question: To what extent are musical characteristics from the Renaissance and Romantic periods utilized within the song “Bohemian Rhapsody” by the band Queen?

Abstract: This essay will explore the common use of musical characteristics and compositional techniques used during the Romantic and Renaissance musical periods and how they are employed in the Queen song, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Contrary to popular belief, these forms and techniques never subsided, but rather took new form, showing up in more subtle ways in music that would not be created for centuries. The aim of this essay is to outline the ways in which these elements are presented in “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, so as to demonstrate the continuity of these various techniques as they relate to their use in the Renaissance and the Romantic musical periods.

The key resources utilized are as follows: the analysis of “Margot Labourez Les Vigne” by Jacques Arcadelt, an analysis of an extract from “Symphony No. 8,” or “Unfinished Symphony” by Franz Schubert, a self-made list of Renaissance and Romantic elements (melody, rhythm, etc.) collected from former analyses and knowledge, and auditory listening to “Bohemian Rhapsody” and the analysis of its score. The musical features sought out during listening and analysis will subsequently be compared to “Bohemian Rhapsody” so as to determine the degree to which they are used within it. This essay will have three scopes: since the focus is on musical elements from the Romantic and Renaissance periods, the first two are 1450 1600 (Renaissance) and 1820 1900 (Romantic.) For Queen, it is hardly a timeline at all. The song “Bohemian Rhapsody” came out in 1975, and its scope is from 1970 1979 (70’s Progressive rock).

Queen was an excellent demonstrator of the continuity of music; they utilized many aspects of both the Renaissance and the Romantic musical periods. These elements, employed as both tribute and beauty, are used greatly within their song “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Katie N. Curran, World Studies:  Economic and Environmental Sustainability

CurranAnalyzing the Viability of Offshore Wind Energy on Cape Cod in Regards to Environmental Science and Economic Factors

Research Question: To what extent is wind energy viable on Cape Cod when assessing environmental science and economic factors (1996- present)?

Abstract: As a native Cape Codder, I have been drawn to environmental science and economics: two abstracts bound together like an anchor securely holding its ship. Living in a coastal region, I have spent my childhood sailing in the waters of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. As I navigated local waters by boat, I attentively observed the potent strength of the wind. At a young age, I made a connection between the harnessing of wind energy while sailing and the collection of wind energy from offshore wind farms.

This extended essay will explore the question: To what extent is wind energy viable on Cape Cod when assessing environmental science and economic factors? The scope of this topic encompasses two aspects of energy security: the general advancement in wind turbines across the global community and the development of the Cape Wind Project in the United States of America. This ranges from 1996 to the present.

In terms of parameters, the research was limited to environmental and economic factors.  The research includes the particulars of Cape Wind, touted as “America’s first Offshore Wind Farm,” along with the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed initiative. From a global perspective, this comprehensive evaluation underscores successful preexisting offshore wind farms such as those in Denmark. Through comparing and contrasting these geographically widespread situations, the scope of the topic was widened to address issues of global importance.  Economics and environmental science were brought together through the analysis of global implications including disturbed ecosystems and dwindling oil prices.

The global community must address the future of energy security now. This paper heightens the debate; through a discerning lens, this work analyzes the environmental and economic factors affecting offshore wind farm viability. The Cape Wind Project serves as a powerful example of the transforming energy landscape.

Maria Girardin, Biology

GirardinThe Effect of Proximity to the Coast on Infestations by Callirhytis ceropteroides

Research Question: How does the proximity of Quercus velutina to the coast affect its likelihood of being infested by Callirhytis ceropteroides on Cape Cod ?

Abstract: This extended essay will explore the ecological distribution of the black oak gall wasp, attempting to answer the question, how does the proximity of a black oak tree ( Quercus velutina) to the coast affect its likelihood of it being infested by the black oak gall wasp ( Callirhytis ceropteroides ) on Cape Cod? It will examine the behavioral qualities of gall wasps and their response to volatile chemical secretions of trees and factors that affect such secretions.

In order to explore this, a data collection was carried out by means of recording longitude and latitude and level of infestation of each tree within a transect. The level of infestation was determined qualitatively by looking for the extent of visual symptoms such as the appearance of adventitious growth, swollen twigs, exit holes, defoliation and deadwood as done by arborists when determining the amount of injection chemicals a particular tree needs as treatment for infestation. Later, the distance from each tree to the coast was calculated and put into a data table along with the level of infestation measurements.

These measurements were then processed into a graph of level of infestation over distance from the coast and a linear line of best fit was made in order to determine the correlation of the data. Pearson’s Correlation Coefficient calculations were used to find the strength of correlation of the data collected. External Data was then brought in for analysis.

Later, it was concluded that the closer a black oak was to the coast, the more likely it was to be very infested by the black oak gall wasp due to coastal conditions such as wind intensity and unfavorable soil. However, other factors that affected distribution such as wind direction and compaction of soil through human activity resulted in the data having a low correlation.

Elizabeth Happel, History

HappelVladimir Lenin’s adaptations to Marxism and their Effects on the Economic and Political State of the Soviet Union

Research Question: To what extent were Lenin’s adaptations to Marxism the reason that communism proved detrimental to the economic and political state of the Soviet Union from 1917 to 1924?

Abstract:  The scope of this investigation is from 1917, when the Bolsheviks replaced the Provisional Government, to 1924, when Lenin died. This range explores Lenin’s rise, through the end of his rule. By including Lenin’s rise within the scope, there is an understanding of what lead to his methods/ideas. The sources used are a variety of articles and books, which include excerpts of primary sources. Books like “Lenin: Liberator or Oppressor,” by John Laver, provide Lenin’s background and education, which assist the clarification of what influenced Lenin’s theories and policies. More specific articles, like C.N. Trueman’s “War Communism,” provide a detailed description of the intention of the policy, the outcome, and the more subtle nuances of the policy. The variety of sources provide a thorough description of the policies, the policy’s intentions, and causes. The mix of historian authors, and encyclopedia articles supply many well rounded perspectives.

The main conclusion of this essay is that Lenin was forcing Marxist theory on a country that was not prepared for communism. By analyzing the causes and results of War Communism, the New Economic Policy, and Lenin’s attempt at a Vanguard Party, it is apparent that the USSR, was more ready to move from feudalism into capitalism, rather than socialism or communism according to Marxist progression. Lenin’s attempts at Marxist theory appear to ignore that Marx developed a theory based on industrialized Germany while Lenin chooses to force revolution on a developing industry and agrarian based society. This advancement resulted in the USSR reverting back to capitalism, as per Marxist theory, as well as caused economic turmoil.

Christiane Kuppig, History

KuppigPopular film as Historical Evidence: An analysis of post WWII Italy 1945-53 and The Bicycle Thief

Research Question: To what extent can film be useful as historical evidence?

Abstract: This essay answers the question, “To what extent can film be used as historical evidence?” analyzing the economic and social conditions of Italy in the years 1945-1953 and the film The Bicycle Thief. The investigation was undertaken by first doing research about the economic and social conditions of Italy in the year 19451953.   These years were chosen because they directly followed the end of WWII in Italy and thus would allow an examination on the effects the war had on the conditions of Italy as a result. An analysis of social and economic conditions was chosen because evidence of these can be found in the film The Bicycle Thief. As the film shows the life of a single unemployed worker, there is less information in the film about political happenings during this time. The film The Bicycle Thief was chosen because it is one of the most famous films from the eight-year period, which could potentially make it a good reflection of the situation of the time as well as the kind of media that was popular with the public. The investigation begins with research into film used as a historical source, in order to understand what the strengths and limits of The Bicycle Thief as a historical source could be. Then the economic conditions of the period and how they are reflected in the film is presented, followed by social conditions and their reflection in the film. The conclusion reached is that film can be used as a historical source as a supplement to more reliable historical knowledge in order to gain greater insight and emotional understanding into a certain time period and place.

Kaitlyn Smith, World Studies:  Equality and Inequality

SmithFactors of French Policies Concerning Muslim Women

Research Question: What significant factors influenced the French government policies concerning Muslim women in France?

Abstract: This extended essay explores the question, “what significant factors influenced the French government policies concerning Muslim women in France?” It evaluates the significant historical and social anthropological factors that went into the various bans that have been put in place, barring girls from wearing hijabs from school along with making it illegal to wear niqabs and burqas in any public space. The ban was instated in 2004 limiting headwear in schools, and expanded as years went on, evolving to the extent it has in recent years. In evaluating the historical relationship between France and the Muslim world, the 20th century is considered, taking into consideration both the early 1900s in which France owned much of Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa along with the 1960s and 70s, during which a mass migration into France can be seen. The social anthropological factors are evaluated from a more modern standpoint, starting from the ban barring religious symbols in school, established in 2004, and looking into 2015.

In searching for information, sources were evaluated critically, looking at the pertinence to the topic at hand. The involvement of the author in both France and the Muslim world was considered during this process, seeing as I reside in the United States and therefore needed sources that explored different relevant perspectives, rather than an outsider’s take on the issue. In the end, it was concluded that the existing policies the French government has created dictating Muslim women in France are a product of both the historical relationship leading to tensions between France and the Muslim world along with the social attitudes due to factors including migration and current events.

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