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Northwest's Ulysses Program Showcases Students Passions and Prepares Next Generation of Research

Every year Northwest High School’s Ulysses Signature Program offers students a unique opportunity to enhance their high school experience through being involved in a small, nurturing intellectual community.

Last week, senior students participating in the school’s Ulysses Signature Program presented their final projects at the Ulysses Fair, which took place on last Wednesday and Thursday, with half of the seniors presenting on each day.

The honors program, which is unique to Northwest, is a four-year experience said Ulysses coordinator Dr. Suzanne Borenzweig. “The skills that they learn in the Ulysses Program are the skills that they are expected to know when they get to college, but most students don’t ever learn how to do it,” said Borenzweig. “In the Ulysses Program, we take them step by step through the upper-level college research process. We actually teach them how to do that every step of the way from finding sources and identifying the validity and value of sources, writing about those sources, and citing those sources, and finally, synthesizing their sources in a variety of ways.”

Borenzweig explained that students in 9th grade and 10th grade take English, Social Studies, and Science through the Ulysses Program. The students then take Advanced Research in 11th grade and their senior research program in 12th grade that is where they start to focus on their own interests. “In senior year, that is where they focus on their research projects. The students propose and finally complete and present their research project,” said Borenzweig.

Over the course of two days, 44 students displayed their research projects in Northwest’s auditorium while members of the Northwest community, including their peers, parents, and friends, could view and ask questions about the research topics. The topics of Ulysses Projects are as varied as they are interesting, ranging from subjects like Megan Lynch’s Rehabilitation After Abuse: A Dog’s Recovery to Victoria Chang’s PSTD: The Silent Injury to Nassim Abbouchi’s Just a Game: A Study of the Social, Mental, and Psychological Effects of Chess or Emily Gerard’s Pretty in Pink: Are the Disney Princesses Feminist Role Models?

“The kids take a personal interest in these projects,” said Northwest Principal Lance Dempsey, “and the level of research that they do is quite extensive. This is something that is near and dear to their hearts. It is something that they believe in and want to share with their fellow students. It is great to watch the underclassmen go around and ask questions of these seniors about their projects. I love to hear how passionate my seniors are about the research they’ve done. It is extraordinary.”