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Northwest’s Ulysses Fair Offers Wealth of Diverse Knowledge

Every year Northwest High School’s Ulysses Fair allows visitors, which are mostly other students, parents, and some MCPS dignitaries, to glean an outstanding amount of knowledge on diverse and wide-ranging subjects.

For instance, this year’s Ulysses Winter Fair, held last week in the Northwest Auditorium offered fascinating insights into topics such as How Learning a Musical Instrument Changes the Brain to An Analysis of E-Sports in Western Society, from The Hidden Effects of Cartoons on the Minds of Children to How Quantum Computing May Benefit Humanity in the Future.

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

The honors program, which is unique to Northwest, is a four-year experience said Ulysses coordinator Dr. Suzanne Borenzweig. “This year the students have come up with really unique topics,” she said, pointing out Tavish Young’s Social Studies in Space: The Morals and Politics in Star Wars. “It is a political science project that analyses the different types of governments in Star Wars. We also have some really amazing self-identity projects, such as the study of unconscious racial bias in schools. I am also impressed with how far and wide the students were able to go with their research whether it was being able to contact researchers that were at the forefront of human genetic engineering or quantum computing. The students stepped out of their comfort zones and contacted experts in their field and got very good responses back.”

The skills that students learn through the Ulysses Program are the skills that they are expected to know when they get to college, according to Borenzweig. The program takes them step by step through the upper-level college research process. 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, the students propose and finally complete and present their research project.