Independent Studies Provide Opportunity to Pursue Interests

Senior Ana Spencer’s independent study explores sustainability and fashion.

This year, nine students are pursuing independent study projects on topics of interest to them. All of them are high-achieving students whose proposals have been approved by Mr. John Spear, Assistant Head for School Life and Dr. Laura Finnerty Paul, Dean of Academic Affairs. Proposals include descriptions of the student’s learning objectives, a timeline for the trimester or school year, choice of advisor, and how the student can measure his or her progress. Students also describe how they will share their projects with the larger school community when it is complete.

The independent study program at Northwood is an opportunity for the participating students to not only educate themselves but also share their learning with the school community. For instance, Ana Spencer ‘20 is working on investigating the impact of the production of clothes on the environment. She believes that modern consumer society does not pay enough attention to the working conditions in clothing factories and wants to study how the Northwood community can get better at consuming clothes that are sustainably made.

Courtney Fairchild ‘20 hopes to learn about the culture as well as the political significance of the 1980s by producing and performing a one-woman show called The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe. Fairchild is looking forward to incorporating her prior knowledge in drama, which she honed by acting in Northwood’s performances, into her research.

Other independent study topics this year include Classical Guitar, Computer Programming, Entrepreneurship, Auto Mechanics, Sneaker History & Design, and Building Community Through Learning Language.

These students follow in the footsteps of Nikita Tafazoli ‘16 who, as part of her senior year independent study in 2015-16, brought The Mirror back to life after it went dormant in 2009, the nine students look forward to bringing change to the Northwood community.


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