Seniors show their interest in languages through the Senior Project

Spencer Slaton and his teammates work on ideas for an interesting project related to linguistics.
Photo by Tristina Huynh

Senior Projects have kicked off for the 2017-18 school year with creative ideas based on STEM concepts and an interest in linguistics.

Senior Spencer Slaton is considering doing a senior project that provides further preparation for college including his strong interest in Japanese. However, even with Slaton’s passion, he still is unsure of the details regarding the project’s final display and details.

“I know I’m going to continue learning Japanese in college,” said Slaton, “and since this project would require me to heavily dig into the Japanese language, it would certainly have some crossover with what I want to do in college.”

Sources of inspiration for senior projects can come from a diverse range of ideas and experiences. For example, Slaton’s project originates from his experiences in the language classes.

“[The] trip to Japan definitely inspired me,” said Slaton. “Technically, I am taking Japanese because I am studying for the AP test, so my study up to this point has inspired me.”

Furthermore, to speed the project development process up and increase the valuable aspects of a collaborative project, Slaton decided to work with other students with similar interests and goals.

“I’m thinking about doing a partner project with a few other people just to see how collaboration can help do good,” said Slaton. “We’re thinking about something linguistically based [because] me, [senior] Ravi, and [senior] Caden do Spanish, Ravi does Punjabi, and I do Japanese.”

In addition, collaborator Ravi Sangani agrees that peers are a valuable resource in creating ideas and doing a senior project.

“It’s a project based on languages with me, Spencer, and Caden,” said Sangan. “Partially, it comes from the fact that Spencer speaks Japanese, and Caden has an interest in linguistics overall.”

Senior Projects offer a chance for students to engage with a subject in which they do not have much experience or want to learn more about.

“We decided that we wanted something we haven’t had the chance to get into over the course of Aviation in the last three years with a lack of interest in these things,” said Sangani, “so we just wanted to get more into linguistics and learn more about how these languages form.”

All the aspects of the project don’t have to be worked out initially because Senior Projects tend to be learning experiences that contribute to a student’s further academic and industrial interests.

“We’re not sure if we are going to do something about linguistics in general and what conclusions we can draw from those three languages,” said Slaton.

One of the important aspects of the senior project is a method of incorporating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) into the project.

“A huge part of the project is that at this school we don’t always have the opportunity to explore these other interest a part from STEM,” said Sangani, “so we’ll try to implement some STEM within it or find a roundabout way for STEM to be in it but not directly.”

The Senior Project allows students to explore new possibilities of interests and further develop college preparation through interacting with new concepts.

“At its fundamentals it doesn’t relate to it because I want to do computer science, but studying how things have evolved and how they now interact with each other,” said Sangani. “That is a huge part of any college experience. The information itself isn’t relatable to my college experience or what I will have but rather just the way of thinking like analyzing the progress and evolution of things and then comparing it to others.”

Despite a seemingly lacking presence of STEM components in a particular interest, most disciplines and processes can be analyzed in a systematic, orderly way prompting the inclusion and adherence to STEM concepts.

“It will be the skills that we learn through the project of being able to recognize where do certain languages excel in certain parts, so for instance when you talk about speaking languages, certain languages can better convey certain emotions and stuff,” said Sangani. “So in the same way, in computer science, certain languages are more applicable for projects, so in that sense there is that connection there.”

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