Academics / Community

Senior Projects Around the Corner

The Senior Projects Program is a two-week long project that gives seniors the opportunity to intern or shadow with an off-campus mentor or organization of their choosing. It starts the day after their last AP Exam, and ends on Wednesday, May 29th.

Seniors are given around two months to use their own resources and connections to find their senior project. They are required to work 6-8 hours every weekday, write a daily journal entry, read a book related to their project, and meet any after-school requirements (if you are on an athletic team, in the musical, or participating in dance). Leading up to senior projects, seniors need above a C- in their class in order to participate, and they are required to not let their grades drop three or more letters due to a lack of effort.

Many seniors choose to participate in senior projects because by the time the Spring Trimester comes around, we are all eager to leave our classes and homework behind. However, some students don’t go on seniors projects.

Maria Sedunova 19’ says that her last AP exam runs into the last week of senior projects, so there’s not enough time for her to go on one. She doesn’t mind this though because she’s looking forward to pursuing different independent projects in her classes.

Another appeal of senior projects is the freedom allowed when deciding what internship you want to pursue. Seniors can steer their project in any direction that interests them, such as physical therapy, medical research, gallery curating, cooking, industry, media, politics, business, art, music, and so much more!

This year, the seniors have many diverse senior projects. The Class of 2019 will be working with Dunkin Donuts, State Senate President Karen Spilka, Harvard Medical School, Huntington Theater, the Wellesley Police Department, several middle schools, and many more!

Some seniors have the intention of making their internships long term. Maia Gallagher 19’ is working with Strega Entertainment Group, a music management company for independent artists. She is hoping that this project will turn into a summer internship and help her make future connections in the music management industry.

Mr. Mather, the assistant head of school, administers the senior projects. He believes that these projects are “a great transition between senior year and leaving dana hall” that allow seniors to “step outside of the environment and connect with different opportunities out of school.”

For many students, these senior projects allow them to think about life after school. For example, Heather DeNoble 14’ did her project at the Tenacre Country Day School, which inspired her to then study early childhood education at Brandeis University, while she continued working at Tenacre. Other seniors may realize that they don’t like a particular field of interest while on their projects.

Every senior has an on-campus mentor who watches over their project. Mr. Mather sends out an email to all faculty and staff at Dana to find out who is interested in being a mentor, and he then asks them who they would like to mentor; most faculty are happy to work with any student.

When asked about any difficulties that have come up with the senior projects, Mr. Mather reflected on an issue a few years back. A student, who had taken initiative and set up her project a month in advance of the deadline, showed up to her first day of senior projects only to learn that her off-campus mentor had been fired. Other than this fluke, Mr. Mather says that “very little problems come up because the students are exceptional,” and he always hears “great” and “impressive” feedback from the off-campus mentors.

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