Senior Capstone Thesis

Students in Grade 12 have the option of pursuing a Capstone Thesis, which offers the opportunity to explore deeply a topic within an academic field of their choice.


A Capstone Thesis counts as a yearlong, full-credit, graded course, designed by the student under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Students are encouraged to enrich their study through participation in conferences and workshops, as well as through consultation with local or regional experts. Students convene regularly as a cohort to discuss progress, share ideas, and help each other overcome obstacles. In addition to learning more about their chosen topic and developing their research, analytic, and writing skills, students also report incredible personal growth and increased self-awareness as a result of their scholarship. More information can be found in the Upper School Curriculum Guide.


Class of 2022 Senior Capstone Topics

Mary Holland Mason

Mary Holland M. '22

How can fairy tales in the Western canon be adapted to promote socially-conscious and open-minded ideals?

Faculty Proctors
Colleen Belak 
Michaela Toburen

Jimmy Zunka (mentor)
 

Meredith Payne

Meredith P. '22

How can the analysis of contemporary Middle Eastern fiction through the lens of violence, sexuality and power aid in identifying prejudice and highlighting authentic voices, narratives

Faculty Proctors
Jordan Taylor (mentor)

Emma Brown

Emma B. '22

How did the rediscovery and subsequent myth of Pompeii impact the Neoclassical movement?

Faculty Proctors
Kate Bussey

Brandtly Jones (mentor)

Noelle Robinson

Noelle R. '22

Should we strive for happiness or contentment and how do those look different in an individual versus collective setting?

Faculty Proctors
Antxon Iturbe
Michaela Toburen

Alison Ruff (mentor)
 

Maggie Sun

Maggie S. '22

How did different cultural backgrounds influence the mental health of teenagers?

Faculty Proctors
Sophie Speidel (mentor)

Esther Lezama
 

Victoria Tao

Victoria T. '22

How do different perspectives in Chinese and Western medicine lead to different treatments for Hashimoto's thyroiditis — based on current clinical research.

Faculty Proctors
Todd Jarry (mentor)

Tyler Brown

Tyler B. '22

Immunomodulation: how can we modify components of the immune system to augment our response to pathogens?

Faculty Proctors
Andrea Beardsley 
Paloma Visscher-Gingerich

Todd Jarry (mentor)
 

Hudson Stolz

Hudson S. '22

“Environmental, Social, Corporate Governance: Creating a Sustainable Business through Ethical Leadership” How Does One Create a Profitable, Ethical and Sustainable Business Model in the 21st Century?

Faculty Proctors
Laura Robertson (mentor)

Sarah Clark

Sarah C. '22

How does the Supreme Court reflect and impact the evolution of Women’s Rights in the mid to late 20th century?

Faculty Proctors
Liza Rubenoff 
Anne Wending

Laura Robertson (mentor)
 

Channing Shilling

Channing S. '22

How did racism form the American ideas of diet culture, and in what ways does racism fuel modern-day fat-phobia?

Faculty Proctors
Paloma Visscher-Gingerich

Rosanne Simeone (mentor)
 

Hannah Laufer

Hannah L. '22

How did the counterculture leave a lasting legacy of alternative communities from the 1960s to the present?

Faculty Proctors
Ian Watson 
Terry Lippmann

Jordan Taylor (mentor)
John Ross

Brehanu Bugg

Brehanu B. '22

How can one use mathematical equations and models to compose music?

Faculty Proctors
Will Nichols (mentor)

Emily Cheng

Emily C. '22

How does climate change impact agriculture productivity in Virginia, and what mitigations can be adopted in the future?

Faculty Proctors
Pearce Johnson (mentor) 
Antxon Iturbe

Charlie Hall

Charlie H. '22

What algorithmic strategies and optimal structures can be used to improve the efficiency and generalizability of Information Retrieval?

Faculty Proctors
Zach Minster

Frank Fan

Frank F. '22

How did the transcontinental railroad shape US society?

Faculty Proctors
Jason Webster (mentor)

Hans Bai

Hans B. '22

How Kissinger Asserted US Leadership through Diplomacy during the Post-October-War Negotiations?

Faculty Proctors
Jason Webster (mentor) 
Kiernan Michau

Rudy Adkins

Ruby A. '22

How can we use computer simulations to teach the Central Limit Theorem in a manner that is easily understandable and accessible to all?

Faculty Proctors
Sandra Sohne-Johnston 
Brian Bartholomew (mentor)

Ally Alvarez

Ally A. '22

How did humanism influence the changing approaches to education during the Italian Renaissance?

Faculty Proctors
Bob Clark (mentor)


The Senior Capstone is a unique opportunity to explore whatever subject you choose with the freedom of shaping your own learning experience. It allows you to combine your interests into one class. Although you work with mentors, you are the main guide in your research. I can guarantee that not only will you gain valuable time management lessons, but also acquire the skills to fit the level of professionalism the committee expects from you. In the end, the work you do will hopefully have a meaningful impact on the School and broader community!"
- Liza Khutsishvili '19, Recipient of the 2019 Senior Capstone Thesis Award