Jones students share diverse voices through research projects

New AP Research projects emphasize student voices

AP Research is known among Jones students as a collaborative class to delve further into individual interests, with seniors incorporating diverse topics into their research projects that go beyond the school curriculum.

The AP Capstone path is a two-year program beginning in Junior year that requires students to take AP Seminar and AP Research. Both classes explore real-world issues and topics that go beyond what is traditionally taught in the core curriculum. AP Research allows students the freedom to conduct a research paper on a topic of their choice and explore their individual interests further, such as film or media studies. 

Some students feel AP Research allows them to find their own voice through research topics and issues not commonly covered in traditional classes. 

“I personally took AP Research because I feel I have so many things that I’m interested in that aren’t always traditionally taught in other classes,” said Diondre Dunigan ‘22. “My research project is on meditation, teenage development, and self-perception in a rigorous academic environment, which isn’t something you’re taught about in your normal math class or the core curriculum.”

In addition to having the freedom to explore their interests deeper, some believe the class prepares students for college with a foundation that allows them to understand their personal interests on an educational level.

“People always say that it’s one of the most helpful classes you can take when it comes to college. I think the class itself is literally anything you want it to be. There are no real limitations,” said Zachary Shearn ‘22. “I’m doing an analysis on the TV series Pose. I’m taking some queer theory from the 60’s and applying it to how it is shown in a modern representation…I wanted to do something where I could spend a long time really delving into a specific thing and seeing how it works, especially with a TV show that I watched on my own time and really enjoyed but looking at it more academically.”

For others, like Nicole Leon ‘22, the research project has allowed them to explore topics glossed over in traditional classes and historically overlooked in the U.S.

 “I’m very history-oriented. It’s what I want to study in college, and I was really intrigued by US history [as a research topic],” said Leon. “I wish that we had touched more on the role of the First Lady and their role throughout history, so this was a way for me to delve more into that.”

During the 2019-2020 school year, when COVID-19 caused schools to close, AP Seminar and AP Research were taught remotely. With in-person learning reimplemented for the 2021-2022 school year, some AP Research students feel that being present in the classroom makes it easier to collaborate with others and regain the social aspect lost during remote learning.

“Because AP Seminar was online, we kind of lost that whole aspect of collaboration,” said Shearn. “We weren’t in the same room and it was a lot harder to bounce ideas off each other. But in AP Research, because now we’re all in the library together, we can talk about our different projects, bounce ideas off each other, and just see what other people are doing and see if we can apply that to our project.”

The course has given students the freedom to explore subjects on their own without curriculum barriers and find their distinctive voice in their academic research.

“I think the best thing about research is that…there are so many different incredibly interesting topics,” said Dunigan. “I feel like the beauty of research is you can make it your own. You can really take whatever you’re interested in and create research on it and make it your own.”