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The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

Independent Studies Offer Students Specialized Opportunities

Waiting for Godot is just one of the numerous modernist plays Ruby '14 examined in her independent study.
Waiting for Godot is just one of the numerous modernist plays Ruby ’14 examined in her independent study. Photo by Wikimedia user Fewskulchor.

Marlborough students who wish to explore topics outside the standard curriculum can do so by enrolling in an independent study. With the mentorship of a faculty member, they plan out the syllabi, the meeting times and the means of grading. Here are some students who have taken on independent studies this year:


Lindsay ’14

After completing AP Ceramics last year, Lindsay wanted to further hone her skills in the art form. During the first semester of her independent study in ceramics, Lindsay’s work periods were mostly solitary, but visual arts instructor Gina Woodruff gave her guidance.

“In the AP you had to put so much effort in,” Lindsay said, “but this year I got to make whatever I wanted.”

Like in AP Ceramics, in which she was also the only student, Lindsay had to be self-directed in finding techniques and models for her sculptures. She said this special study is like a continuation of last year, except she now has the opportunity to focus on a few pieces rather than the multitude required for the AP exam.


Sonia ’14

When deciding on her topic for Honors Research in Humanities, Sonia found herself overwhelmed by the number of subjects that caught her interest. After deciding to research the Velvet Revolution for Honors Research, she then thought she could explore an additional topic through an independent study.

Meeting twice a week with 10th grade dean and history and social sciences instructor Thomas Millar, Sonia studies economic inequality in America. She appreciates that the class is steeped in both history and current events as she looks at the roots of and potential solutions to the wealth gap. For her final project, she is creating an educational website, She and Millar aim to shed light on the wealth gap by referring to and analyzing articles on the subject and adding to the present discourse by suggesting their own potential solutions.


Marisa ’14

After studying abroad in France with School Year Abroad during her junior year, Marisa did not want to lose her grasp of the French language. Along with Sonia and under the tutelage of foreign language instructor Elizabeth Vitanza, she studies French literature and history. They recently finished the novel L’Immoraliste by André Gide. Marisa emphasized the flexible nature of the program.

“You can really guide the lesson plan to what you want to learn about,” she said.


Kamilah ’15

While in the Intermediate Drawing and Painting class, Kamilah took it upon herself to assist with setting up the gallery for art shows. She found an affinity for the process and set up a year long independent study on gallery management and archival studies with visual arts instructor Joshua Deu and School Archivist Peter Chinnici. When an art show is in the works, Kamilah helps prepare the gallery. With Chinnici, she spends her time organizing old pictures and uniforms in Marlborough’s collections.

“[My special study] is learning about the School, but it’s also about bringing in the new,” Kamilah said.


Adi ’14

Adi has a passion for sewing and costuming and decided to integrate the activities into her curriculum. Supervised by Woodruff, she spends her free periods researching historic garb and replicating it herself. Her focus is on the second half of the 16th century and the 19th century. She said that getting the opportunity to practice her hobby at school has given her more incentive to finish projects as well as more space in which to do so.


Ruby ’14

Touched upon in AP English Literature and Composition and Spanish IV, the topic of modernism piqued Ruby’s  interest. Last semester she pursued a study with foreign language instructor Eric Reinholtz on modernist plays, during which she read the texts and met with him once a week to discuss the plays in an open, stimulating environment. The plays included Waiting for Godot, Miss Julie, and Mother Courage and her Children.

“[The class] was nice. It wasn’t for the grade,” she reflected.

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