Every year, students participating in the Honors Research and Capstone Programs prepare presentations about their projects and present them to the Marlborough community. The Honors Research program allows Marlborough students to independently research a topic of their choice with the guidance of a mentor outside of Marlborough’s faculty. This year, 64 students gave presentations at the TEDxMarlborough lunch sessions. Among those students are Senya ‘23, Charlotte ‘22 and Anna ‘23, whose projects about sexual harassment in multi-player video games, pediatric cancer and the Anti-Mask League respectively, are spotlighted below.
Senya is a Junior in the Honors Research in Social Sciences program. For Senya’s project, she is researching the effects of sexual harassment in multi-player video games on women’s mental health. Senya has spent the past school year researching this topic and is currently in the process of getting her research plans approved so she can start conducting interviews and issuing surveys for her data.
Senya decided to research this topic because she experienced sexual harassment herself when playing video games.
“Experiencing sexual harassment while playing video games really made me want to find out more about it and also just to protect future generations of girls who play video games,” Senya said.
Senya has been working with Dr. Rabindra Ratan at Michigan State University on her research. Although making Honors Research a priority with all her other work has been a challenge for Senya, the experience has been very rewarding and she has enjoyed learning about a topic that directly affects her in a more scientific way.
Charlotte is a Senior in Honors Research in Science who is researching in the Department of Pathology at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles with her mentor, Dr. Timothy Triche. She also works directly with Dr. Sheetal Mitra and Dr. Jean-Hugues Parmentier.
Charlotte has been using lipid nanoparticles to deliver siRNA, which stands for short interfering RNA, a short type of nucleic acid. For her lab, Charlotte is using different cell lines that all have the same genetic mutation that leads to Ewing Sarcoma, and she has been testing the different siRNA combinations to see how they treat Ewing Sarcoma.
Charlotte was driven to research pediatric cancer because she was interested in doing a lab at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and wants to pursue pediatrics in the future. So far, Charlotte has tested the different cell lines for their cancer expression and treated them with siRNA, and will soon begin to treat them with the nanoparticles.
Although for Charlotte the hardest part of being an Honors Research student has been the amount of organization it takes, between coordinating with her mentor and ensuring that she balances her time between Honors Research and her other classes, she says that it has been worth it.
“I love going into the lab and just seeing all these amazing people doing incredible research, and it’s in such an amazing hospital,” Charlotte said. “Everything is designed to help kids and it’s an amazing place to be.”
Anna, a Junior in Honors Research in Humanities, has been researching society’s response to mask mandates in the influenza pandemic of 1918. Currently, Anna is mostly reading newspaper articles and examining the debates over mask mandates for her research.
Anna’s decision to research this topic stemmed from her interest in pandemics and public health. Additionally, she felt that researching historical public health surrounding epidemics and mask-wearing could help her further understand the current pandemic in terms of masks, anti maskers and how people react to pandemics and their resulting public health policies.
Anna has been working with her mentor, Dr. Brian Dolan from UCSF Medical School, who has spent time researching the Anti-Mask League himself. As the semester progresses, Anna will continue with her primary source research and begin working on her grant proposal.
Although having a class that is self-paced along with all her other classes has been the biggest challenge for Anna, she has had a lot of fun being an Honors Research student.
“It feels like putting together a puzzle, and it’s just so fun,” Anna said. “When I uncover something I didn’t know or something that’s surprising—that’s just the best part.”