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Honors Research in Humanities & Social Sciences

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The Leonetti/O'Connell Honors Research in Humanities and Social Sciences Program offers juniors and seniors the opportunity to go beyond the scope of Marlborough's traditional curriculum, to design and pursue an original independent research project .


They do so under the mentorship of an academic expert in the field as well as Marlborough's Dean of Student Research. Recent mentors have come from research institutions around the country and the globe, including Harvard University, the World Bank, the London School of Economics, the University of Sydney, UCLA, and USC.


Honors Research students pursue their intellectual passions while gaining real-world experience as scholars, developing their critical writing, public speaking, and data analysis skills.

Student Research Projects

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Avery '20

Anthropology/Food Studies

The Legacy of Purity and Sin in Modern Food Packaging

Watch Avery's prerecorded presentation here


View Avery's poster here

Mentor: Dr. Kate Cairns, Rutgers University

Next Steps: Next year I will be attending the Honors College at the University of Michigan. I hope to continue applying the critical thinking skills that I have learned in Honors Research to my classwork in college!

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Isabella '21

Political Science/Gender Studies

The Use of Rape by Boko Haram and ISIS as a Form of Terrorism

Watch Isabella's prerecorded presentation here

View Isabella's poster here

Mentor: Dr. Catherine Atwell, Marlborough School

Next Steps: Next year, I plan to continue with honors research, but I intend to study rape from a more psychological perspective.

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Cameron '20

Political Science

‘Do I Have To?’: An Analysis of the Interplay Among Barriers to Successful Implementation of Compulsory Voting in the United States

Watch Cameron's prerecorded presentation here

View Cameron's poster here

Mentor: Dr. Victoria Shineman, University of Pittsburgh

Next Steps: Next year, I will be studying Political Science or Public Policy at Stanford University.

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Ellie S. ‘20


The Role of Music Festivals in Contemporary Morocco

Watch Ellie's prerecorded presentation here


View Ellie's poster here

Mentor: Dr. Aomar Boum, UCLA Department of Anthropology

Next Steps: I will be attending Yale, and I'll be sure to get involved in research and continue studying Arabic.

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Emma D. ‘20

Sociology/Media Studies

The Representation of Islam in American Media and its Effects

Watch Emma's prerecorded presentation here

View Emma's poster here

Mentor: Dr. Khaled Abou el Fadl, UCLA Law School; Dr. Dina Ibrahim, San Francisco State University Department of Broadcast and and Electronic Communication Arts

Next Steps: Next year I will be studying some combination of Religious Studies, Philosophy, and History at Brown. I am so excited to take advantage of even more opportunities for research in the Social Sciences and Humanities in college!

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Emma Y. '21


When the Game is Over: Major League Baseball’s Practices in Latin America

Watch Emma's prerecorded presentation here

View Emma's poster here

Mentor: Mr. Arturo Marcano, Minor League Baseball

Next Steps: Next year, I plan to continue my research by examining to what extent the various programs Major League Baseball has developed have been effective. Additionally, I will begin a new Honors Research project utilizing sabermetrics, a statistical approach to baseball analytics.

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Lydia '20

Sociology/Cultural Studies

The Commodification of Black Culture and Feminism in Black Media

Watch Lydia's prerecorded presentation here


View Lydia's poster here

Mentor: Dr. Sarah Banet-Weiser, The London School of Economics

Next Steps: Next year I will be studying Anthropology and Art History at the University of Chicago, and I plan on continuing my research in years to come.

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Soraya '20


Female Composers of the Romantic Period

Watch Soraya's prerecorded presentation here.

View Soraya's poster here

Mentor: Dr. Amanda Harris, The University of Sydney Conservatorium of Music; Dr. Kristi Brown-Montesano, Colburn Conservatory of Music


Next Steps: Next year, I will be attending the University of Michigan studying in both the College of Literature, Science, and Arts, and in the school of Music, Theater, and Dance as a Musicology major with a focus in voice.  

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Chela '21

Art History and Criticism

The Creative Climate for Contemporary Artists in China: Told Through Two Major Artworks by Zhang Ding (张鼎)

Watch Chela's prerecorded presentation here


View Chela's poster here

Mentor: Dr. Géraldine Fiss, USC Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures

Next Steps: I plan to continue this research project next year, but with a slight shift in focus to Chinese contemporary artists working outside China. I plan to add that research to my current project to compare and subsequently enhance the answers I found this year.

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Ellie '21

Film Studies

Female Empowerment in Romantic Relationships Within Teen Eighties Films

Watch Ellie's prerecorded presentation here.

View Ellie's poster here

Mentor: Dr. Sarah Hentges, University of Maine


Next Steps: Next year I will continue to involve myself in film by creating a screenplay through Marlborough’s Arts Capstone program. I will extend the research I have done this year into that project by writing a teen film set in the 1980s.

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Ellie '20

Film Studies

Gender Disparities in the Film Festival Industry

Watch Ellie's prerecorded video here.

View Ellie's poster here

Mentor: Dr. Katherine Pieper, USC Annenberg Inclusion Institute

Next Steps: I will be attending Colgate University, with plans to major in film and international relations. I am excited to continue my research project as an undergrad!

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India '20

Anthropology/Cultural Studies

White-Passing Identity: Socio-Cultural Factors, Socialization, and Self-Identification

Watch India's prerecorded presentation here


View India's poster here

Mentor: Dr. Sarah Gaither, Duke University

Next Steps: I'm planning on double majoring in Cultural Anthropology and African-American Studies. I also plan to continue my research on white-passing identity in College either through courses or research institutions.

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Issy '20


Why is That Key a “She?”: Exploring Semantic Criteria for Gender Assignment in Old English

Watch Issy's prerecorded presentation here.

View Issy's poster here

Mentor: Dr. Donka Minkova, UCLA Distinguished Professor of English


Next Steps: In the coming years, I hope to revise and extend my project at Yale with the help of the Linguistics Department faculty, while also furthering my understanding of Indo-European and Semitic languages more broadly.

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Julia S. '20

Political Science/Media Studies

Smash the Mass (Media): Mass Media Portrayals of Antifa

Watch Julia's prerecorded video here.

View Julia's poster here

Mentor: Dr. Matthew A. Baum, Harvard University

Next Steps: I will most likely take a gap year before I attend Stanford. I hope to continue research whether self-led or with a professor. In college, I plan to double major in History and Science, Technology and Society, with a focus on policy and the history of radicalism.

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Julia E. '20

English Literature/Theater

English Saviorism and Benevolence in Shakespeare’s Macbeth

Watch Julia's prerecorded presentation here


View Julia's poster here

Mentor: Dr. Claire McEachern, UCLA

Next Steps: I am excited and honored to be attending Pomona College in the fall. I look forward to learning everything I can about the world and global cultures in the future and connecting with communities across the world.

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Media Studies/Sociology

The Expression and Reinforcement of Racial Stereotypes in Pre-/Early-Teen Television Shows

Watch Kaelyn's prerecorded presentation here.

View Kaelyn's poster here

Mentor: Dr. Catherine Atwell, Marlborough School


Next Steps: Next year, I will be attending Cornell University's Hotel School and majoring in Hotel Administration. I will take the knowledge and skills I learned from Honors Research with me no matter where I go and hope to continue my research on racial stereotypes in the future!

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Lily '20


Female Computing Students’ Perceptions of Academia: The Relationship Between Female Students’ Perceptions of Their Female Professors and Their Career Aspirations

Watch Lily's prerecorded video here.

View Lily's poster here

Mentor: Dr. Heather Metcalf, Association for Women in Computing

Next Steps: I plan to attend Vanderbilt University in the fall and double major in public policy studies and computer science. I will also be continuing the research internship I have held at the BRAID Research Lab at UCLA this past year through the summer.

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