The Pacific Times | The Only Student-Run News Website in Natomas

Things to Know About Senior Project

By Isabel Penman
Co-Editor | The Pacific Times

With Senior Project panel presentations beginning on April 16, seniors have begun making their final strides in their community-outreach efforts. As they approach the final stretch, both seniors and senior advisors have begun reflecting on the process and detailing the most important things to know about Senior Project.

Many current seniors emphasize the importance of keeping an open mind while starting the process.

“I think it is important to know that it is okay to change your minds and the direction that you are going,” said Fionna Chuang, a current senior who is focusing her project on plastic pollution in the oceans.

“It is important for juniors and underclassmen to see what has been done before and modify it to work for them as well,” said Erika Galvez, who is is centering her project around mental health, specifically in the colored community.

But, no matter what topic or issue underclassmen do choose, seniors note the importance of making it something you are truly passionate about. “Definitely choose something you really care about. You don’t want to be halfway through senior year and realize you don’t really care about what you are doing. You’re not going to want to do it,” said Maylin Robles, a senior working to help migrant farmers in California.

NP3 junior advisors have been taking steps to prepare their students for the project that they will be required to do next year. “You need to take something you are passionate about and translate that into a feasible idea and plan,” said Erik Jones, an english teacher and junior advisor on campus.

“Find an issue you really care about and make sure you research it thoroughly,” said Christina Semenov, a senior focused on the issue of childhood obesity and the physical education’s inability to combat the larger problem.

Many have outlined the importance of strong advisory support in the process.

“I have been really excited about the senior projects that I have been seeing. Students are really engaging with the process more, coming to talk to me and ask me questions,” said Jennifer Hembree, a current senior advisor.

“I was super lucky because my advisory would modify things for ourselves, but only because we had trust in each other that we could commit to what we were doing and that it was purposeful,” said Galvez.

“Advisory has not universally created strong relationships because you cannot just turn it on senior year. It is necessary to develop that relationship on day one, as you need trust to have that conversation,” said Jones.

“Hembree, our advisor, gets excited when we get excited, so there is a genuine build up in our project’s foundation,” said Fiza Mehmood.

Both senior advisors and senior students agree that broadness is a common issue that students face during their search for a senior project topic.

“A lot of juniors have a broad, general issue they want to tackle, which is fine for right now, but senior project demands a measurable action and for you to actually do something. It is easy to say you want to solve, for example, homelessness, but you have to be more specific than that. Have a plan,” said Robles.

“Students assume they know a problem that they don’t really know. They end up doing the research and then realize it is not really a problem. Senior project requires a lot of research and many a times there is already something being done about that problem, you just need to figure out how to latch on and add to it in your own way,” said Hembree.

However, starting the project as soon as possible appears to be the most widespread piece of advice those currently working on the project have for NP3 juniors.

“Don’t procrastinate! Everything takes time. You can think you are good on time, but just getting a response from one person can take weeks or months, time that you might not have,” said Robles.

“Start as early as possible!” said Semenov.

“We are starting the civic engagement much earlier to have the students begin thinking about it sooner and identify issues earlier than in the past, which is extremely important,” said Hembree.

As NP3 seniors and senior advisors come to a close of the senior project process, they would like to remind juniors to keep an open mind, take advantage of junior advisors’ resources and to start now!

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