Junior Projects

During their junior year, all students complete a month-long independent study of their own design. Each student submits a proposal that is reviewed by a committee of faculty. Proposals must include a description of the student's goals for the project, contact information for the on-site supervisor with whom they will be working, a description of what the student will learn and/or produce during the project, and a budget describing all project expenses. Most students do their junior project during January, and then give a presentation about their experience when they return to school in February. Many students use this opportunity to gain insight into a particular career path. Others spend the time pursuing an interest that intrigues them, or doing humanitarian work in this country or overseas.

Important Dates

Monday1118

Jr. Projects Committee Meeting

Friday126

Jr. Projects Committee Meeting

Monday16

Junior Projects Begin

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Monday23

Juniors Return;
Reflection Paper & Presentation Outline Due

Wednesday212

US Assembly - Jr. Projects

Friday214

Junior Project Presentations

Friday103

Junior Project Preliminary Draft Due

Friday1010

Junior Project Second Draft Due

Friday1017

Junior Project Final Proposals Due

Contact Information

Anne Gerbner
Faculty Advisor



Junior Projects: A Selection from the Class of 2014

  • Rebecca Bateman

    A World Filled with Silence

    "Imagine being unable to hear the voice of anybody around you?" These are Rebecca's words after working at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. Not only did her junior project leave an indeliable mark on her understanding of the deaf and their unique culture, it allowed her a month long opportunity to experience an environment totally different from what most of us know. In addition to learning the fundamentals of sign language, Rebecca worked in the school's library and taught art to middle school age children. Rebecca was astounded to learn that 72% of children who are deaf are unable to communicate with their hearing parents because their parents have not taken the time to learn how to sign. Her immersion into this new world gave Rebecca a renewed commitment to continue to sign and she aspires to return to PSD as an intern in the future.

  • Pharr Bowser

    Free Month with Free People

    Junior Pharr Bowser has always been interested in the world of fashion and style, so, it was no surprise when she chose to do her junior project internship with the Free People fashion company located at the Philadelphia Naval Yard. Free People, part of the Urban Outfitters family of companies, is a retail clothing store geared toward teenagers and young adults. Pharr's duties during her internship included running basic errands for the staff and models, maintaining the organization of the huge clothing and accessories closet for the magazine and catalog photo shoots and assisting the apparel and accessories coordinators in whatever other way was necessary. Pharr was impressed and a little surprised by the amount of behind the scenes work necessary to turn out a catalog. "It took a little time to get used to the fact that there is always something to be done; that I should never really be sitting down." Pharr's hard work paid off and towards the end of her internship she was awarded the task of constructing five different outfits or looks to appeal to a diverse range of Free People customers. Relishing her month long experience in spite of all the hard work, Pharr is hopeful that the knowledge she gained about this aspect of the industry will open the door to future internships and jobs within the fashion world.

  • Manuel Lorenzino-Sepp

    A Science Experiment of his Own Design

    Working in a lab at the University of Pennsylvania was a different and more personal type of science experiment for Manuel Lorenzino-Sepp. Coming from a family of scientists, Manuel wanted to devise his own test to see if science should be his chosen career path as well and so, he used this time during his junior year to experience working in a research lab at the University. The lab in which Manuel worked was focusing on the complement system that assists antibodies in their removal of pathogens from the body. At first intimidated because "the equipment used was extremely expensive and fragile and the chemicals were toxic," Manuel was able to overcome his initial fears and particpate in several of the different types of experiments being conducted. Over the course of his time there, he was was quite impressed with the degree of precision necessary realizing that "working in a lab is serious business." At this point, Manuel is still not sure that that science will be his future, but he has come away with a new found appreciation for the dedication and detail needed for this critical research. Manuel is proud of his contribution to the work being done in the lab and hopes to attend the University of Pennsylvania after graduation.

  • Madeline Lee

    Helping Working Children in Ecuador

    Working with El Centro de la Nina Trabajador (The Center for the Working Girl) in Ecuador was an eye-opening and at times culturally challenging project for junior Madie Lee. Madie chose this particular experience because it provided an opportunity to travel, use her Spanish and function independently in a new environment. Each day, Madie would walk through the markets in Quito gathering pre-school children who spent the day in the food stalls with their parents. The program she was part of called Rescate (Rescue) aims at teaching basic educational skills and hygiene to these children who are at risk of falling behind later in life. One of the unanticipated aspects of this experience for Madie was the fact that she was the first Asian many of the children and their parents had ever seen and was often referred to as " la china" or Asian. Learning to fit in and function in a different culture was an important outcome of this experience and has only deepened Madie's commitment to continue to work in the field of human rights.

  • Skye Pagon

    A Life in the Theater

    Wanting to break out of her comfort zone, junior Skye Pagon took a risk by interning with the Colt Coeur, a small group of designers and actors in N.Y.C. working on developing new theatrical projects. Skye was able to participate in and be a part of the creative process of writing and developing a new play. She had a phenomenal time engaging in workshops usually consisting of readings of the various plays and discussions with the actors, her supervisor and the playwrights. Her enthusiasm for the work they were doing was magnified by the energy of the city itself which she loved. Experiencing the creativity of a talented group of actors and writers has secured the role of the theater in Skye's future plans." My project didn't just give me a glimpse of a job; it gave me a glimpse of a life, and it's the life I want, and am willing to work for, however hard it is." We can't wait to see what is ahead for Skye on the creative path she has choosen.

  • Jacob Smith

    A Quirky Business

    To say that Jacob Smith's junior project experience was out of the ordinary would be an understatement. Jacob interned at Quirky, a web-based company in New York City, that provides opportunities for everyday people and their inventions. According to Jacob "Quirky isn't an ordinary business. Everything from the dress code to the layout of the office, to what they create is unconventional.... If Quirky likes the proposed invention it will do everything to bring the idea to the market and gives the inventor a cut of the profits." While at the firm, Jacob was given a broad view of the business by spending one week with each of four different teams: community, PR, photography and logistics. He gathered content for their blog and issued a press release for a book about invention and innovation. Jacob also participated in a weekly meeting called "preval," sitting on a panel and giving feedback on what he thought of the different ideas that were being presented. Looking back on his junior project, Jacob definitely loved living in the city and fending for himself. He hopes to find similar work with an internet start up after finishing college.