At GFS, our faculty serve as guides and mentors, while connecting, collaborating, and learning together. Our Directed Independent Study (DIS) program in the Upper School provides an opportunity for students to discover and pursue their passions, and get credit for it! With inspiration and oversight from a faculty member, students are able to fulfill major and elective requirements with courses that they design. From foreign languages to training service animals to studying sustainable fashion, GFS lives its mission to celebrate the light in each student.
Maria della Porta, a junior, has been working year-round on her individualized study of fashion with the help of DIS advisor Natasha Labbé, Head of the Classics department. Natasha and Maria worked to design a year-long program complete with homework, field trips, midterm and final projects, research reports, and more. Maria’s Fashion Journalism DIS is interdisciplinary and thoughtfully designed, while allowing the coursework to be nimble and change as interests diverge or as new current events or news impact the field of fashion. Maria is not only studying how fashion impacts her community, including GFS and Germantown, but is also examining how fashion can impact social justice and sustainability.
“I am researching designers and their influences and missions, creating a zine about Pyer Moss to tell his story in a unique way, and approaching all of my research with a social justice lens. This has been an incredible experience so far and I am grateful for the guidance of Natasha, who is making this DIS constructive and memorable. She comes up with great ideas to pursue my focus, gives me feedback on my writing, and helps find ways to include art in my study, as that is an important part of me.”
“This course allows Maria to study all different aspects of fashion and learn about it in unconventional ways. She has been incredibly open to ideas and projects. We are both getting a lot out of this exciting exchange of ideas, perspectives, information, and experiences.”
Maria will conclude her DIS in May with an exhibit at the Student Art Show. We will post more about Maria’s project as the year progresses!
Learn more about the Directed Independent Study Program.