Inaugural Severn Fellows Program
While anticipation abounds for all of Severn’s students as the school year opens, nine seniors will begin the year with an extra level of excitement, for they will pursue their scholarly passions as members of the inaugural class of Severn Fellows.
The Severn Fellows Program was developed last year by Head of School Doug Lagarde and Academic Dean John Turner as a means to encourage some of Severn’s strongest students to push themselves beyond the curriculum. In meeting with the rising seniors last spring, Mr. Lagarde and Mr. Turner invited students to develop proposals of what they would like to study during their last year at Severn, with the promise that they would be linked with experts in their field – perhaps a doctor, a professor, or a local businesswoman – who would serve as an outside mentor. In the interest of promoting pure scholarship, students also learned that the Severn Fellows would not receive academic credit or grades for their efforts, but that they should see the process and the experience as the true reward for their work.
18 students submitted proposals and a faculty committee selected nine students whose diverse interests and scholarly enthusiasm will truly set the tone for this program.
All nine of the 2008-2009 Severn Fellows started their project in one way or anther over the summer, and their efforts will find their full momentum as the school year gets underway. They will meet regularly with Mr. Turner and Dean of Students Phil Lenham, who will serve as the co-advisors of the program, as they work to meet several checkpoints through the school year. Each of the nine Severn Fellows will share their work with the school community by offering formal presentations next April, and a special reception will celebrate their efforts.
by John Turner, Academic Dean
The 2008-2009 Severn Fellows:
Kristin Boulier '09 is fascinated by the human genome from the molecular level on up, and she plans to investigate how the genetic code determines the structure and function of the human brain.
Casy Chehayl '09 plans to combine her interest in sculpture, anatomy, and psychology to create life-like – and possibly life-size – sculptures of the human form.
Ian Duncan '09 has been experimenting with different composite polymer structures and plans to use this opportunity to investigate the use of such materials in building skateboards and sailboats.
Katie Dickerson '09 is interested in learning more about world health issues and will study to how current research will combine with clinical practices to combat disease in developing nations.
Ariel Mitchell '09 will be working with a Stanford professor as she sets out to write an original play based on the life of American author Mark Twain.
Noah Pyles '09 will delve into his growing interest in modern social and political issues as he investigates the nonviolent teachings of Said Q’tub and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Jackson DeStefano '09 has a passion for computer science and will link up with the National Security Agency to study and develop ideas related to both network and national security.
CJ Soderlund '09 looks forward to combining his interests in music and science by building a guitar of his own design.
Kaleigh Spollen '09 has deep interests in psychology and neuroscience and will look to put them to use as she investigates the physiological and psychological nature of human dreams.