Senior Projects at BASIS Charter Schools

BASIS San Antonio Shavano Campus skeleton

Students at BASIS Charter Schools do senior projects that stretch their skills and explore what they might do in higher education and in their careers. To help parents who are thinking about enrolling their children at BASIS get a preview of what their students might do in the future, we asked a current student at BASIS San Antonio—Shavano Campus, as well as a recent graduate, to share about their senior projects. To learn more about the academic program at BASIS Charter Schools, and become more familiar with their campuses in the San Antonio area, we encourage you to look at our enrollment guide to BASIS Charter Schools and the articles linked at the bottom of this post.

The Purpose of Senior Projects

Senior projects are one of the most unique aspects of the BASIS Charter School academic program, according to Elly Zimmer, Director of Curriculum Research and Development for the BASIS Charter School Curriculum Company. The projects offer an opportunity for high-performing students to demonstrate the knowledge and research skills they have developed over their academic journeys, in a subject area about which they are passionate. Over the years, students have pursued a wide variety of project topics, from conducting medical research in a university lab to creating a documentary about a social issue to developing a business plan for a new start-up idea.

Students who chose to do a senior project develop their project over the first two trimesters of the school year by creating a proposal and locating both an advisor from their school’s faculty as well as an external advisor who is a professional in their area of study. During the third trimester, students carry out their project and share blog entries summarizing their successes and challenges.

In a typical year, students partly conduct their research at an off-campus placement, such as an internship, job shadow, or volunteer opportunity. During the 2020—2021 school year, students have creatively overcome challenges to locate remote internships or develop projects that can be completed independently with the help of their external advisor. At the end of the trimester, students present an analysis of their findings to peers, staff, and parents. In this way, the senior project program supports students’ developing sense of investigation while fostering independence and professionalism.

From the BASIS Shavano community, here are two examples of senior projects—one about a social issue, and another about engineering.

BASIS San Antonio Shavano Campus hallway

2021 Senior Project: The Impact of Education on Menstrual Stigma

Anaya Patel, a senior at BASIS Shavano, is currently working on a senior project about menstrual stigma. Here is how she describes her project:

From young children to adults, menstruation has consistently been labeled “dirty” and even “shameful.” As a result, menstrual stigma has pervaded most global communities, contributed to period poverty, and cultivated a sense of embarrassment around this natural process. Through my project, I will research how to best eradicate menstrual stigma by educating local middle and high schoolers about the effects of menstrual stigma and having an open discussion with these groups. By surveying participants’ comfort level and views regarding menstruation before and after having a discussion in an inclusive environment, we can examine if education reduces menstrual stigma and how we should initiate these conversations. Furthermore, this research incorporates a civic engagement component that will encourage progress within San Antonio by actively engaging local students in conversations about periods. In order to receive expert guidance regarding this curriculum and how to discuss menstrual stigma professionally, I’m remotely interning with Period Equity, an organization created to fight legislation such as the Tampon Tax and empower humans with periods. By conducting this kind of research, we can uncover the best means to mitigate menstrual stigma in hopes of one day living in an inclusive, stigma-free world.

Anaya’s project creates an opportunity for her to do original research by developing a survey and collecting data from local teens. Her on-site advisor—a BASIS Shavano teacher—can support her with that work. Her virtual internship with a leader at Period Equity allows her to learn about the subject of menstrual stigma from a skilled advocate. By the end of the semester, she will have experience presenting her project to her fellow students.

BASIS San Antonio Shavano Campus entrance

2020 Senior Project: 3D Recycling Design

BASIS Shavano alumnus Evan Stone completed a senior project on 3D recycling design. Here is how Evan described his project:

My project consists of generating 3D models in Autodesk Inventor, maintaining the database of the Autodesk Vault, and developing maintenance models for recycling equipment designs. The 3D drawings created are attached to data collections in the vault to make visual models for the data in Autodesk. I expect to learn the ins and outs of Autodesk and the expectations of standard engineering projects. Developing maintenance manuals for designs will also help increase efficiency and usage of equipment designs, helping people understand how systems work much quicker. I will not only get to study how engineers operate in their work environment but also how business aspects play a role in day-to-day design functions. Methods will revolve around computer usage and Autodesk as the means for creating 3D modeling.

Evan knew that he wanted to study and work in the field of engineering. For his mentor, he partnered with Integrated Shredder Technology, a San Antonio-based engineering firm that specializes in designing recycling systems for outside companies. His work involved gathering information about clients’ needs and using modeling tools to create designs for the clients to evaluate. Along the way, his mentors faced business disruptions caused by the Covid pandemic, but Evan was able to keep working and gain experience that would help him plan his future.

If you are a parent who is considering enrolling your children at BASIS Charter Schools, then getting a glimpse of what the students do for senior projects may inform your decision. We encourage you to also investigate our enrollment guide to BASIS Charter Schools and additional posts about BASIS that are linked below.

BASIS San Antonio Shavano Campus classroom

Charter Moms Chats

Watch BASIS Shavano student Anaya Patel and alumnus Evan Stone, as well as Elly Zimmer, Director of Curriculum Research and Development for the BASIS Charter School Curriculum Company, speak with Inga Cotton on Charter Moms Chats on March 31, 2021 at 4:00 PM Central live on Facebook and YouTube.

Anaya Patel is a senior at BASIS San Antonio—Shavano Campus.

Evan Stone is a 2020 graduate of BASIS San Antonio—Shavano Campus. He is currently studying engineering at Abilene Christian University.

Elly Zimmer is the Director of Curriculum Research and Development for the BASIS Charter School Curriculum Company. She previously worked as a third grade Humanities teacher at BASIS Oro Valley Primary. She joined BASIS Charter Schools right after completing her Ph.D. in Linguistics at the University of Arizona.

Read More About BASIS Charter Schools

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