Honors Independent Research Study Program
Honors Independent Research Study Program

For nearly 10 years, the St. Mary's Honors Independent Research Study program has offered juniors and seniors the opportunity to craft a research project on a topic of their choice, select a professional mentor in the Memphis community, and create a scientific paper and oral presentation. Grace Sammarco '18 who presented on hydroponic farming said, "I enjoyed getting a feel for something I would like to do later in life, and I appreciated the opportunity to work with professionals in the community."

Students choose the topic on their own and the school helps them to partner with a mentor to complete the research. Shelley Wright, St. Mary's Upper School instructor for AP Biology/Anatomy and Physiology/Engineering oversees the project and assists with the research paper and presentation process. Honors Independent Research Study (HIRS) is a semester course, so the students must complete a series of due dates and requirements to stay on track. Their biggest challenge is writing a scientifically styled thesis paper with supportive references to include their mentor's publications and/or recommended publication and interviews. Depending on their project, the girls will either write an experimental style paper or a review style paper.