Unique Program Offers the Opportunity to Engage in High-Level Research


The Honors Independent Research Study (HIRS) program offers a unique opportunity for rising juniors and seniors to conduct an original, engaging research project of their choosing. HIRS students begin their research project in the summer by completing hands-on work in partnership with a community mentor who is an expert in the field.

During the fall semester, participants work to prepare a research paper and oral presentation. Participation in the HIRS program allows the girls to complete college-level research over six months while making meaningful connections within a field that interests them. Earlier this month, this year's HIRS participants presented their projects to an audience of St. Mary’s and Memphis community members. Their presentations covered a variety of topics such as:

  • How Group Dynamics Affect Child Learning by Alexandra Lafferty ’23 in collaboration with the Department of Psychology at Rhodes College
  • Effects of Parasitism on Prothonotary Warbler Parental Behavior by Charlie LaMountain ’23 in collaboration with Dr. E. Keith Bowers, Department of Biology at the University of Memphis
  • Allelopathic Impacts on Tree Seedling Germination and Growth by Rachel Larkins ’23 in partnership with Eric Bridges at Overton Park Conservancy
  • The Lack of County Attorneys for the Elderly in Tennesee by Shifa Panjwani ’23 in collaboration with Ms. Karen Henson at Community Legal Center
  • Education and Workforce Training for People with Disabilities by Darla Suitt ’23 in collaboration with Noelia Ojea, AMICA (Cantabria, Spain)

We are incredibly proud of these students for their hard work. Click below to view the student presentations. A special thanks to all of the community partners who make this program possible.

View HIRS Presentations

Learn more about HIRS

  • Upper School

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