By Kylie Mahler ‘24
While the process of finding a Junior Project is tedious for many juniors, most juniors have really enjoyed their project and have had a positive experience. Junior Projects have been a tradition at GFS during the month of January for 50 years. They give students the opportunity to further their interests in various topics by getting hands-on experience during their time off campus.
When asked about the Junior Project process this year, Dalia Meisel ‘25 said, “we write a proposal and finalize everything after we’ve sent a couple emails back and forth.” Persi Coes ‘25 explained that “we meet with our Junior Project advisors on Mondays for a couple weeks and discuss our emails, send those out, and decide on our projects.” Coes also described the next steps after completing the proposal, saying “We’ll have our Junior Project advisor, anyone of our choice, to oversee our project and help with the presentation after January.”
When asked about the new Junior Project system, history teacher Ted Oxholm, who recently became the new supervisor, said, “It’s not that different. The project was already a great project so there were just minor tweaks I wanted to make. The main change this year was to create dedicated time for juniors to meet with their planning mentors.” When asked about other changes, he explained a new website was created to help students navigate their options. This website was Greta Ham’s idea, and was created by Ellen Rothman. It not only shows internships previously done by GFS students, but also GFS families and faculty members who have offered to host students. This website allows students to look up specific types of internships or sites and view the options under that category. All Junior Project supervisors have been taught how to use this database in order to help students navigate their options.
When I did my Junior project last year, I was lucky enough to end up with my first choice– a therapy center called The Center For Family Empowerment. The center focused on connecting kids with each other and their families, with a strong focus surrounding community. The Center for Family Empowerment allowed me to sit in on group therapy sessions, as well as the therapists weekly consultation meetings where they discussed clients and steps to take moving forward. I really enjoyed my time at the center, and overall, my Junior Project experience was very positive. When asked about her junior project experience, Margalit Eisenstein ‘24 described her time at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society as, “Super hands on, I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in being outside.” Eisenstein's point emphasizes the importance in picking your project carefully and with your personal interests in mind.
While there have not been many changes to the Junior Projects process, the biggest changes were giving students dedicated time to work on planning their Junior Projects, and the new database which serves as an essential tool for students to navigate their options. Over the past 50 years, Junior Projects have continued to be a great way to further your interest in several topics while meeting new people and working in a professional environment.
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