2,893 Inspirational Passion Project Ideas
Turn inspirations into your passion project.
This collection of project ideas, shared by Polygence mentors, is meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.
- Comp Sci
- Creative Writing
- Environmental Science
- Game Design
- Literature and Languages
- Organizational Leadership
- Public Health
- Social Science
- Sports Analytics
How Is X Trend Affecting the Technology World
We can take a look at a specific trend, and see how this is impacting the technology world. A few examples of trends that could be interesting: X= 1) Real time tracking (take a look at on demanding tracking services) 2) Consumer lending (see how this affects next generation spending habits) 3) Privacy (and how this is affecting social media platforms) 4) Changing attention speed (and how this is affecting advertising spend and rates)
Engineering, Languages, Business
Blood Lead Levels from an Rural-Urban Epidemiological Lens
Using CA blood lead level data from the past decade, I've partnered with a colleague to descriptively represent the current state of lead contaminated water, particularly in the state of California, and how that issue disproportionately impacts areas approaching greater rurality. The data used is openly published and underwent an audit.
Business, Social Science, Music
How to Pick A Career (That Actually Fits You)
This is a project about something I’ve been passionate about forever: careers. Because I couldn't explain this better myself, I'll share a slightly edited version of my favorite passage from one of Tim Urban's posts on careers: Society tells us a lot of things about what we should want in a career and what the possibilities are—which is weird because I’m pretty sure society knows very little about any of this. When it comes to careers, society is like your great uncle who traps you at holidays and goes on a 15-minute mostly incoherent unsolicited advice monologue, and you tune out almost the whole time because it’s super clear he has very little idea what he’s talking about and that everything he says is like 45 years outdated. Society is like that great uncle, and conventional wisdom is like his rant. Except in this case, instead of tuning it out, we pay rapt attention to every word, and then we make major career decisions based on what he says. Kind of a weird thing for us to do. Career-path-carving is definitely one of those really really deeply important things. Let’s spell out the obvious reasons why: Time. For most of us, a career (including ancillary career time, like time spent commuting and thinking about your work) will eat up somewhere between 50,000 and 150,000 hours. At the moment, a long human life runs at about 750,000 hours. When you subtract childhood (~175,000 hours) and the portion of your adult life you’ll spend sleeping, eating, exercising, and otherwise taking care of the human pet you live in, along with errands and general life upkeep (~325,000 hours), you’re left with 250,000 “meaningful adult hours.” So a typical career will take up somewhere between 20% and 60% of your meaningful adult time—not something to be rash about. Quality of Life. Your career has a major effect on all the non-career hours as well. For those of us not already wealthy through past earnings, marriage, or inheritance, a career doubles as our means of support. The particulars of your career also often play a big role in determining where you live, how flexible your life is, the kinds of things you’re able to do in your free time, and sometimes even in who you end up marrying. Impact. On top of your career being the way you spend much of your time and the means of support for the rest of your time, your career triples as your primary mode of impact-making. Every human life touches thousands of other lives in thousands of different ways, and all of those lives you alter then go on to touch thousands of lives of their own. We can’t test this, but I’m pretty sure that you can select any 80-year-old alive today, go back in time 80 years, find them as an infant, throw the infant in the trash, and then come back to the present day and find a countless number of things changed. All lives make a large impact on the world and on the future—but the kind of impact you end up making is largely within your control, depending on the values you live by and the places you direct your energy. Whatever shape your career path ends up taking, the world will be altered by it. Identity. In our childhoods, people ask us about our career plans by asking us what we want to be when we grow up. When we grow up, we tell people about our careers by telling them what we are. We don’t say, “I practice law”—we say, “I am a lawyer.” This is probably an unhealthy way to think about careers, but the way many societies are right now, a person’s career quadruples as the person’s primary identity. Which is kind of a big thing. So yeah—your career path isn’t like my unfashionable sweatshirt. It’s really really deeply important, putting it squarely in “Definitely absolutely make sure to give it the time it needs” territory. You’re not a pro at this, but you’re certainly more qualified to figure out what’s best for you than our collective un-self-aware great uncle. For those of you yet to start your career who aren’t sure what you want to do with their lives, or those of you currently focusing on a career path who aren’t sure you’re on the right path, I hope this project can help you press the reset button on your thought process and get some clarity.
Data Science and Machine Learning
Why is data science important for business? Do machines really learn? Projects here are intended to have a hands-on approach to data cleaning, analysis, and visualization. Topics can range from business to health to the stock market.
Economics, Quantitative, Math, Business
Financial markets, stocks, and options
How do the public markets work? When I buy a stock, who am I really buying it from? Can I make money without having to predict the future? As it turns out, the answers to all three questions are not what you'd first expect! We'll explore these questions together, and begin to explore the foundational mathematics behind quantitative trading firms.
Physics, Engineering, Math, Business, Finance
You will learn about digital marketing and its importance in today's hyperconnected world. Then, you will write a research paper focusing on a particular digital marketing topic, such as web design, web analytics, social media marketing, email marketing, SEO, online advertising, and mobile marketing. This process of exploration and preparing the report will encourage critical thinking on digital marketing and how consumers react to various digital marketing tools.
Writing a Research Project Grant
I will coach you through the methodology of developing and writing a research grant for funding.
Biotech, Music, Business
Fan Cost Index & Attendance
As COVID comes to an end, a major concern of all major professional sports league (NBA, MLB, NFL & NHL) is the return of max attendance throughout their stadiums and venues. Yet this recovery has not come as quickly as some may have hoped and that can be due to a multitude of reasons. One major variable that would be interesting to look into is the cost of attending these events as it seems these events never go down in price. Cost of attendance could be a major deterrent for fans as they need to decide where discretionary money is spent. Analyzing the cost of attending sporting events by league, team, and region could be a major insight into why attendance may be stagnant.
History, Sports Analytics, Business, Finance
Real Effects of Environmental Disclosures
An important strain of accounting research examines whether accounting has "real effects". For example, researchers may investigate whether accounting regulations affect firms' investment decisions, employees' career decisions or consumers' purchasing decisions. Many accounting regulations require firms to disclose additional information about their operations in the financial statements. For this reason, accounting researchers are particularly interested in the real effects of disclosures. Recently, Google started disclosing the carbon dioxide emissions for flights in its search engine results, as well as whether those emissions are above or below average for a flight with that departure airport and destination. In this research project, I examine whether this environmental disclosure effects individual's flight choices.
Quantitative, Business, Organizational Leadership
Identifying gender and race/ethnicity biases in sentiment analysis
Sentiment analysis is a popular form of text analysis that uses machine learning to predict the specific emotion that the writer of the text was feeling. There are several popular machine learning models that can take a chunk of text and "assign" scores on various emotions to it. However, we know from prior research in linguistics that there are differences between gender and racial subgroups on how language is used. Thus, these popular sentiment analysis tools, which do not differentiate between gender and race, might lead to biased scores that have important future consequences. This project investigates the degree to which popular sentiment analysis models exhibit gender and racial-ethnic biases.
Psychology, Business, Statistics, Organizational Leadership
How has Modern U.S. Religion Evolved?
Understanding recent trends in U.S. religion is critical to providing culturally-tailored services in both healthcare and other nonprofit fields. This project will analyze both publicly available data and key texts to describe recent trends in religious affiliation and identity.
Biology, Arts, Healthcare, Business
Cooking to Find the American Dream: Food as a Mode of Historical Dialogue
Delve into your family's history through a series of interviews with near and extended relatives. These conversations will inform dishes that will capture the salient milestones and historical moments that define your family's journey to the present day. The project will culminate in a tasting menu for your family that will not only demonstrate the mentee's culinary growth but also galvanize conversation surrounding the interviews and family histories that resulted in the meal.
Biology, Literature and Languages, Business
The power of having a long runway when investing
Investigate the different outcomes of people starting their investing journey at different ages.
Symmetries throughout natural processes
What does heat flow, electric circuits, and fluid mechanics all have in common? They can all be described by the same mathematical equations. We will explore why this is the case, study the relevant history of mathematics, and learn how to model these systems on your computer.
Physics, Engineering, Math, Business, Finance
What college should I attend?
This example project uses data science to make an informed decision about what college a student should attend. The first step involves gathering data from various sources, aggregating and cleaning the data in Python, R, or MATLAB, and finally using various data science methods to arrive at a decision.
Researching the Application of the 4th Amendment in the Criminal Justice System
This project can focus on investigating how the 4th Amendment is applied in different circuit courts. The student would conduct legal research and draft a paper with findings on the issue. The paper could potentially be published in a research journal.
Psychology, Philanthropy, Business, Psychiatry, Organizational Leadership, Social
Create an app that helps people cherish moments beyond regular photos and videos
In this project, learn how to design and develop an app that helps people cherish moments beyond regular photos and videos. You will get hands on experience and guidance on how to design the app, use some of the cloud software products to deploy the app, and how to design user experience (UI/cmdline). You will use your coding skills to develop the app. At the end, we will publish the app on the app store.
Business, Organizational Leadership
Designing and Building a Miniature Solar-Powered Robotic Car
Field of Expertise: This project encompasses principles of mechanical engineering, robotics, and sustainable energy. It provides an opportunity for students to explore topics such as energy conversion, simple mechanical systems, basic robotics, and solar technology. Knowledge and Skills Gained: By the end of the project, students will have learned about the fundamental principles of mechanical engineering and robotics such as design processes, material selection, and basic electronic systems. They will also gain practical knowledge about sustainable energy sources, specifically solar power. Skills will include research, problem-solving, design thinking, basic coding for controlling robotic movements, and team collaboration. Information Gathering Process: 1. Begin with understanding the basics of mechanical engineering and robotics: mechanical systems, energy conversion, and basic electronics. 2. Dive deeper into the study of solar power: how it works, its efficiency, and how to effectively harness it for powering small vehicles. 3. Learn about microcontrollers and how they can be programmed to control motors and steer the robot car. 4. Investigate the principles of design and material selection that allow for efficient movement and power usage. 5. Look at examples of other solar-powered devices and vehicles for inspiration and understanding. Potential Student Outcomes: The main outcome of this project will be a working prototype of a miniature solar-powered robotic car. This prototype will be able to move and steer based on solar energy harnessed through a small solar panel. The students will also create a project report detailing their design process, challenges faced, solutions created, and lessons learned, which can be converted into a scientific research paper or a presentation. Furthermore, students could design a simple website or webpage that showcases their project, thus applying and developing some basic website design skills. This project not only gives students a tangible outcome that they can be proud of but also instills an understanding of the practical applications of sustainable energy and mechanical engineering. It encourages them to think creatively, work collaboratively, and engage hands-on with the material they are studying.
Engineering, Comp Sci, Business
Studying disease from a human evolution perspective
Ever wonder why humans develop arthritis or cancer? Do these diseases exist only in humans or in other species as well? Let's study human evolution and non human primate evolution to better understand why we develop the ailments we see today in our population.
Biology, Cancer, Social Science, Business
This assignment entails choosing a brand and conducting a brand audit which includes a comprehensive list of a company's branding programs, an investigation of consumer knowledge of the brand, and formulating brand recommendations.