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
Science Fiction vs. Science Fact: Connecting Sci-fi Literature with Scientific Theory
This could be a project for someone with an interest in both science and literature. The student could begin by identifying a group of short stories or a novel written in the sci-fi genre, choosing a writer who had/has a reputation for being "scientifically accurate" or at least partially so. It would be interesting to look into the ways that a literary figure incorporates science into a work or works. Does the author use a lot of jargon? Is this based on research he/she did, or does the author have a science background? Or if the student chooses a film, how accurate is that film to theory? An example might be the film Interstellar, about which a book has been written on the science of the film. There are some filmmakers who hire scientists to help them tell an accurate story if possible. A project of this type could identify the areas of overlap or highlight improbabilities created for dramatic effect. When does the science enhance the storytelling? When does it "interfere" with what the author wants to give the audience? These are some interesting concepts that could entice a researcher who has an interest in literature and science.
Literature and Languages, Creative Writing
Building Capacity Through Mental Health Education
In many countries, rural locations, and low-resourced areas, mental health services can be minimal, costly, and inaccessible. Communal capacity building and trainings can help serve as a meaningful way to navigate such obstacles. In this project, we will identify local community leaders (e.g., teachers, student leaders, medical professionals and personnel, etc.) and create/disseminate a foundational guide on ways these identified leaders can better support individuals experiencing difficulties with mental health.
Apart from scientific work, I have ample experience with teaching and editing creative writing. Therefore, I am also open to mentoring projects involving creative writing in the form of poetry, essays, plays, and short stories, based on a topic of your choice.
Creative Writing, Cognitive
Illustrate your Day
As a daily exercise, I want you to pick out your favorite sketchbook, portable, please! What you will do is a sketch with pencil items that impact your every day. Compose them on the page. Play with dimensions. Enter the world of Salvador Dali. Is the time running away? Then make it run. Use a waterproof pen to play with line weight. Add patterns and texture. Then when you have the time later in the day add dashes of watercolor to your liking. No need to stay inside the line. Be wild. Keep space for some journaling. See your day come alive as the day comes to an end.
Creative Writing, Illustration, Animation
Creating a Virtual Reality Art Exhibition
Have you ever learned about the Russian Avantgarde of the early 1900's and how it influenced art practice and culture for decades to come? How would you like to learn about the history of some of the most innovative art movements and curate your own online exhibition of world art masterpieces, selected by you? Using an online template, you will design a 3D layout of your dream art exhibit and create a curatorial narrative about connections your have found between famous art traditions and styles. That involves learning how to research artists and mastering writing about art. Next time your go to the museum, you might be able to tell your friends or family why the curator has arranged the artworks in specific ways and what effect they were hoping to accomplish.
Dance, Creative Writing
Has a film you saw ever inspired you to paint something? Has a particular song prompted you to write your own version of the lyrics, along with the same rhythm? Has a sad story made you want to create your own ending, your own fiction. Then I just might be the person to help you convey those received messages! When I taught a weekly workshop at a high school in Queens, we did reactive work to the song "Surgeon" by St. Vincent, where students had the opportunity to either create visuals with provided tools or to write a piece in direct reaction to the song, whether it was responding to one line or just the feeling the song gave them. I chose that song in particular because it was written in response to a line singer Annie Clark read in Marilyn Monroe's diaries, stating, "Best finest surgeon, Lee Strasburg, come cut me open." The song has "Best finest surgeon, come cut me open," as a constant refrain. So I had students respond to this in their own way. Prerequisites: 1. The students would provide their own artistic message to react to, whether it's a scene from a movie, a song, a poem, etc. It's completely up to the student. 2. Though the student chooses the work to build from, they have to innovate it and make it their own in some way, rather than repeat what's already been done.
Re-envisioning Maternal Health
Maternal mortality is an ongoing concern for the United States, particularly for Black and Latinx populations who have disproportionately higher rates of mortality. Through interviews with different stakeholders (i.e., physicians, doulas and midwives, and patients), students will share a narrative of the current state of maternal mortality and describe possible solutions from different perspectives.
Creative Writing, Healthcare, Social Science, Public Health
Documentary Film or Performance
Equipping and providing creative tools to that could guide a documentary process of filmmaking or performance making. The way one approaches a documentary project always influences and determines what is being documented, so understanding what type of approach work best in certain situations, while maintaining ethics, is key to a successful documentary project.
Dance, Photography, Creative Writing
Twisted Fairy Tales
Folklore, fairy tales, and mythology have existed for as long as humans have been around to tell them. Oral histories and stories reach back centuries to the dawn of humanity. These fairytales, folklore, and mythology are still felt in today's stories: movies, books, and artwork. Famous authors like J.R.R. Tolkien, Alexandra Bracken, V.E. Schwab, and Tracy Deonn have all been heavily influenced by ancient legends. In this project, the student will choose a story theme in fairy tales, folklore, mythology, or legends and analyze how that theme has developed over the centuries. Why was the story first begun? How has that story changed since it was first told? What new threads have appeared within the story? Why does that story still persist today? The student will research this theme within classic and contemporary tales and how the theme has been retold in different societies. They will explore why this particular story and theme has survived the ages and investigate what about this story and theme resonates with current audiences. At the end of the project, the student will have an in-depth paper analyzing a particular Twisted Fairy Tale and the purpose it has served over the years.
Literature and Languages, Creative Writing
Exploring Financial Planning Across Economic Classes
This research project focuses on examining financial planning practices among individuals from different economic classes. By studying the financial habits and strategies employed by individuals across various income levels, valuable insights can be gained into the factors influencing financial decision-making and outcomes. The project could involve gathering quantitative data through surveys or analyzing existing datasets to understand the variations in financial planning behaviors among different economic classes. It could also include qualitative research methods, such as interviews or case studies, to gain a deeper understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities faced by individuals in different economic classes. The findings of this research could contribute to the development of tailored financial education programs and policies aimed at improving financial literacy and well-being across diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. Moreover, the results may provide valuable insights for financial institutions and advisors in better understanding and serving the needs of individuals from various economic classes. Overall, this research has the potential to shed light on the dynamics of financial planning and contribute to creating a more inclusive and equitable financial landscape for individuals from all economic backgrounds.
Business, Creative Writing, Literature and Languages, Finance
Impacts and Outcomes of Young Adult Literature
Young adult (YA) literature is a popular field that often targets heavier topics like trauma, illness, grief, and struggles with facets of identity like race, gender, and sexuality. Often, the goal of writing books like this is to connect with an audience and help them in some way, to assert that they aren't alone. How does YA help adolescents? Are adolescents who read YA better adjusted as they grow older?
Psychology, Social, Creative Writing, Literature and Languages
Stanford Start-Up Garage | Prison Reform | Post-Incarceration Job Assistance
Research how to help formerly incarcerated individuals find employment after their time in prison. I have a great deal of industry experience, but could use a helping hand in assembling research on certification providers -- groups and organizations that can prove a formerly incarcerated individual has a set of skills -- to give them tangible opportunities once their parole period has ended. I'm working with Stanford's well-known Start Up Garage program with another McKinsey alumnus interested in developing solutions for our broken prison system.
Business, Creative Writing
Banish Writer's Block: Creative Writing Projects
Do you have a creative writing project you want to finish? Let’s get to it! I work with writers on everything from short stories to book-length works. We’ll focus on combining writing with writing studies research. In our first sessions, we’ll identify a realistic timeline and goal for your project. As we move forward, you’ll conduct research on genre and writing habits that will support your productivity, help you build productive writing habits, and move you from draft to done.
History, Literature and Languages, Creative Writing
Flash Fiction-1000 word story
Think of a story that you want to tell. Now condense that story within 1000 words (roughly four, full pages). Develop your story by focusing on what is important. What details or descriptions are necessary for understanding the story as a whole? Are there any that serve as filler and take up space? Reduce the fluff and introduce the reader to a story that takes advantage of the limited space it has.
Creative Writing, Literature and Languages
East Asian Philosophy in Anime and Film
An examination into the cultural, aesthetic, and philosophical themes present in popular anime today. How does one watch anime in a meaningful and productive way? An overview of Zen, Daoist, and Wabi-Sabi philosophy in anime and film such as Ping Pong the Animation, Akira, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Spirited Away, and others.
Psychology, Philosophy, Creative Writing, Literature and Languages
How Does Stigma Affect Mental Health?
Many marginalized identities face social stigma and discrimination, including people who are LGBTQ, from a minority race or religious group, or have a disability. A review paper can help us understand how these experiences affect the mental health of people with a particular identity, and how mental health providers can better support members of this community.
Creative Writing, Literature and Languages, Social
The USGS has hundreds of stream gauges set up across the United States, each gauge providing loads of daily and weekly data. In this project, you'll learn how to analyze and interpret these large datasets using R, and make inferences about environmental health in your neighborhood. You'll write a paper on the topic and submit to a high school journal.
Environmental Science, Creative Writing
Women Who Write Travel
In a genre often dominated by men, female travel writers tend to be overlooked. This project will be a deep dive into the women who have written about place, nature, and culture over the last 150 years.
Social Media API Data Analysys
Leran how to collect social media data. Likes, tags, trending topics share and create high level analytical reports. This research effort can done be used as a basis for many practices included marketing, politics and social studies.
Engineering, Physics, Creative Writing, Math
Explore Personal Identity Through Creative Writing
Writing fiction or creative nonfiction about one's own experiences can be a powerful way to gain self-understanding, connect with others, and even advocate for social change.
Creative Writing, Literature and Languages, Social