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.

People working on laptops
Languages

Translation

Translate Spanish poetry, fiction or non-fiction material into English. Improve your knowledge of both languages and dive deep into the world of translation.

Literature, Languages, Creative Writing

Kendall
Kendall

Self-Compassion Intervention Literature Review

My most recent area of focus pertains to evaluating the effectiveness of self-compassion interventions for health behavior change. I would love to help students conduct a literature review project on the topic of self-compassion interventions by assisting them with literature searching, critically consuming literature on the topic, and writing a literature review paper.

Psychology, Arts, Languages

Caitlin
Caitlin

Pharmacogenomics 101

Doctors prescribe drugs to treat a variety of health conditions. However, people can vary in how well they respond to the drug, and whether they experience adverse side effects from taking it. In some cases, this is due to genetic variation - i.e., differences in individuals' DNA sequence - and this is called Pharmacogenomics. In this project, you will use the database PharmGKB to identify genetic variants that impact response to commonly prescribed drugs, and evaluate how they impact the drug's biological actions at the molecular level. Through examining biochemical pathways involved in the drug's metabolism, you will gain a deeper understanding of the field of pharmacogenomics, and how genetic knowledge can help inform medical care.

Biology, Surgery, History, Literature, Languages

Emily
Emily

Prevalence of anxiety in a high school population

My field of expertise involves mental health, mentorship, and internal medicine and I am proficient in SPSS. Students will gain knowledge of recruiting participants, utilizing accredited surveys, collecting survey data using qualtrics and excel, analyzing the data using excel and/or SPSS, and writing a manuscript. This will include reaching out to high schools to obtain consent to spread the survey, gathering answers from high school students anonymously, and exporting it from qualtrics to excel, replacing answers with numeric symbols to compute to SPSS. The potential student outcomes may include writing a scientific research paper, creating a survey, and/or creating an oral or poster presentation.

Biology, Psychology, Arts, Languages, Chemistry

Valerie
Valerie

Ever wondered how a summer internship can help students?

We can work together to design a research project that looks at how summer internships affect high school students. Do they experience increased aspirations to pursue a certain career? Are they more motivated to do well at school? Do they get better grades? This project will offer you the chance to learn how to design a survey, collect data, conduct interviews, analyze data, and improve your academic writing style. I am open to working on this topic, or any other economics topic(s) of your choosing! For a previous research project, I worked with my advisor on a similar topic. Here is what we found: Recently, policymakers and researchers have explored how time spent outside of the classroom, including early work experience, can affect educational outcomes and reduce inequality across racial and socioeconomic groups. Although research has demonstrated that high-intensity work-based learning programs improve high school graduation and post-secondary enrollment, little is known about the effects of stand-alone private sector employment experiences on student outcomes. We study a unique program that brokers employer-paid summer job internships for Boston public school youth across 150 private sector firms in a variety of industries such as healthcare, finance, biotechnology, higher education, and real estate. Using data from school administrative records, we employ both fixed effects and matching models to estimate the impact of receiving a private sector placement on both high-school and post-secondary outcomes. Both models show similar impacts on outcomes that can be measured repeatedly over time with significant improvements in high school attendance and course failures associated with having had a private sector placement during the summer. Furthermore, we use our matching model to explore outcomes that occur only once, finding that private sector job experience increases standardized test taking as well as the likelihood of on-time high school graduation and college enrollment. These results suggest that private sector employers have an important role to play in the “ecosystem” of summer jobs, beyond government sponsored programs, to support experiences that help prepare youth for both educational and career pathways into adulthood.

Languages, Economics, Math, Business, Statistics

Urbashee
Urbashee

Building a Data Analytics Dashboard or Portfolio

Prerequisites: AP Statistics or equivalent, an interest in a social science question you want to ask Do you want to analyze your home state’s mortgage data to map out racial discrimination in housing opportunities? Have you ever wondered if a nation’s military spending can predict its success in fighting an insurgency? Do speakers of minority languages across the world have lower standards of living than speakers of majority languages? If you have ever had a burning question about a social science question of any type, I would love to work with you to build a data analytics dashboard or portfolio. If you are interested in the concept but don’t have a topic in mind, I’d love to work with you to find one! This project includes a few phases. First, we must outline your question and figure out the exact parameters of what you’re asking. Then, we have to find data. If we’re lucky, someone may have already collected a dataset. If not, we can think of ways to do our own primary data collection. Then, we will clean and analyze the data. If you only have experience with Excel, that’s okay! Excel can be a powerful tool. If you have experience with Python or R, or are interested in learning some of these coding languages, we can also use these tools for data cleaning and analysis. Finally, we will produce a dashboard or portfolio to visually tell a story with the results of your analysis. We can accomplish this using Excel, Python, R, and Tableau. If you don’t have experience with one of these tools but would like to use them, I would be more than happy to help!

Languages, Economics, Social Science

Perry
Perry

Music History

Explore a topic in music history and research your favorite bands. Explore their influences and their impact on the music world.

Literature, Languages, Creative Writing

Kendall
Kendall

Arabian Nights

Students can choose from any of the “Arabian Nights” tales, and depending on language expertise, we will work through it reading in either English or Arabic (or a mix of the two). We will explore, analyze, and attempt to define some of the most common themes in the text: the power of storytelling, magic, adventure, fate, etc.

Literature, Languages, Creative Writing, Linguistics, Social Science

Jade
Jade

Understand the Stock Market

Personal finance is one of the most important skills a young adult can learn. Together, we will put together a "Best Practices: Stock Market in X Industry". We will go over major vocabulary principals, how the stock market works, and choose certain areas to dive deep on (Discounted Cash Flow, Options, Stock Splits).

Engineering, Languages, Business

Cathy
Cathy

Personal is Political- Pop Culture and Politics

We could explore the relationship between popular culture and politics, including representations in pop culture and how they intersect with issues of race and gender, for example. This idea comes from the feminist concept that the personal is political! What we consume, or what is presented to us, impacts the way we live our lives. After choosing the particular topic, we will read and discuss the relevant literature then develop a research question, choose the methodology, and conduct research that culminates in a conference paper, academic journal article, podcast, or think piece.

History, Literature, Languages, Social Science

Shauna
Shauna

Create a Literature Blog

This project would be a great way to familiarize yourself with literary critique, and to push yourself to think both as a reader and as writer. By creating and running your own literary blog, you will gather and polish skills such as analytic writing, basic web design, and social media outreach and advertising. This project would also be highly customizable, as you may choose to write brief reviews or longer scholarly essays. Either way, it will allow you to craft your own online space as an emerging literary voice!

Philosophy, Literature, Languages

Lucia
Lucia

Becoming a data detective

Choose a factual from a news article, website, or report and investigate it. The fact should not be based on original information (i.e. it should be reused or cited). Trace the fact back to its original source. Demonstrate how it was estimated/measured/created and evaluate the appropriateness of the fact for its present use. Show the steps taken to reconfigure the fact for its current use and comment on the appropriateness of these changes. Conclude with an evaluation of any discrepancies between the final factual claim and the original fact. In this process you will develop the skills to investigate statements that are often assumed as fact. This project will arm you with valuable critical thinking and researching skills.

Arts, Languages, Business

Isabella
Isabella

Investigating the theatrical economy of Early Modern London

Background: Theater blossomed in Early Modern London, leading to many of the plays and production techniques that are most famous today. Networks of actors, writers, producers, patrons, and craftspeople collaborated to build a new industry around an established medium. What made this period and city so unique? How were these economic forces reflected in the plays themselves? Questions like these guide academics, who tend to use literature as a tool to understand broader cultural and historical themes. Process: After solidifying your background knowledge, it will be important to narrow your focus to a particular aspect of this period's drama, whether that is a specific play, a theater, or even a production company. Looking for sources in academic journals, literary texts, and primary sources like historical documents will lead you to unexpected connections and a growing clarity about your specific argument. Finally, understanding the broader critical context of how this period has been discussed will allow you to position your argument to make it more unique and effective. Knowledge and skills: Over the course of this project, you will become familiar with the most common skills for humanities research: finding and synthesizing sources, situating your argument in its critical context, digital archival work, close reading, outlining, and explaining the relevance of your results. Outcomes: Literary analysis tends to fit best in essay form, but there are lots of supplemental ways that you can display your findings. Trendy fields like the Digital Humanities and New Theater Studies have placed a great emphasis on websites and even creative writing as a way to enhance an academic argument. We'll review some examples of what's being done currently and look a tools you can use to share your work online in an interactive form.

Arts, History, Languages, Social Science

Henry
Henry

Robotics and Society

The student will investigate a topic in robotics such as home-care robotics. Research on the current obstacle and investigate/design solutions for it. Open to more discussion with the student and based on their interest with the topic.

Psychology, Languages, Social Science

Maria Paula
Maria Paula

Podcast: Neurodiversity and Culture

You will develop a podcast centering on the impact of culture on teenagers who are neurodiverse. Culture can be described as family heritage and traditions, community culture, school culture or workplace culture. Topics can range from teenagers who manage having ADHD, ADD, Autism, Epilepsy, etc. This process will teach you how to tap into current studies regarding neurodiversity, communicate publicly about the intersection of culture and learning/living/being with neurodiversity, and to raise awareness about the services and resources associated with neurodiversity. You will gain skills in writing, editing, communication, technology, digital services, and community engagement statregies.

History, Literature, Languages, Public Health

Rachel
Rachel

Spanish and How it Got that Way

In 711 C.E. the Arabic-speaking Umayyad dynasty began their conquest of the Iberian peninsula, now present-day Spain and Portugal. During this time, there was over 800 years of Arab cultural and linguistic influence on the region. Today, over 4,000 Spanish words derive their origins from Arabic. Students can explore the influence of Arabic on Spanish through the lens of historical linguistics.

Literature, Languages, Creative Writing, Linguistics, Social Science

Jade
Jade

Cultural Musician Profile

Using profiles like Doreen St. Felix's article on Missy Elliott as examples, a student would create a multimedia article on an artist of their choice that touched on how that artist's music has been culturally significant, not only to the general public, but also to their culture of origin. Students would be asked to do the following: 1) Choose an artist with a cultural background significant to their music 2) Research that artist's cultural background, their relationship to it, and how that cultural background influences their music. What are some of the cultural conversations happening, and how does that artist navigate those conversations? We would be looking news articles, as well as some entry-level academic texts that covered these issues. 3) Choose a short selection of songs that show how those conversations come up. Using close reading methods, a student would look at the lyrics or musical production of a song to see how some of these larger issues are being tackled musically. This project would teach students to do media analysis that is cognizant of the cultural influences present in said media. I would be using my expertise in ethnic and gender studies as well as media studies to guide students through this project and help them develop questions they might have concerning how to do research. The composition seminar I taught focused heavily on black music, and I would use that experience teaching students how to write about musicians and their cultural backgrounds to help students create an exciting and rigorous final article.

History, Literature, Languages

Semilore
Semilore

Leadership Model and Multilingual Education

I am also developing a Leadership Model on how Multilingual Acquisition in early age improves classroom results in collaboration with other university in Europe, Scandinavia, North Africa and Middle East.

Languages

Zehlia Babaci
Zehlia Babaci

Building Food Justice

This research will focus on the concept of food justice in a theoretical and practical sense. This could involve a gender or racial justice focus, for example. We could focus on a specific area or type of producer.and will then examine how different policy or political changes can improve the nutritional security of households.

History, Languages, Environmental Science, Social Science, Nutrition

Claire
Claire

Welcome to my Ted Talk

Identify a social issue, a cultural phenomenon, an education policy, or come up with your own topic and learn to present like an expert Ted Talker. You'll not only research something you are passionate about but you'll learn important public speaking skills for life.

Arts, History, Languages, Social Science

Rose
Rose