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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
Psychology

Changing factors to improve obesity levels

Changing factors in grade school to improve obesity epidemic in America.

Neuroscience, Psychology

Stacey
Stacey

Why does sugar taste sweet?

Have you ever wondered why sugar tastes good and lemons taste sour? Spoiler alert: neuroscientists aren't entirely sure. In this project, we'll dive into the controversy and dissect the two leading theories. You'll learn the basics of how the taste and smell systems work and get some deeper insight into how the scientific process unfolds.

Neuroscience, Psychology, AI/ML

Abby
Abby

Podcast Creation

Create the foundation to build your own podcast, exploring one of your passions. Start out with a few ideas of a podcast and set up the necessary platforms - many of which are free! Look into existing podcasts that explore similar interests, figure out what structure you resonate with, and come up with a plan for the first few episodes. This could include reaching out to potential guests, asking friends for interesting topics, and outlining topics for the first few episodes or even the first full season!

Biology, Neuroscience, Psychology

Roshni
Roshni

How to Get Things Done

Setting - and achieving - our goals can be a daunting process. Yet, a wealth of psychological evidence has documented how we can best succeed in fulfilling our goals. In this project students can track their own goals while learning cutting-edge psychological science behind motivation and goal pursuit. Through this project students will gain greater insight into their own goals and behaviors and will gain a grasp on social psychological perspectives underlying motivation and self-regulation.

Social, Psychology, Social Science, Statistics

Andrew
Andrew

Scientific Writing

Much of what scientists do is figure out what has been done before. Once we know this information, we can come up with ways to pursue new research that fills the gap in what we don't currently know. We often do this through a literature review. If you are interested in a topic and want to take a deeper dive in knowing more about it, I can help you find scientific articles and write a review paper that lets other people know what has been researched on a certain topic. We can craft a scientific story together and publish the work online as a review article or a blog post. This is also helpful if you want to pursue your own, independent research and don't know where to start. It also is a great way to practice your writing skills.

Music, Neuroscience, Social, Psychology, Statistics

Samantha
Samantha

Cost-benefit relationship between student and parent dyads on student success outcomes

Using a commonly known framework in the business industry, "equity theory" will be applied to student-parent relationships to determine how inequitable cost-benefit relationships affect various student success outcomes. This study could explore how student parent dyads with students who are more autonomous differ in student success outcomes from student parent dyads with students who are more dependent on parent guidance in school.

Psychology, Statistics

Christina
Christina

Review of Psychology & Physical Health Outcomes

As a health psychology graduate student, I am trained to understand how psychosocial factors (e.g., happiness, anger, loneliness, socioeconomic status) impact individuals' physical health. For students with similar interests, we can write a systematic review paper focused on a psychosocial factor of interest and the body systems through which it affects physical health. Through this project, students will become familiar with using Google Scholar for literature searches, learn how to assess the quality of academic sources (e.g., using metrics such as journal quality, citations, recency, and research methods), and learn how to summarize the literature in an academic review paper. These skills can benefit students as they begin taking upper-division college courses and those who go on to participate in research labs where assisting graduate students or professors with literature search and writing is required. The final project will be a review paper that could be submitted as a journal article.

Social, Psychology

Sarah
Sarah

Why do some plants hate tap water?

This project will explore plant physiology by studying the effects of different water sources and filtration methods on house plants. Important topics will include: how do plants process minerals and chemicals in tap water? What solutions can home gardeners use to help their plants thrive? Learn how to conduct controlled experiments to test hypotheses.

Biology, Psychology, Cognitive

Adrian
Adrian

EEG waves and brain states

There are many publicly available EEG datasets available. For this project, one could explore how different wave frequencies are associated with different brain states. Other things can be explored as well. For example, how does moving a finger affect brain waves in motor areas versus non motor areas?

Psychology, Social Science, AI/ML

Kevin
Kevin

Evaluating the impact of a Positive Post-It Notes Program on High School Students' Mental Health

The vast majority of research in clinical psychology is focused on what we call downstream factors or those related to current mental health conditions and people already involved in treatment. However, its just as important to prevent mental health problems from developing! Finding ways to enhance community and social support is key to reducing the likelihood that people will develop mental health problems. Positive Post-It Note programs are pretty common in High Schools and Colleges, but only related programs (and in older samples), such as Caring Contacts, have been evaluated. You could launch such a program in your school by creating a pre- and post-program survey administered via email or text to see its impact on psychological wellbeing. If you're feeling super motivated, you could provide the same survey to another school that would not receive the intervention and compare!

Psychology, Social Science, Statistics

Kaitlyn
Kaitlyn

Develop a protocol for your own systematic review

Systematic reviews are one form of research that can help fill a gap in what we don't know about a specific topic. Systematic reviews are like literature reviews, except much more systematic as it follows a research protocol. They are much more extensive than literature reviews because you are trying to capture every published article to fully describe your topic based on a wide breadth of evidence. What you would do is choose a topic that we don't know very much about, such as evidence based interventions in jail populations or evidence based interventions in local public health departments. I can work with you to develop a concrete topic area. Then we would work together to develop your own protocol to conduct the systematic review. These typically can lead to academic publications (I have 3 currently published). If you are interested in learning how systematic reviews work as a support team member, I also have an active protocol that we are conducting with partners at Michigan State.

Social, Psychology, Statistics

Tatiana
Tatiana

Are females just acting "hormonal"?

Hormones and the reproductive cycle of the female body play a significant impact on our mental health and well being. How can we protect ourselves in the menstrual cycle? What factors are really at play? This project could take on the form of a research paper or even educational content.

Psychiatry, Biology, Neuroscience, Psychology

Kia
Kia

You are What You Eat

Interested in helping others feel better? Well, you are what you eat. Many nutritional changes/deficiencies can drastically impact your mental health and affect diagnoses. This project could include educational content/series for your community or class with local grocery store about how to read labels and know what they consume and how it can affect their mental health.

Psychiatry, Biology, Neuroscience, Psychology

Kia
Kia

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

Research Project on Youth Vaping Epidemic

I researched data related to a Public Heath crisis of the youth vaping epidemic. This was a 25 page research project in which I received an A. I also had to make a ppt and present my findings to a group. I would love the opportunity to present my entire paper and project.

Philosophy, Ethics, Psychology, Public Health, Finance, Organizational Leadership

Candice
Candice

Height and genetics: Nature or Nurture

How much do your genes determine your height? How much do nutrition and environmental factors play a role? What gene variants are implicated in height differences and what is the role of epigenetics? We will access and analyze an open dataset on twins to estimate the correlation between monozygotic twins (who have the exact same DNA) and height. You will learn to use R to open a dataset, analyze data with statistical methods such the student’s t-test, and display your data as graphs and charts. Finally, you will learn how to make a research presentation on height and genetics, describe the research methods, and present the data in a compelling and thorough way.

Biology, Neuroscience, Psychology, Medicine

Adeoluwa
Adeoluwa

Mental health during pregnancy among caregivers

Mental health can be a large obstacle for many to deal with during their life, and pregnancy and becoming a new parent often adds some addition challenges. We could investigate mental health and interventions for all types of caregivers. While there is some research on mental health and pregnancy, little investigates how fathers, secondary caregivers, and other types of caregivers' mental health effects the transition to parenthood, and their new infant.

Neuroscience, Psychology, Statistics

Shannon
Shannon

Sleep disruption profiles in various mouse models of Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer's disease (AD) has been studied for decades but we are no closer to understanding the mechanisms of the disease. Because of the vast number of researchers studying AD, there are numerous models used to study the disease. All these models have different sleep profiles, phenotypes, disease onsets, sex differences etc. Therefore, in this project we will compile a document based on extensive literature review about the various models there are. We will focus on sleep profiles in these animals with an emphasis on male and female differences. This information is valuable because it is important to know which model is best to use to answer your scientific questions and there is a lot of criticism (by other scientists) that can be brought on by the model chosen so you need to be able to justify your choice. This project will also introduce you to the world of AD research and some of the gaps in knowledge in the field.

Neuroscience, Psychology

Shenee
Shenee

Understanding the Inclusive Customer Experience (ICX)

People with disabilities have constraints to participation in leisure activities. Part of those constraints are physical barriers and others' attitudes. Not much research has been done on understanding how a person feels included in a leisure space. The project could be a literature review, the development of a data collection tool, or testing an app that helps people identify inclusive spaces.

Psychology, Social Science

Susan
Susan

Movement and Memory

This study could evaluate the influence one's physical activity levels may have on their educational outcomes (either over a period of time or in a single testing scenario), and explore potential correlations between cognition and movement. Possible measurement tools could include the IPAQ, cognitive tests, and school transcripts.

Psychology, Statistics

Daphne
Daphne