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
Why is America so polarized?
Why does political polarization matter? And can we do anything about it? This project could involve reviewing scholarly literature, gathering and analyzing data, and presenting results in the form of a scientific research paper, blog, social media account, or other platform of your choosing. You might identify potential interventions that could help decrease polarization in your school or community. If interested, you could use research methods such as data visualization, text analysis, questionnaire design, or interviews.
Social, Social Science
Social Network Analysis - How are people or organizations connected and why does it matter?
This project explores relationships and patterns found in relationships across individuals, groups, or organizations. If you are interested in strengthening your skills in social network analysis, we can work together to apply this method in your proposed topic. The topics can be diverse, but I hold a dataset of non profit organizations in Genessee county that describes their collaboration patterns with one another. I can support you in the analysis to find any interesting patterns and offer a publication in the form of a student blog to share what you've learned in the process. If interested in another topic, I can work with you to develop a research plan, network survey, and analysis plan. See my paper below for an idea on how social network analysis can be used in child mental health https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0190740920319927
Social, Psychology, Statistics
The Relationship of Acculturation and Spirituality to Sexual Self-Esteem in Arab American Women
Arab American women are a population of women that have ancestry from any of the four main divisions of the Arab world: The Fertile Crescent, the Nile Valley, the Gulf States, and the Maghreb nations, which altogether constitute 22 countries. There is very limited research into the sexual health of Arab Americans, and in particular, how this can be related to cultural and religious values. Sexual self-esteem, or level of satisfaction with oneself in relation to sex or sexuality, was measured in questionnaires and an interview in a sample of 82 Arab American women who were either first or second-generation immigrants. Correlational analyses and regressions revealed that a participant’s higher affinity to their heritage culture was positively correlated with sexual morality and sexual adaptiveness. This is thought to occur due to the strong bonds and social support offered to the woman through her heritage culture. It was also found that spirituality was negatively correlated with sexual skill and experience. This is consistent with the historical meaning of spirituality, which puts less emphasis on the physical aspect of being.
Social, Psychology, Social Science
Blog Series on Mental Health (or other social issues)
Lets work together to create a series of blogs that build your writing skills and promote the researcher within you! We can think through which key topics to focus on based on data reports and reviewing literature on current rates of conditions among a specific population of your choice. Once we finalize our topics, we would draft brief blogs that describe the current evidence, best practices for prevention, and share your own viewpoints based on what you learned. Then we can offer publication opportunities at Polygence or find other spaces to promote your work.
Social, Psychology, Statistics
Parent Evaluation of the UCLA TIES Infant Mental Health (IMH) program.
Develop an online parent survey as well as conduct qualitative interviews with referred foster/adoptive parents. The objective would be to obtain input from foster and adoptive parents participating in IMH to analyze the effectiveness of this program, perceptions of relationships with TIES, and if perceptions of relationships differed between families and UCLA TIES clinicians. The survey should include demographic and family history data that can be used to identify children that have been placed in care with higher risk factors (e.g., prior abusive history, number of placements, age of placement) who are statistically likely to experience emotional, social, and academic dysregulation in life. This evacuation is intended to be used to improve the quality of services received by adoptive/foster parents so that children placed in resource care are wholly supported.
Psychology, Social Science, Public Health, Cognitive, Organizational Leadership, Nutrition, Psychiatry, Music, Social, Neuroscience
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.
Social, Literature and Languages, Creative Writing
Exploring Identities Through Multimedia
As my final project for a study abroad program I did in Rabat, Morocco, I filmed an experimental documentary of a 20-year-old Moroccan woman to capture her life, dreams, vision, and identity. I am very interested in exploring various identities and the way different aspects of society, such as culture, gender, language, class, race, and religion affect identities through film and other media. If you are interesting in creating and portraying unique stories and people through multimedia (film, podcasts, music, art, etc.), I would be happy to help you!
Social Science, Creative Writing, Arts, Cognitive, Music, Social
Applied Psychology Practice
Contrary to popular opinion, psychologists don't spend most of their days psychoanalyzing peoples' dreams and telling them they have Oedipus complexes (most of us don't trust Freud). However, we do a fair amount of interviewing, counseling, standardized assessments to gather data, progress monitoring, data analysis, designing personalized intervention plans, psychoeducation, consultation, report writing, and educating ourselves on the latest research. If you're curious about trying any of these things, let's talk!
How safe are your selfies?
Cybersecurity and privacy is an incredible concern in the modern world. Whatever device you are reading this on undoubtedly has enormous amounts of information about you. Although the consequences of being hacked or having your online identity stolen are great, the average person does little to protect their data. How might we solve this? This project can take many directions depending on the student's interests. - Students interested in design may create digital privacy interventions to promote online safety. - Students interested in psychology may run a controlled experiment testing various privacy interventions. - Students interested in computer science may code an informational web page on privacy risks and practices. - Students interested in law&policy may write a report on how tech companies should approach consumer privacy.
Write a literature review on an important topic or issue. Learn how to synthesize current research papers and articulate your own thoughts and ideas on the topic.
Social, Psychology, Organizational Leadership
Research Paper- Does Autism cling to Leukemia?
Determining Incidence/prevalence of Leukemia among those with different forms/severities of autism (e.g., Downs Syndrome, Asberger Syndrome, etc.)
Psychiatry, Social, Public Health
The Relationship between Socialization and Cognition in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment
Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is defined as the intermediate stage between normal aging and dementia (e.g., Alzheimer's disease). When an older adult has a diagnosis of MCI, this means that they are experiencing some degree of cognitive impairment (i.e., declines in their memory or language skills) but they are still able to live independently. Approximately 1 in 5 older adults living in the U.S. have MCI and are at elevated risk of progressing to dementia. At present, there is no FDA-approved medication for the treatment of MCI and there is a lack of high-quality, long-term studies identifying pharmacological or dietary agents that can improve cognition or delay cognitive decline. As a result, behavioral interventions, such as exercise, cognitive training, and improving social engagement, have been key areas of research, with growing evidence that these interventions can protect against cognitive decline. You might find yourself wondering, well what about social engagement acts as a protective mechanism against cognitive decline. Or, what other lifestyle factors are also neuroprotective? In this project, we could explore why socialization is such an important part of older adulthood, especially for those living with MCI. You could learn about the different parts of the brain that are positively impacted by socialization and if you are curious in exploring the cross-cultural nature of this question, we could investigate what types of socialization patterns might be best for older adults from different ethnoracial backgrounds. This project could be a literature review and/or research paper.
Neuroscience, Social, Cognitive
The good, the bad, and the ugly of social media use among teenagers
How does social media use impact well-being in teenagers? This project investigates certain negative (social-comparison, validation-seeking) and positive (social connection, inspiration) social media use behaviors and their impact on mental health and well-being.
Does learning about deepfakes put people in a distrusting mindset?
Have friends/volunteers take a survey where they learn about and watch deepfakes. Assign them to self-report on their feelings of distrust and see if they perform better on cognitive tasks that benefit from distrust either a) before learning about the deepfakes or b) after. See if learning about deepfakes led people to show greater signs of distrust. Note: my research has already tackled this question, but we can come up with another very doable idea like this one!
Social, Sports Analytics
High School Students' Self-Efficacy and Locus of Control Regarding Environmental Issues
Students are often left out of decision-making processes that directly affect their present and their futures. This is especially the case with environmental issues, in which the youngest generations will suffer far more than their parents. Many students understand that in order to protect their planet and their futures, our systems of government need to act now. Some students have found ways to make their voices heard in an attempt to direct environmental policies. This could be in the form of creating or joining a student advocacy group such as the Sunrise Movement, or some other novel way of amplifying student voice. This project would identify and then survey and interview a group of these students. Through these methods we would seek to understand how much control these students' feel they have over environmental policy (locus of control) and how much they believe they can change their situation (self-efficacy). A control group of students would also be surveyed in comparison to see if participation in these types of activism is correlated with higher self-efficacy or locus of control.
Social, Social Science
High School Students' Self-Efficacy and Locus of Control in their Educational Experiences
Students are often left out of the decision-making processes that directly affect them and their educational experiences. However, some students have found ways to become involved in these processes. This could be in the form of creating a student advocacy group, attending school board meetings regularly, or some new form of students exercising their political power. This project would identify and then survey and interview a group of students who have gained access to these educational policy spaces. Through these methods we would seek to understand how much control these students' feel they have in their educational experiences (locus of control) and how much they believe they can change their situation (self-efficacy). A control group of students would also be surveyed in comparison to see if participation in these types of processes is correlated with higher self-efficacy or locus of control.
Social, Social Science
Who am I on TikTok?
This project would investigate self-presentation on TikTok, looking at how people express themselves on it and if some are more or less authentic there compared to offline.
Social, Psychology, Cognitive
Shattering the Silence Campaign: Let's talk about adolescent mental health!
Why is it that we are comfortable talking about a headache but not the depression or anxiety causing it? Let's create a campaign in your school where students submit videos about the importance of talking about mental health and share words of affirmation To supplement, we can design a school-based mental health curriculum using culturally-responsive healing methods such as restorative justice and art therapy. This curriculum may be submitted to your district's leadership to advocate for student mental health and representation of student leadership in regional decision-making. It's time to stop the stigma! We will spend the first few sessions thinking about our own mental health, the factors influencing our mental health, and we envision a better world. Then, we will advocate for change in your community by bringing others into a public conversation.
Design a Clinical Trial
You will present a rationale for and design a clinical trial to investigate the impact of a particular psychological intervention in a mental disorder of your choosing. For example, "Does daily meditation decrease anxiety in adolescent girls?" In this project, you will conduct a literature review, explain the methodology of your study, and present hypothetical results and their potential implications. Through this project, you will learn how to develop an experiment like a professional clinical psychologist!
Telling Stories Through Data
We live in a world with unprecedented access to data and there is a growing expectation for data literacy. This project will teach students the basics of data collection, analysis, and visualization in the context of a specific set of research questions. The student will start by defining the scope of their question, then collecting and cleaning the appropriate data, which enables high-impact analysis, and will conclude students contracting compelling data-centric narratives.