Senior Project Highlights 2022
All grade 12 students are required to put together a Senior Project, which is presented in the spring of their senior year.
The Senior Project demonstrates a student's in-depth understanding of subject matter from their career technical major. The project accounts for 40% of a senior's fourth-quarter grade.
The seniors make their presentation in the school's theater in front of their peers and teachers, which is filmed by the Multimedia students. A panel of judges, which are primarily members of Minuteman's Program Advisory Committees and consist of business partners and faculty, watch the videos and evaluate the presentations based on a grading rubric.
In collaboration with teachers, we are highlighting a few of the impressive Senior Projects for the 2021-22 school year. Unfortunately, we don't have time to highlight all of the projects! Great job, students!
Matt Gately of Needham
Clutch Replacement in 1991 Ford Bronco
Matt Gately, a senior Automotive Technology student from Needham, replaced the clutch in his 1991 Ford Bronco, an eight-cylinder, four wheel drive, manual transmission vehicle. Gately used a transmission jack, wrenches, rachets and sockets, impact guns, and many other tools. In his project presentation, Gately said he "wanted the challenge" of replacing the clutch. "To take out the clutch, I had to take it out piece by piece. It took me an entire week to take it apart and put it back together," he said. "Now my Bronco runs smoothly and I haven't had any problems since replacing the old clutch." After high school, Matt would like to restore vintage trucks and plans to be a volunteer firefighter.
Gavin Sparks of Arlington
Model Air Powered Engine
For his senior project, Advanced Manufacturing senior Gavin Sparks, of Arlington, designed and constructed a model air-powered engine. Sparks used computer aided design (CAD) to draw a detailed version of the engine, which was built using machinery in the Advanced Manufacturing shop at Minuteman. The engine has six cylinders, is powered by compressed air, and uses a radial design. It is based on a WWII-era fighter plane engine. Sparks will attend the University of Maine Orono to study mechanical engineering in the fall.
Samantha Kerr of Stow
The Effects of High-Dopamine Diets on Drosophila (Fruit Flies)
The seven graduating seniors in Minuteman's Biotechnology career major all gave excellent Senior Project presentations about complex topics -- ranging from the impact of intermittent fasting on zebrafish to the measurement of iron levels in humans.
Samantha Kerr of Stow examined the effects of providing a high-dopamine diet to drosophila (fruit flies), and what impact this could have on treating people with Parkinson's Disease. Kerr performed an experiment in which she supplied fruit flies with Diet Pepsi or green tea -- drinks that contain tyrosine, a dopamine-producing amino acid -- to determine if there was a difference in how the flies functioned. She determined that, in fact, there was a statistically significant difference in how far the flies moved within their test tubes when supplied with Diet Pepsi or green tea vs. water, which was a result of increased dopamine levels. Kerr explained that in a professional setting, further research would determine if Parkinson's could be treated with an increased diet-based approach. Parkinson's Disease is a degeneration of neurons that transmit dopamine.
Kerr plans to attend Wheaton College to study biochemistry in the fall.
Gavin Kane of Everett
Little Free Library for Early Education Program
Gavin Kane, a Carpentry senior from Everett, designed and built a "little free library" that will be used outside the Colonial Children's Academy preschool at Minuteman High School. Little free libraries have become increasingly popular nationwide -- they are small boxes with an arched pitch, like the roof of a house, where people can retrieve or donate books for free. Kane noticed that Minuteman's preschool lacked a location to store a large number of children's books. He stripped down the inside of a discarded mini refrigerator and constructed the roof with three quarter-inch boards of pine. He used metal brackets to hold plywood book shelves. He also painted the library using Minuteman's official blue and yellow colors. Gavin is attending California Lutheran University in the fall.
Marlena Spataro of Newton
Fashion Color: Trends, Brands, Techniques, Process, and Style
Marlena Spataro of Newton's senior project presentation is a deep dive into the complexity of three different -- currently trending -- aspects of hair coloring: two-toned, peekaboo, and asymmetrical. She provides multiple "before and after" photos of her hair coloring work, details on the different products, and insight into the hours-long processes. Spataro works for La Beautique Salon and hopes to open her own salon.
Culinary Arts and Hospitality
Sam Zachary of Lexington
Top Chef Competition Winner
Minuteman's Culinary Arts and Hospitality seniors participated in the 2022 Top Chef Competition as their Senior Project in The District Restaurant on Wednesday, March 30. All the students did a great job and the scores were the closest they've ever been! The 1st place winner was Sam Zachary of Lexington, who made a vegan chick pea tikka masala for an entree and avacado chocolate moose for dessert.
- 1st place winner (entree and dessert) Sam won $200.
- 2nd place entree winner, Colin Lenhardt, of Weston, won $75 for his barley and shrimp bowl.
- 2nd place dessert winner and 3rd place entree winner, Max Allors, of Arlington, won $125 for his filet mignon and oatmeal crepe.
- 3rd place dessert winner Carine Valery, of Belmont, won $50 for her poached pear.
- Danieliz Calderon, of Needham, received the $20 Superintendent's Prize for her shrimp taco.
Design and Visual Communications
James Murch of Bolton
Animation in Logos and Branding
Design and Visual Communications senior James Murch of Bolton compiled an impressive video montage of corporate logos that he animated together with motion and sound effects. Murch explained the detailed history behind the use of animation in corporate logos, including how they became common and why -- tracing them back to logos used on battle shields in ancient Rome to the American film industry in the 1930s.
(Pictured: James Murch (center) with DVC teachers Jim McNamara and Allison Barry)
Early Education and Teaching
Katerina Holbrook of Bedford
Teaching Preschoolers Handwriting
Early Education and Teaching senior Katerina Holbrook, of Bedford, works full-time every other week at Minuteman's Colonial Children's Academy preschool through the Cooperative Education (Co-Op) program. For her senior project, she helped teach children ages 3-5 how to write. She instituted a "sign in sheet" for the children to write words and phrases daily. Then, she showed a "before and after" photo during her presentation, when she also tied in the research behind the proper methods of teaching handwriting to young children. This year, Katerina was Minuteman's nominee for the Markham Award. She will attend Clemson University in the fall to study early education with the hopes of becoming a kindergarten teacher.
Anis Iftikhar of Arlington
Fire Alarm Systems
Anis Iftikhar, a senior in Electrical Wiring from Arlington, built a fire alarm panel from scratch.
Iftikhar designed which devices he would use, mounted all of the components, and wired them. He noted in his presentation about fire alarm systems that three of every five deaths in house fires occur in properties without smoke detectors, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Iftikhar provided details of the two most common fire alarm systems: conventional and addressable. He provided a video demonstration on a fire alarm panel, showing what occurs once it is activated. Iftikhar plans to study electrical engineering at UMass Boston.
Jack Sacca of Belmont
Illustrated Guide to Climate-Vulnerable Birds of New England
Shehla Bibi of Watertown
COVID-19 Vaccine Info for Pashto/Urdu Language Community
Shehla Bibi, a Health Assisting student from Watertown, immigrated from Pakistan in 2017 and is a native speaker of Pashto and reader of Urdu. For her senior project, she researched Pashto/Urdu language translations for COVID-19 vaccine information in the United States but could only find online literature from Scotland. While the Massachusetts Department of Public Health translates COVID-19 information in numerous languages, it does not for Pashto/Urdu. As a result, Shehla created two video public service announcements with critical vaccine information, in which she spoke in Pashto and created Urdu subtitles.
Horticulture and Plant Science
Erica Vogel of Stow
Wildcrafting with Invasive Species
Erica Vogel takes "do it yourself" to a whole new level in her Senior Project. The Horticulture student from Stow used invasive species around Minuteman's campus to create jam and skin lotion. She used autumn olives (elaeganus umbellate), which are shrubs, to create jam; and she used Japanese knotweed (fallopia japonica), which commonly grow along the edges of roads and forests, to create skin lotion. She found the recipes in books and at her local farm stand. Erica explains she embarked in a practice called "wild crafting," in which she collected and harvested invasive plant species that harm native plants, then used those plants to create products that benefit people -- the jam and the skin lotion. She says wildcrafting is an effective way to reduce the spread of invasive plants. In addition, many of the plants contain agents that have medical benefits. "These are two invasives you can probably find in your own backyard," she said of the plants she used. "They are easy to harvest and easy to prepare." Erica plans to study botany at the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism after graduation and would like to grow skills in plant wellness and medicine.
Metal Fabrication and Welding
Carter Calzini of Weston
For his senior project, Metal Fabrication senior Carter Calzini, of Weston, crafted a tensegrity table. Often referred to as a "floating table" due to its visual appearance, a tensegrity table is constructed using a system of cables and struts relying only on pure tension to hold up the table, giving it its "floating" look.
Nicholas Soukaras of Lancaster
Outdoor Fire Pit
Nicholas Soukaras, a Metal Fabrication student from Lancaster, constructed a large, backyard fire pit for his senior project. After conducting research on the appropriate type of metal, Soukaras selected mild steel. He determined that the fire pit needed to have sand at the bottom so it would not warp, that it needed to be portable to transport in a vehicle, and durable enough to withstand heat. The fire pit is made of 16 gauge hot rolled mild steel, a 1/2 hot rolled square bar, 2x2 expanded steel grate, and 1/2 inch of hot rolled square bar.
Nicholas Soukaras (right) with Metal Fabrication and Welding teachers Dean Mulone (front) and Gene Boyd (rear) display his senior project, a large outdoor fire pit.
Charles Cantin of Stow
You can watch the demonstration of the stilt costume on the YouTube video to the right and watch Charles' full senior presentation here.
Aidan Parker of Concord
Benefits of High-Efficiency Toilets
Programming and Web Development
Koi Green of Arlington
Design of Prosthetic Arm
Programming and Web Development student Koi Green, of Arlington, used computer aided design (CAD) to design a robotic prosthetic arm. He used the C++ programming language and used Arduino to help code the motors for the product.