The BASIS.ed
Senior Projects 2017

The Senior Project at BASIS Mesa is a selective program that involves an off-campus research project or internship of the students’ choice and design. Students select a BASIS.ed faculty member as their advisor and work with a mentor at their selected research site. These projects may be completed anywhere in the world. At the end of the trimester, students return to campus and present an analysis of their findings to peers, staff, and parents.

BASIS Mesa is one of 10 BASIS Curriculum schools participating in the 2017 BASIS.ed Senior Project Program. To view the details of a specific project, select a student below.

See all BASIS.ed Senior Projects

Danial S.

The Quantum World

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Danial S.

The Quantum World

BASIS advisor: Ian Allen
Internship location: BASIS Mesa
Onsite Mentor: Dr. Hen, Researcher at Information Sciences Institute at USC
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The classical computer revolution changed the way we process information, allowing rapid-fire communication and a broader spread of ideas than ever before. It is predicted that, within the next few decades, a similar revolution will occur in quantum computation. While classical computers impacted the way in which general society interacted and experienced the world, quantum computers are more likely to have an impact in how we solve computationally difficult problems– they are a new type of supercomputer, rather than a new personal computer. These computationally difficult problems include areas such as protein folding, space travel, and other optimization issues. For my project, I am studying a type of quantum computer – the DWave. The DWave is unique in that it is the first device that is purported to utilize quantum effects in its computations. I am interested in studying if the DWave beats classical computers in terms of efficiency, and if the DWave actually is using quantum mechanical effects. I am also interested in examining the types of problems that the DWave may be applied to. What will be the usefulness of quantum computers in the future? What types of problems will they allow us to solve? How will they impact the way we live? This project explores these questions, and the applications of supercomputer use.

Jessica G.

Sustainable Agricultural Techniques in Guatemala

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Jessica G.

Sustainable Agricultural Techniques in Guatemala

BASIS advisor: Stephanie Anderson
Internship location: Asociacion Ninos del Mundo
Onsite Mentor: Leonel Aragon
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Agriculture is a massively important aspect of human life—humanity needs it for sustenance; it occupies a large part of the world’s economy; and it occupies 38% of Earth’s land. Therefore, it is essential that as the human population increases and requires more food, farmers and farming companies utilize more sustainable, more efficient agricultural techniques. With this goal of increasing agricultural sustainability, I have travelled to Antigua, Guatemala, a town surrounded by mountains that are covered in farms. I visited seven farms, one of which was an experimental farm. This farm employs sustainable methods such as hydroponics and polyculture farming, using multiple crops in the same space. My research also involves using these sustainable techniques in a community garden for Asociacion Ninos del Mundo, a school for impoverished children. As Guatemala is a developing country and largely depends on agriculture, this research teaches a community about sustainable farming and gathers data on the techniques that are being employed in Guatemala. With more research projects such as this around the world, humanity will be on track to reduce our environmental impact and provide food for the entirety of the human population.

Kaylee B.

There’s a World Out there... Exploring China Through Service Learning and Cultural Exposure

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Kaylee B.

There’s a World Out there... Exploring China Through Service Learning and Cultural Exposure

BASIS advisor: Lily Treptow
Internship location: Taiyuan, Shanxi, China
Onsite Mentor: Danial and Megan Whitlock
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There is a vast world out there, and every country provides an opportunity for learning and personal growth, cultural exposure, and historical discoveries. What if you had a few days to pack a small suitcase and head to China? What would your experience be like? What cultural norms and stereotypes would be adjusted? Would your vision, beliefs and understandings be confirmed? My project focuses on China as seen through the eyes of a typical high school American girl. I spent time teaching English in a variety of educational settings from kindergarten through college level. My teaching methods included introductions, song, art, dance, games, poetry, and using standard college-level English 101 textbooks. I traveled around China meeting with local people, participating in their culture, learning their history, and gaining experience that will help shape my direction in life. By conducting on-site research in Chinese culture, language, teaching/learning, economics and social behaviors, I was able to break the barriers of social thinking and ideology that is known to many outside of China. I got to see and be a part of their culture first hand, and I had the opportunity to share my American-based knowledge with the locals. As humans we need to step out of our “norm” and learn about the culture of others. With all the division and diversity around us, this project gives me a great opportunity to find ways to comprehend cultural and religious diversities. It will better prepare me to contribute to our country, and to create an understanding of how we can be a greater asset to the world.

Sean-Wyn N.

Surface-Influenced Catalytic Activity in Ceria-Supported Catalyst

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Sean-Wyn N.

Surface-Influenced Catalytic Activity in Ceria-Supported Catalyst

BASIS advisor: Kasey Ray
Internship location: Arizona State University
Onsite Mentor: Josh Vincent
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Catalysis is the acceleration of a chemical reaction by a substance called a catalyst. Most of the world’s energy and consumer products are produced through reactions requiring catalysts. However, the atomic processes of catalysis are not well understood. Studying catalysts with surfaces that are well-defined at the atomic (nanoscale) level can aid in simplifying the analysis of catalytically relevant atomic processes. The purpose of this project is to characterize the surfaces of well-defined ceria-based catalysts, with the aim of better understanding their catalytic properties. As U.S. citizens are high consumers of energy, studying the catalytic properties of nanomaterials can aid us in establishing a sustainable future. A better understanding of catalytic processes could lead to materials that produce enough energy to meet global demands.