First Semester Closing Reflection

The equivalent of my midterm for my independent study was a presentation that I gave to peers, mentors, and faculty on my project.

Below is the flyer that I sent to Durham Academy Upper School with the subject line “Come talk $h*t!”:

The subject line was my best attempt to get students to open my email because as a student who has also ignored many emails sent to the whole Upper School, I knew I needed to stand out. Sure enough, my plan did work because many people messaged me or came up to me asking why Mr. Wilson (Upper School Director) just sent them an email from me with “$h*t” in the subject line. 

The posted time for the presentation was 20 minutes, but it ended up running over this time because people asked questions. I enjoyed getting to share what I have been working on and felt very supported by the people who came. Many members of the audience were people that I interact with in other settings, and it was a unique experience to get to present to them in a situation where I was the specialist. For example, my teachers present to me for many hours a week on topics that they are passionate about, and it was cool to have those roles reversed.

The majority of the presentation focused on my goals for the project, my research, what I have been doing, and how I got interested in this topic because many of my audience members had limited knowledge of my composting toilet and biogas digester system. It was great getting to present to an audience that was interested in my work. The presentation was a great opportunity to use the skill that I have developed, over the course of the first semester, to talk about my project, which due to the subject can be challenging at times.

I also printed the first prototype of my funnel that I have been CADing. I talked about the engineering design process starting at coming up with my success criteria for the project and the funnel itself. I then showed the first sketches and notes I have from the night I came up with the funnel design. Following that, I displayed my CAD and the evolution of the design. Finally, I allowed people to come up and interact with the funnel and answer questions. I also talked about the technology I used to create the funnel, such as dissolvable filament. It was great getting to answer questions one-on-one after the larger group Q&A. Overall, the presentation was a great way to end the first semester of my project.