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EAHS students named finalists in prestigious MIT Inspire Contest

Mar 20th, 2017 | By | Category: Front Page, News


March 20, 2017- Elizabethtown Area High School senior Kathryn Shenk and sophomore Nathaniel McCloud were named finalists in the MIT INSPIRE program, a national high school research competition in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Shenk and McCloud will now vie for one of the top prizes in their respective categories in April where only the top 100 finalists are invited.

The MIT INSPIRE competition draws high school students from across America to present their original research in one of thirteen disciplines. Categories include anthropology, comparative media studies; art and architecture; cultural studies; economics; history; linguistics; philosophy; political science; music research; science, technology, and society; and women’s and gender studies.

Judges include MIT faculty members and alumni, doctoral students, and professionals working in the different disciplines. Students are evaluated on the clarity and implications to the field of study; originality and creativity; analytical depth of their research; and presentation skills. Student thesis papers must be at least ten pages of content that showcases original research in the chosen field. This year, each category received between 60 and 100 submissions, and, from those numbers, the judges select a series of finalists and up to 2 alternates per category.

Shenk was named a finalist in the cultural studies category. Her thesis paper was titled “A Challenging Pride: The Merits of Constructive Patriotism in 21st Century America.” Her work examined both the benefits and the consequences of multiple types of patriotism in an attempt to address the question: “Should we aspire to be patriotic citizens?”

McCloud was named a finalist in the political science category. His paper focused on the replacement justice system that takes shape as a market of competing courts and defense agencies based upon the Non Aggression principle.

Shenk is the daughter of Chad and Christina Shenk of Elizabethtown. McCloud is the son of Jeffrey and Elizabeth McCloud of Elizabethtown.


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