Projects by year
View our 2018-19 AAR Student Presentation projects that were featured at our annual Celebratory Showcase by discipline: Business, Humanities, Social Science, and STEM.
How Sex Hormones' Effect on Skin Bacteria Reflects the Gender Bias of the Occurrence of Eczema
By Chloe L.
Eczema is a common skin disease that is caused by skin barrier defects and environmental triggers. Females are more prone to the disease than males. This study will examine how hormones affect the gender bias in eczema.
Effects of Stereotyping in Type Casting on the Careers of Racial Minority Actors
By Sarthak P.
While films, television shows, and theatrical productions are popular sources of entertainment, audiences often do not realize what is happening behind the scenes. Racial discrimination in the workplace is something that society has been dealing with for generations. The Film and Theatre industries are no exception to this; historically, Asian and Asian American actors have been offered... Read More
Identifying Effective Sensor and Algorithm Pairs for Obstacle Avoidance in Self-Driving Cars
By Kevin B.
For my project, i will be testing 3 different sensors. 2 of these sensors are currently used in self-driving technology; however, the third sensor--a heat sensor--will be used as well. I will be coding the algorithm and testing the different sensor and algorithm pairs in an obstacle course. I will be observing the time it takes in order to complete the course and also to see how many obstacles... Read More
Effectiveness of Music about Police Brutality in the Black Lives Matter Movement
By Jordan P.
My research focuses on seeing whether music is effective tool in educating people regarding racism and police brutality. After gaining insight into this issue, they can share their knowledge with others. My hope is that this project creates more awareness about the issue.
Comparing the Affordability of Patented and Brand-Name Prescription Drugs for the Average Citizen in Thailand vs. the U.S.
By Julia C.
Accessibility to healthcare and medication is an ongoing problem. This issue impacts developing countries in particular, as their standards of living may not be as high as in more industrialized countries such as the United States. I will be researching the affordability and accessibility of brand-name prescription drugs within Thailand, in order to study some of the possible similarities and... Read More
Identifying an Effective Semantic Segmentation Algorithm for Deforestation Analysis
By Renee S.
The purpose of this project is to implement a method for analyzing changes in land cover due to deforestation in the United States. Previously, the USDA used decision-tree classification in semantic segmentation (i.e., labelling of each pixel in an image with a category label) to assess land cover change. However, deep learning has recently become popular, and it has yet to be applied... Read More
Using a Neural Network to Predict Social Media Reactions to the Aesthetic Qualities of an Image
By Ramsey B
The goal of this project is to build a computational model to predict how many “likes” images will get from users of social media. The model will be trained and tested for accuracy by using data sourced from social networks. This data may be collected automatically with a computer program. This work is intended to help content creators improve their products.
Applications of AI in the Medical Field
By Elliott K
As artificial intelligence is used more and more, people are starting to explore how AI can be used on the medical field. However, AI still makes errors, which means that we must improve AI and tailor its application so that it can be as effective as possible. If used effectively, this can help improve the accuracy and efficiency of diagnosis and other processes, drastically improving medical... Read More
Using Virtual Reality to Foster Empathy
By Anshika A.
In this project, I will develop a virtual reality simulation about pressing global issues. I will test my simulation by surveying participants about how watching the simulation could have changed their perspectives about the issues presented. The goal of my project is to increase awareness about important topics in our society and foster empathy for those impacted.
The Effect of Culturally Responsive Therapists for Minority Students
By Noor N
The focus of this project is to identify if minority students in Palo Alto High School would feel better supported in their mental health seeking services if they were treated by a professional who is trained to be culturally responsive or who shares a culture or identity with the student. The aim of this project is to see if this relationship will make more minority students comfortable with... Read More
Analysis of Developing Countries in Southeast Asia
By Christine T.
Today, almost 3 billion people live in a society whose economy is hindered by wide-ranging factors and encourages widespread poverty, low education levels, and corruption. Though there is a wealth of analytical literature on the topic of developing economics, studying a specific region that contains a diverse subset of economic situations allows one to compare and contrast factors and methods... Read More
Reducing Terrorist Upbringing by Analyzing the Psychological Backgrounds of Terrorists in the Middle East
By Will W.
“The conversion of socialized people into dedicated combatants is not achieved by altering their personality structures, aggressive drives, or moral standards. Rather, it is accomplished by cognitively restructuring the moral value of killings, so that the killing can be done free from self-censuring restraints” (Bandura, 1990). This research project will investigate different backgrounds that... Read More
4ai: an Accessibilty Nonprofit
By Ashley P. and Cathy H.
15% of the Earth's population, or one billion people worldwide, have a disability. Despite such a vast community, people with disabilities face discrimination, including in the workplace due to employment bias. Furthermore, artificial intelligence is a field that rarely employs people with disabilities. This is why we decided to found 4ai. 4ai is a startup, annotating nonprofit based in Palo... Read More
How a Photovoltaic (PV) System is Planned and Funded, and the Impact of PV on the Local Community
By Juan A.
This research is focusing on the dispute between the Palo Alto Unified School District and the Palo Alto community over the installation of solar panels. The panels were installed without advising the people first, which led to a conflict. Now, there is a heated debate over whether or not installing the solar panels was a good move, and my research seeks to provide evaluation of the aftermath... Read More
How a Systematic Process of Collecting and Presenting Evidence in Court Can Be Installed in the United States to Increase the Reliability of Forensic Science
By Anna T.
“Forensic Science is the application of scientific principles and techniques to matters of criminal justice especially as relating to the collection, examination, and analysis of physical evidence” (Webster, 2018). Across the United States, forensic science plays a critical role in how criminal cases are both investigated and decided. One major issue is that there have been flaws in how... Read More
How Changes in Gene Expression Affect Phenotypes and Clinical Outcomes for Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma
By Janet L.
Cancer is a disease caused by the uncontrolled division of cells in a part of the body. In general, cancers arise as a result of DNA changes in the genomes of cancer cells. Genes encode proteins, and proteins then dictate cell function. The genes that are “expressed,” or turned on, in a particular cell determine what that cell can do. As a result, one possible cause of head and neck cancer, a... Read More
How Stealth Aircraft Can Reduce the Cross-Section of Sensor Fusion
By Jamisen M
I am building my own sensor fusion comprised of ultrasonic, sonar, and infrared sensors. Afterward, I will build my own stealth aircraft from scratch and tweak the structure to test methods for helping the aircraft evade detection by the sensor fusion. Aerodynamics, engine emission, and skin coating will be the three main factors I will be testing.
Testing for a Link between Bacteriophages/Gut Bacteria and Parkinson's Disease
By Wendy X and Christine Z
The recent discovery that bacteriophages may influence the development of Parkinson's disease sparked our interest in a less explored area. We investigated the relationship between bacteriophages and Parkinson's disease by interviewing researchers and professors, analyzing literature, and conducting an experiment studying the abundance of specific bacteriophages in varied environments. We hope... Read More
Dioxin and Immunosuppression
By Isabella Y.
Dioxin is a dangerous environmental toxin that is a byproduct of chemical manufacturing processes. Notoriously known as a component of Agent Orange, an herbicide used to clear out trees during the Vietnam War, this chemical has been found to cause health defects in Vietnam War veterans and Vietnamese civilians even to this day. I am researching how dioxin suppresses the immune system and what... Read More
Does Artificial Intelligence Improve Perfect Knowledge Games Like Chess, Specifically Checkers?
By Kavi G.
AI permeates all fields. Even in games like Go, success has been achieved with AI defeating humans. However, there is still need to find a code for a "perfect information" game like checkers. I will conduct an experiment by by incorporating different codes to the game to see if any performs well in the game of checkers. The main code being used is AGZ, the parent code of which defeated the Go... Read More
Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Neurodegenerative Diseases Associated with Mutant Tau
By Miranda Y.
Alzheimer's disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, but currently, there is no cure (Alzheimer’s Association). To treat Alzheimer's disease, we must first fully understand the molecular mechanisms behind it and the pathological roles of the tau protein that classify diseases such as Alzheimer's disease as tauopathies. The tau protein has the normal role of attaching to... Read More
Correcting Yoga Poses through Pose Estimation
By Ziyue W.
Yoga is a common exercise people do to improve their physical strength and become aware of their own nature. I plan to build a classifier to identify whether or not a yoga pose is correct using pose estimation. I plan to implement this practice through a mobile app.
Effectiveness of the Voluntary Transfer Program
By Ben B.
Margaret Tinsley and other parents of the Ravenswood School District filed a petition to combat the disparity in the quality of education between their school district and surrounding districts. A program was created in 1986 as part of the Settlement Order in San Mateo County Court. 30 years later, researchers and some local residents believe this program to be largely ineffective. My research... Read More
Why Digital Wallets Are Less Popular in the U.S. than in China
By Audrey C.
Digital wallets are skyrocketing in popularity in China. They are becoming the most-adopted payment method in China. Some of the key drivers of this success include advertising, promotional sales, and gamifying contents through cultural holidays, but the approaches used in China might not be as effective in driving popularity of digital wallets in the United States. It is important to study... Read More
How Social Factors, Such as Discrimination and Racial Profiling, Affect the Achievement Gap in Majority White Schools
By Sarah M
In PAUSD, 85% of white students are meeting the standards for English and Math, while only 45% of African Americans are meeting the English standards and 35% are meeting the standard for Math (Kolar, 2017); one of many examples of the achievement gap in the district. Social dynamics between races are one cause of this achievement gap; these race-based social stressors, such as stereotype... Read More
How Tobacco and Vaping Advertisements Target Young Adults in Low Socioeconomic Communities
By Hanna C.
Advertising is created to motivate consumers to buy a particular product (The Future of the children, 2006). This research will investigate the problem of tobacco and vaping advertisements that are targeting young adults in low-income communities. I will be looking for different forms of advertisements and distinct components that specifically target young adults, especially in low... Read More
How Media Impacts the Opinions of Palo Alto High School Students Regarding the NFL Protests
By Will R.
The purpose of the NFL protests, according to Colin Kaepernick, is to spread awareness of social injustices against African Americans. When the media began writing stories and producing segments on the issue, biases formed within different news sources, thereby influencing the people reading or viewing the information. When news sources cover stories involving a social justice component, such... Read More
The Effect of Marginal Income Tax Rates on the GDP of the U.S. from 1997 to 2017
By William X
Taxes fund many vital services and infrastructure, such as education and roads. The question is how much tax can be raised without sacrificing growth--or taxes will even cause a loss of growth at all. This project looks at the impact of these taxes on a good measure of the economy, the GDP.
Determining the Best Post-Graduation Options for High School Students Using Self-Interest Inventories and Research
By Brandon P
There is a problem with the perception of post-high school options despite the fact that many other nations encourage their students to “follow their own pathway,” which includes trade school. This problem negatively affects American high school students because the message is that “no child should be left behind” and thus every student should be ready to attend a 4-year college. However, this... Read More
The Impact of Social Media on Mental Health
By Nura M.
Social media has made its way into nearly every aspect of the livelihoods of adolescents. From influencing behaviors to serving as a platform to socialize, it has its share of positive and negative effects, and when it comes to the mental health of younger users, the negative aspects of social media manifest itself. The American Academy of Pediatrics released a clinical report surrounding the... Read More
Harnessing the Power of the Ocean: Designing a Portable and Efficient Wave Energy Converter Prototype
By Isabel S
I will design and build a prototype of a device that generates electricity using the power of ocean waves. It will be efficient and portable so that it can be easily be used by people who have been affected by natural disasters or do not have access to electricity. My prototype will involve a coil and a magnet that induces a current as it shakes.
Possible Effects of Complete Trade Isolation between the U.S. and China on the U.S. Economy
By Lexy J
I am studying the effects that trade war with China has on the United States, particularly our economic standing. Research of current events will be used to extrapolate likely outcomes. Maintaining an unbiased stance in collecting U.S. trade data is challenging, since the U.S. is so politically polarized, so I will draw equally from "conservative" and "liberal" sources.
An Empirical Approach to the Measurement Problem of Quantum Mechanics
By Quinn M.
I am exploring measurement collapse, where a particle tends to instantaneously fall into a definite state only after being observed by a measuring device or conscious being. Since the 1920s, many interpretations on how to explain how and why this behavior occurs have been presented. However, the quantum mechanics community has not been able to determine which interpretation is most accurate.... Read More
Cross-Comparison of Thraco-Pelasgian with Lycian
By Aosheng P.
I will research etymological, religious and cultural links between Thraco-Pelasgian with Lycian, a cadet language of Linear A, as a means to classify both languages. This has implications on the classification of Linear A.
How 4D Printing, Smart Materials, and Self-Assembly Can Be Implemented Together to Protect Humans in Hostile Situations While in Space
By Kaushik S.
The aim of this project is to figure out if there is any overlap between three fields of nanotechnology: 4D printing, self-assembly, and smart materials. 4D printing is the process of 3D printing objects that change shape as the conditions of the object's environment are changed. Self-assembly is the process of engineering conditions so that certain organic molecules come together to form... Read More
Relationships between Sleep Patterns in Introversion/Extroversion
By Ananya K.
I will conduct a survey using verified tools to determine whether a person expresses morningness or eveningness. In simple terms, one who expresses morningness tends to work better in the morning, and one who expresses eveningness tends to work better in the evening. I will use this in conjunction with another tool to determine whether a person is an introvert or extrovert. These two sets of... Read More
Social Support and SELF Ambassadors
By Madeline L.
My study will analyze perceived social support in SELF ambassadors. Information will be collected on feelings of being supported by SELF mentors as well as feelings of being a support to mentors and students in the cohort. In addition, my study will analyze factors that influence this sense of perceived social support.
Is America a Real Democracy or is the Political System Expolited by Money?
By Zihao F.
There is a problem with a lack of political representation for the bottom 80% of the U.S. population, despite the fact that the United States considers itself a democratic society. Since Presidents continue to be elected through the Electoral College and not the popular vote, society is negatively affected because “middle America” does not believe that their needs and voices are heard. A... Read More
RNA Folding with CoFold
By Edward T.
My project involves simulating RNA cotranscriptional folding to find certain conditions that allow folding into specific shapes. These shapes can be used to create nanoscale devices such as motors or logic gates. They have implications in the industrial and medical fields, such as for manufacturing or drug delivery.
Impacts of Social Media on Political Polarization in People Ages 18-30
By Vinay R.
My project will be about political polarization. I want to see if political polarization exists in a certain age group. The aim of this research is to tie the psychological aspects of polarization and social media together. Previous studies have looked at these elements separately, but I want to tie social media, polarization, and the psychology of both to understand if and why polarization... Read More
How People from Low Socioeconomic Backgrounds Experience Barriers to Entry for a Youth Soccer Club
By Kenzo M.
With a sport as popular as soccer, it is crucial that “the beautiful game” is accessible to all, no matter one’s economic status. Soccer is a global phenomenon, but the “pay to play” system has shifted the dynamics of the sport in the U.S., so that youth soccer is now focused on generating profits from this “business” even as these payments bar many kinds from being able to participate. This... Read More
How the Grieving Process Differs for Children Who Have Lost Parents vs. Parents Who Have Lost Children
By Mahati S.
Death is inevitable, and along with it, so is grief. The process of grieving encompasses a large range of emotions. The experience is different for everybody and continues to change as we age. Multiple studies have found that the grieving process is significantly different in adults than in children, for a variety of reasons. However, many of the authors did not study the adults' experiences... Read More
Portrayal of Characters in TV with Invisible Disabilities and the Effect of These Performances on Neurologically Atypical Viewers
By Patille P.
My research project is about understanding how the media, specifically the TV industry, portrays people with "invisible disabilities," which are defined as physical, mental, or neurological conditions that limit a person’s movements, senses, or activities but is invisible to a casual observer. I want to understand how the actors' performance of these roles affects the audience, and if it is a... Read More
Basics of Acoustics
By Linda L.
This research introduces the relationship and the ratio between sound frequency and pitch. By providing information and conclusion from articles written by experts in the field, this research also investigates why the ratio between sound frequency and pitch is inconsistent, as well as the psychological influences that affect how human beings hear certain high-frequency sound.
How Legislation Aimed at the LGBT Community Impacts the Frequency and Nature of Hate Crimes in the U.S.
By Megan G.
Anti-LGBT hate crimes have become increasingly common in the past few years. Some research has been done on the demographics of people who are most impacted and on reporting discrepancies that underrepresent the frequency of hate crimes; however, very little research has been done to explore the leading causes for the increase, including whether anti-LGBT legislation plays a role in hate... Read More
National Anthem Protests and the Effectiveness of the 2018 Nike Campaign in Raising Awareness about Racial Bias
By Bakari S.
During the past couple of seasons, the NFL has gone through much controversy regarding Colin Kaepernick and other players kneeling during the national anthem. He sat during the national anthem because he isn't "going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” After 2 years of being out of the NFL, Nike chose Colin Kaepernick for their... Read More
Analyzing Different Prime Factorization Algorithms
By Andrew C.
In this project, I am researching and analyzing different prime factorization algorithms. After making a list of different algorithms, I will figure out the time complexity. Then, I will code the algorithm and retrieve real running time on variously sized input data sets. After collecting my data, I will compare each algorithm and extrapolate the existence of "fast" factorization algorithm.... Read More
Preventing Pedestrian-Involved Automobile Accidents Using Inexpensive Portable Warning Systems (PWS) Leveraging Technology Advancements in Sensors and Machine Learning Software
By Akul D.
Automobile accidents are an ongoing epidemic in the United States. Pedestrian death rates and total automobile-related death rates have increased in recent years. Autonomous cars are the most anticipated solution to this problem; however, it will take a long time until all vehicles on the street are autonomous. I propose a secondary solution: to build a portable warning system (PWS) for... Read More
Socioeconomic Impact of California Wild Fires and the Importance of Community Engagement in Land Management
By Otto B
Living in California, we all know what fire season means: lots of smoke and many homes lost. My goal is to determine if there is a correlation between income level and the impact of the wildfire, and to use that information to determine the role of community engagement.
Perceptions of Undocumented Immigrants from Latin America by Bay Area Residents
By Cade R.
Undocumented immigration from Latin America is a very politicized topic. With an estimated 240,000 undocumented immigrants living in the Bay Area, the issue of discrimination needs to be solved. I will record the perceptions of undocumented immigrants by Bay Area residents through a survey, then analyze the responses to determine the best ways to influence these perceptions through social... Read More
Effectiveness of Safety Technology on Military Aviation over the Past 100 Years: How Technologically Driven Reductions in Pilot Error Reduce the Number of Incidents
By Oscar L.
Pilot training is intense, especially for those who participate in the military, which is why there are so many ranks. Military pilots are officers, which is the highest rank. The second highest is a warrant officer, with a non-commander officer third. All military officers have a four-year college degree, except for army pilots, who can obtain a license by becoming warrant officers. Despite... Read More
Self-Folding Robots: How They Work and What Applications They Have
By Allison Y.
I am researching what self-folding robots are being used for and how they work. I am also making my own model of a self-folding robot using cheap and easily accessible materials that can be found in many local and online stores. My goal is to understand the mechanics of these robots and ultimately how they will be applied in science and everyday life.
By Nina C.
Clothing waste seems to be an increasing problem. With new and very successful business tactics deployed by the fashion industry, more and more clothing is being created and thrown away. I will be looking into the process that clothing goes through to be created and discarded, then identify possible solutions to the problem.
How the Los Angeles Police Department Can Effectively Discern Racially Motivated Police Misconduct from a Justified Action
By Esme S
The Los Angeles Police Department has a long history of racism, leading to racially motivated police misconduct. This racially motivated police misconduct is still happening today, but there are also police officers whose actions are justified. The goal of this project is to identify a way to discern racially motivated police misconduct within the Los Angeles Police Department from justified... Read More
How Watching Anime Impacts Thought Processes
By Robin D.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a disability that hinders a person's ability to socialize effectively with others. From my own experience growing up with autism, I've only been able to sympathize with characters in books, TV, and films, such as manga and anime, due to the scenery, plot, and characterization. Autistic minds gravitate toward image-rich media such as manga and anime, and they... Read More
Mitigation of Plate Waste at Gunn
By Quentin S.
Plate waste, in a generalized sense, is made up of the remnants of a meal thrown away, and is a specific classification of food waste, which can be defined by any food lost throughout the consumer chain. Plate waste is ubiquitous in nature and nearly impossible to eliminate, but when appropriate measures are taken, previous studies have shown that it is possible to minimize the loss. This... Read More
The Impact of Interpersonal Relations on Teacher Turnover
By Bridget L.
This project aims to explore the social justice issue of teacher turnover, which contributes to inequity in education by disproportionately affecting minority and low-income students. This project will examine how teachers' relationships with administration, colleagues (other teachers), and students relate to their turnover potential. Specifically, this project will examine whether there is a... Read More
Water Bottling in Arrowhead Springs
By K.C. F.
Nestle has been bottling tens of millions of gallons of water every year since the 1980s, without a permit, in drought-stricken southern California. They are skating by with only having to pay a $624 fine for lack of permit, which is close to nothing compared to the value of the 62.5 million gallons of water they receive in return. I am interested in collecting the public opinion of the local... Read More
Differences between American and European Ideas of a "Gap Year"
By Charlie W
Do Americans and Europeans have drastically different ideas about the idea of a "gap year" between high school and college? Why is it so much more popular in the rest of the West than it is in America? Is the American opinion changing?
Water Filtration and Purification
By Richard L. & Caroline L.
This summer, while visiting a poor village in rural China, we saw the severe problems that a lack of clean drinking water created for the villagers who lived there. These problems include a variety of waterborne diseases that may greatly harm work productivity. We are working on bringing accessible, clean drinking water to the village through designing and implementing a water filtration... Read More
Impacts of Zero Tolerance Policies in Education on Minorities and Students of Color
By Shriya R.
My research project examines how zero tolerance policies in education disproportionately affect minorities and students of color. Zero-tolerance policies in education are the policies that allow for suspension and expulsion. These policies are called "zero tolerance" because the schools immediately move to high-stakes punishment for violations of certain rules and do not allow for leniency... Read More