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BUA Graduates its 30th Class

On Monday, May 20, 2024, Boston University Academy hosted its 30th commencement exercise at BU’s Tsai Performance Center. The BUA Class of 2024 crossed the stage to receive their diplomas from Head of School Chris Kolovos and Associate Head of School Rosemary White. Ibukun Owolabi '24 and Anais Kim '24 delivered the student addresses; Olga Meserman '24 and Elizabeth Brown '24 recited the Classics orations in Latin and Greek, respectively. Following the ceremony, graduates and their families celebrated with a reception on BU Beach.

Boston University President ad interim Kenneth W. Freeman delivered this year's commencement keynote address. President Freeman drew on his 40-year career in business to impart some life lessons to our graduates, remarking: "I have three messages for you. If you adopt them as part of your toolkit, you'll make a difference in the world; you'll enjoy your life personally and professionally; and you can do so with a smile." These messages are: just say "Yes!"; arrogance kills; and the power of "thank you."

The full video of BUA’s 29th Commencement ceremony, including President Freeman's remarks, is available here. The complete photo gallery from Commencement 2024 is available here.

The members of the BUA Class of 2023 will attend the following institutions next fall:

American University
Bates College
Boston University (13)
Brandeis University
Brown University
Bryn Mawr College
Bucknell University
Carleton College
University of California, Los Angeles
University of Chicago
Claremont McKenna College
Colby College
Columbia University
Dartmouth College
Dickinson College
Emmanuel College
Emory University
Georgetown University
University of Massachusetts-Amherst (3)
University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
McGill University
New York University (3)
Northeastern University (4)
Northwestern University (2)
University of Rochester (2)
Sarah Lawrence College (2)
Swarthmore College
University of Toronto
Trinity College Dublin
Yale University

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BUA Hosts First Annual Senior Thesis Symposium

This year, BUA introduced a new forum to showcase the high-level research of our seniors. On May 13, 2024, BUA hosted its first annual Senior Thesis Symposium. The 53 members of the senior class presented their work at a poster session in the GSU’s Metcalf Hall, followed by individual thesis presentations. The topics ranged from CRISPR to cowboys, Euripides to the universe, fashion to existential philosophy, white roofs to Elie Wiesel. The Symposium offered a stage on which to celebrate our seniors and their remarkable thesis research, the academic culmination of their BUA experience: identifying a question worth exploring, seeking out mentorship, researching deeply, applying a critical analytical lens, communicating conclusions to a non-expert audience, and fielding questions. Read the complete list of 2024 Senior Thesis titles below – and prepare to be amazed!

 

 

Class of 2024 Senior Thesis Titles

The History and Ethics of CRISPR

The Ethical Dilemma of Busing in Massachusetts: Interrogating The Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity

Heterosexual Relationships and Existential Freedom

German Romanticism: Music and Poetry

Green Capitalism or Eco-Socialism? Debating Economic Systems and Solutions for Climate Change in the Transportation Sector and Beyond

A Statistical Analysis of the Value of a Stolen BaseForging a Future for Taiwan and its Independence

CRISPR Activation for SynGAP Upregulation in Haploinsufficient Mice

Neuroregenerative Applications of STEM Cell-Loaded Extracellular Vesicles in Biocompatible Hydrogels: Insights from Nonhuman Primate Mode

Cowboys, Reality, Reputation, and Replica

Representations of Urbanization in 19th Century American Art

My Alcestis: Translating Euripides for a Modern Audience

Analysis of experimental data to identify axion-like dark matter spectral signatures

An Analysis of Eastern and Western Foreign Investment with a Focus on the Balkans; The Stall and the Lack of Transparency of the Modern European Union

Patient Sex Drives Differential Transcriptional Regulation in Pancreatic Cancer

Investigating HIV Defective Viruses through CRISPR-Cas9 and Self Inactivating Vectors

Summertime Impact of White Roofs on Building Energy Balance and Air Conditioning Flux

Social Media and Indigenous Language Revitalization 

Molecular gastronomy in the everyday kitchen

Suspiria: Female Bodies and Horror Cinema

The Use of Formal Versus Informal Pronouns In Standard German

Fostering Success for Minority-Owned Businesses

I Buy, Therefore I Am: How Existentialist Philosophies Have Influenced the Modern Marketplace

Modeling the Impacts of Climate Change on Tuberculosis

Dynamics of the PVC Flooring Market: A Comprehensive Analysis of American Sectors

Asian American Silence: Appealing to Whiteness

The Effects of Sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 Inhibitors on Rat Cardiomyocytes

Rethinking the American Dream

Utilizing Machine Learning Methods in Genome Scale Stoichiometric Models of P. simiae with COMETS

Validation of pPDH as a marker for inhibition of serotonergic neurons

Looking Up: Shifting Views in Observational Cosmology from the Classics to the Contemporary Period

Activation of the Complement System in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

The Effect of Fetal and Neonatal Environmental Exposures on Developmental and Degenerative Neurological Disorders

Characterizing Recruitment of CBP Binding Domains

Using Stellar Remnants to Understand How Often Massive Stars Form Planets

Cryopreservation Practices for Mesenchymal Stem Cells and Potential Effects During CpG Stimulation 

Fashion Collection: Resilient Life

Race is a Roadblock, Even in Sports Journalism

A Case Study Analysis of Restorative Justice in Schools

Visual Representations of the Effect of Media on Teenagers’ Mental Health and Well-being

Visualizing Amyloid Fibrils: A Computational Chemistry Study

Developing and Applying an Inclusive Polygenic Risk Score to Alzheimer’s Related Traits

A Philosophical Approach on Realism: An International Relations Story

Nikhil Rich: “Playing Out:” Harmonic Freedom in Jazz Fusion Improvisation

A Brief Introduction to System Dynamics

Understanding Economics through Music Sentiment

Before the Boston Busing Crisis of 1974: Voices from the Freedom Schools

Predicting Oral Drug Elimination Half-life In Humans Using Regression Models

Drugs, Cults, and the Patriarchy: artistic and cultural understanding of the Maenads in late 5th-Century Athens Art

Modeling Rhizobacterial Colonization of Plant Roots in COMETS

Millcaster State

Improving vaccine uptake through machine learning: training and validation of a prediction model for seasonal influenza vaccine uptake

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Lobstah Bots Robotics Team Nets Honors at New England District Championships

BUA's robotics team, the Lobstah Bots, participated in the FIRST Robotics New England District Championships in Springfield, MA in early April 2024. Although the team fell short of qualifying for the world championships, it performed at a high level on the field: on the final day of competition, the Lobstah Bots won the FIRST Innovation in Control Award, which is given to a robot with an “innovative and unique” control scheme that is “integrated with the machine, human players, and strategy” in both concept and execution. Its practical and sleek mechanical design, paired with impressive auto-align and LED signaling in software, made the team's robot -- dubbed "The Woodpecker" -- stand out from the crowd.

This has been one of the team's most competitive and successful seasons in its history. In February, the Lobstah Bots were invited to present their work and robot at the International Society for Laboratory and Automation Screening Conference (SLAS 2024), held at the Boston Convention Center. The team showed off their robots to attendees, explored the exhibit hall, and learned a lot about biology and lab automation automation along the way. The event served as a great opportunity for the team to network with companies and see what robotics can look like in a professional industry. 

Over March break, the Lobstah Bots competed in two district competitions. At their first competition, they clawed their way to 4th place out of 36 teams after the qualifying matches, and captained the 4th-seed team in the playoffs. The team also earned the Quality Award for the construction and design of their robot. At their second competition, the team was the 1st pick of the 5th-seed team for playoffs, and won the Judge’s Award for their branding and robot design. As one judge noted, "This team is so well rounded you’d think they're on a roll. In the last few years they’ve made a 'splash' in terms of branding, recognition, and robot design. Their robot may be small, but they’re mighty in a pinch.” Drive team member Kendree Chen '25 was named a FIRST Robotics Dean’s List District Championship Semi-Finalist. The Dean's List award is presented to just 10 students in the entire league for their leadership, contributions to their team, technical expertise, and passion for robotics.

Thanks to the tireless leadership of team captain George Baltus '24; the mentorship of Veronica Hui from BU's College of Engineering; and the cheerful and unwavering support of faculty advisor Marie-Claire Guidoux, the Lobstah Bots built a supportive, passionate, hardworking culture that took the team far. As captain George Baltus said, “While I’m sad to graduate and leave the team this year, I couldn’t choose a better group of people to continue leading it into the future!”

Congratulations to the entire Lobstah Bots team on a claw-some season! 

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  • The Lobstah Bots drive team – George Baltus '24, Kendree Chen '25, Veronica Hui (mentor), Maxwell Yu '25, and Sharon Xiong '27 (not pictured) – bringing the robot onto the field.

  • Maxwell Yu '25 and George Baltus '24 shooting a note into the speaker during a match.

  • The Lobstah Bots pose after winning the Innovation in Control Award

  • A claw-some team photo!

  • Daniel David '27, Audrey Chuang '27, George Baltus '24, Luke Chang '25, Maxwell Yu '25, and Kendree Chen '25 working on the robot in between matches.

  • Students and mentors pose for a photo after winning the Quality Award.

  • The robot picking up a note from the source station before returning to score.

  • Drive team members George Baltus '24, Sharon Xiong '27, Kendree Chen '25, Veronica Hui (mentor), and Maxwell Yu '25 at the Greater Boston competition.

  • The Lobstah Bots posing for some photos at the SLAS 2024 conference in the Boston Convention Center.

 

 

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An Admissions Thank You

April 12th, 2024in HOS Blog

We are wrapping our admissions season – and what a season it was. We received more applications than ever in the school’s history. We were more selective than we’ve ever been. We are fully enrolled for the fall. We extended financial aid funding to every student we felt should be here, again maintaining no financial aid waitlist – a testament to our values and a product of the philanthropic generosity of our community. Most importantly, in the fall we will welcome an extraordinarily talented, kind, curious, diverse group of new students. I can’t wait for you to meet them!

I’m writing to thank all of you who played a role in this year’s admission season. It is the work of many hands. Thank you to the dozens of BUA alumni who conducted admissions interviews and participated in panels. Thank you to our parents who shared their experiences at events, reached out individually to prospective families, and spread the good word about BUA in their communities. Thank you to our extraordinary student tour guides, panelists, and revisit-day hosts for showing our applicants and their families who we are. Thank you to our faculty and staff for welcoming admitted students into their classrooms, offering master classes online, and following up with applicants with a passion in a particular area. And thanks to the members of our admissions team, whose personal approach, warmth, and professionalism really set us apart. They – and all of you – are a key part of how we perpetuate this culture we are so proud of. Thank you.

Getting Down to Work

April 5th, 2024in HOS Blog

Last Sunday, many of our families celebrated Easter, with others set to celebrate in early May according to the Orthodox calendar. I wish you all a happy and blessed Paschal season. I also extend warm wishes to our Muslim families who mark Ramadan this month and Eid next week. Eid Mubarak.

With their teacher away from school attending a national art educator conference, I had the pleasure of covering a first-period painting class this morning. Before class, I sat at the teacher’s desk clicking away at my keyboard, focused too much on clearing my inbox and looking up every few moments to greet students as they settled in. At 8:55, the bell rang to mark the start of class. I closed my laptop screen, stood up, and found ten students seated around the room. They had brushes in hand, paint palettes on trays in front of them, and heads down engrossed in their work – nearly photo realistic oil paintings of fruit. I felt a little bad interrupting them to praise them for their focus and initiative! The experience is not limited to art. I’ve been in similar situations watching students initiate discussions in English class themselves when the teacher had to step out or students in math working on problems up at the board even before the start bell rings.

What’s different about the kids here? Their motivation is intrinsic. They own their learning. I know I speak for all of my colleagues when I say how much of a joy it is to work with these young people and how proud we are of the culture we have built together.

Purpose through Research and Action that Matter

March 29th, 2024in HOS Blog

This week, we heard from two BUA alumni at all-school meetings. Dheekshita Kumar ‘16 spoke about her career as an entrepreneur and the ways her BUA experience set her down that path. She told us about the time when she and her friends published a book of poetry as high schoolers with the support and guidance of their English teacher, who demystified self-publishing. She described the process of envisioning and launching BUA’s middle school model UN tournament (BUAMUN), which has now become an institution. The confidence she gained from her experiences bringing an idea to life at BUA gave her a lifelong I-can-do-that attitude, which has translated into entrepreneurial success at an early age during and after college doing socially meaningful work.

We also heard from Jon Freeman ’04, the recipient of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Jon is a professor and researcher at Columbia University studying social psychology, combining that field with neural imaging to better understand decision-making broadly and implicit bias more specifically. He has also done some important data-gathering work related to LGBTQ+ representation in STEM. He described the BUA roots of his passion for psychology and neuroscience, having had a chance to explore those fields in BU courses as a high schooler. He has found a way in his adult life to take those areas of academic passion and produce insights and data that are changing the way we think about stereotype, bias, and a range of related – sometimes life and death – issues. 

BUA’s strategic vision challenges us to help students “find purpose through research and action that matter.” We know that having a sense of purpose is one of the central components of emotional well being. Purpose is different than passion; it involves finding ways to contribute to something important and bigger than ourselves. I am delighted that we have graduates like Dheekshita and John who model that and inspire today’s BUA students to start on their path to purpose while they are here with us.

Global Trips and the Wall-Less Classroom

March 8th, 2024in HOS Blog

In just a few hours, 50 BUA students, guided by trip leaders from the faculty and staff, will be heading off on three place-based intellectual adventures. One group is off to Istanbul, where they will build on their BUA study of classical history, modern politics and culture, and geometry through Ottoman architecture and ornamentation. Another is off to Paris for a hands-on literary experience, visiting the places that so many of the expat writers from their American Literature course frequented and engaging in daily writing assignments while there. The third group heads to New York City for an art-focused whirlwind – jazz clubs, museums, operas, plays, and more – supplementing the work they do every day in the BUA studio, theater, and music room. These are not sightseeing trips. They are a wall-less version of the BUA classroom. I am grateful to all the faculty and staff members who have worked so hard to create these opportunities and to our students for choosing to learn together in this adventurous way over break. I wish them all wonderful trips!

Asking Good Questions

March 1st, 2024in HOS Blog

Yesterday, our 10th graders took part in a lunch talk with Dr. Ingrid Anderson, the Associate Director of BU’s Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies. Dr. Anderson, who received her doctorate at BU, took many classes with Elie Wiesel when he was a professor here, worked closely with him, and has done a great deal of research and writing focused on Wiesel and his work. The students are in the midst of a unit in their history course exploring the Holocaust and the creation of the State of Israel. They recently read Elie Wiesel’s Night, the famous memoir of Wiesel’s experience at Auschwitz and Buchenwald during the Holocaust, and will be reading Wiesel’s Dawn shortly, a fictional work set in the immediate postwar period. Dr. Anderson shared personal stories about what Wiesel was like as a teacher and mentor, explored his views on morality and politics, described the hundreds of pieces of correspondence he received daily, and celebrated Wiesel’s lifelong advocacy for human rights. How rare and special to get this kind of first-hand view into the life and mind of such an important historical figure.

The talk made a powerful impression on me. So too did the students’ questions. They asked about the line between morality and politics; how Wiesel might react to contemporary events in America and in the Middle East; what his relationship with God was like and how it changed as he went through life; how he squared the horrors he had experienced with his faith; his connection with the Book of Job; and more. The ability to ask good questions is a critical skill, particularly now – in an era where misinformation and disinformation are rampant, social media feeds and news outlets cater to our points of view, and society and politics push us into ideological silos. BUA’s curriculum has always had critical thinking – and questioning – at its core. It was inspiring to see that in action.

The Beauty of Many Hats

February 22nd, 2024in HOS Blog

What an exciting week here at BUA! Last Friday, the Jazz Band and Swamp Cats entertained students, faculty, staff, parents, and even grandparents for our Valentine’s Cabaret. The dance floor was quite a scene. Yesterday, both the boys and girls varsity basketball teams won their league championships in close games in front of a lively home crowd. In the girls game, senior Anais Kim reached a rare milestone – scoring 1,000 points – which is even more impressive given that she did so in just three years (COVID canceled her 9th-grade season). Tonight, we will celebrate the Lunar New Year in that same gym. Students from the East Asian Students Association, along with dozens of parents, have organized food, music, and games to share this important cultural moment with the whole BUA family. All are welcome, and we hope to see many of you there.

I’m struck by how many of our students are engaged across these activities and more. Students who played in the Cabaret last Friday were also playing in the games last night. Some who were on the court last night will be in the gym tonight organizing Lunar New Year. BUA is a small school. Our vibrancy depends on kids wearing many hats. Rejecting a broader societal push for specialization and balkanization, BUA’s culture rewards trying something new and getting involved. Our community certainly benefits, and I believe our students do too.

Leadership is Learned

February 22nd, 2024in HOS Blog

On Tuesday, Boston University’s interim President, Ken Freeman, spoke at our all-school meeting. President Freeman has a distinguished history of service to BU, including eight years as the Dean of BU’s Questrom School of Business. That service followed a nearly forty-year career in industry, including senior executive positions at Corning, Quest Diagnostics, and private-equity firm KKR. In 2013, Harvard Business Review named him one of the 100 best performing CEOs in the world. He knows some things about leadership – his topic that morning. He offered a lively overview of what we know about successful leadership, peppering his talk with anecdotes and grounding it in decades of scholarship about what works and what doesn’t. He invited students to think about their own preferred leadership styles and challenged them to begin developing their own leadership philosophies. He touted the centrality of EQ. Most notably, he assured our students that leadership is learned. 

Before introducing President Freeman, I shared a brief story on this last theme. After years of teaching, I was thinking about becoming a head of school but was intimidated by the idea. I thought about my role models – my headmaster when I was a boy, heads of school I had worked for, and many others I had come to know and admire over the years. To my mind, they all “had it.” I assumed that their leadership ability was somehow innate – that they had emerged, like Athena from the forehead of Zeus, fully grown, clad in armor, and ready for battle. Did I have it? What if I didn’t? I mentioned my hesitation to a mentor who very quickly set me straight. He assured me, like President Freeman did for our students, that leaders are grown. He offered me a reading list and a series of coaching conversations with him to process what I was reading. He gave me the confidence to try. 

I heard from dozens of BUA students about how much they enjoyed President Freeman’s talk. My hope is that, at least for some of them, his words give them the confidence to try too. We will all be better for it.