Program and Course Introduction
AP Capstone is a cross-curricular, student-centered project-based program that teaches the fundamentals of individual and collaborative research and writing. Students complete two years of rigorous exercises into team-based inquiry and reporting, presentations, and individual inquiry and research methods design and implementation.
Year 2 of the program, AP Research, gives students the absolute freedom to pursue a research topic of their own interests, in the hopes that students will complete meaningful work in a field they plan to pursue in higher education. Students are encouraged to work with industry leaders, community leaders, academic mentors, and the community-at-large in order to implement projects of major significance. Over the course of the year, students read substantial formal literature on their formal topics, design methodology for further inquiry into a research gap, assess the ethicality and efficacy of their methods and results, and report the implications of their findings. Students then defend and reflect upon their year-long process formally as part of the College Board AP Requirements.
Students who complete both years of the program successfully receive a special research certificate, and those who finish both years and successfully pass four other AP courses receive a special diploma--both achievements are shared with students' chosen universities, and may often lead to early research programs, internships, or honors programs in their undergraduate careers.
AP Research Projects, 2019-2020
Below is a list of this year's researchers, as well as abstracts and links to their completed projects. These fantastic individuals deserve recognition and celebration for all of the hard work and dedication to their chosen inquiries.
Further information for each student is included; to see more information about the researcher, click their names for access to curriculum vitae and researcher profiles. Under each is the title of their completed project and the project's abstract. To see the final paper, click the link in the title.
While judicial precedents and legislation protecting against gender discrimination already exist, ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) would enshrine the universal right to gender equality in the United States Constitution, in turn, making the aforementioned stipulations much more difficult to overturn. The residual effects of the ERA opposition’s effective crusade against ratification include politicization of the notion of equality and support for the amendment becoming an increasingly partisan issue. This study serves as inquiry into whether the ERA is a necessary protection or an unnecessary symbolic gesture, as well as a gauge of current youth sentiments regarding the amendment. Analysis was conducted in the form of a case study, with eight students at Mira Costa High School interviewed. The terminology of the ERA was also examined, with participants asked whether their opinion of the amendment would change if the term equality was substituted for equity, in an attempt to address the common criticism that the ERA would prevent laws from differentiating between the sexes. The results ultimately demonstrated widespread unfamiliarity of the ERA among interviewed youth, a discordance in male and female participant appraisals of the state of gender-equality within their community, and evidence of politicization of the ideal of equity.
Biofuels fail to be produced commercially today despite the fact that using them brings various improvements to the environment. A plethora of improvements can be made to the biofuel production process to produce them more efficiently, and what will be studied specifically will be the enzyme hydrolysis step of the biofuel production process. Although biofuels are not speculated to be a main source of fuel to depend on in the future, they still provide significant environmental changes. By conducting lab work on multiple different types of store-bought mushrooms, species that perform better than the cellulases currently being researched will be identified; lab work will include biotechnology techniques such as micropipetting and light spectrophotometry. In addition, methodology includes studying the rate at which the cellulases perform in biological reactions, and comparing their size to a standard. This study analyzes in depth the rates of several store-bought mushrooms’ cellulase enzymes and draws conclusions on whether any of these species will improve the production process. In addition, the environmental impacts of biofuels, oil, and coal will be used to describe the practicalities behind incorporating biofuels into society.
With the last 2D Animated Feature film, “Winnie the Pooh”, being released in 2011, and the absence of 2D Animation from the screen since then, the Animation industry seems to be certain that 2D Animation is Dead. But 2D Animation is still treading along in Asia, and new short films are released frequently in Europe, so how could the medium be dead? Is “Dead” an exaggeration, or does it perfectly describe the situation? Specifically, it is western animation in the United States that seems to be missing from the picture. Through the usage of interviews with animation professionals and surveys of the Animation Community and General Public, and the analysis of recent animated films and advancements in animation software, this paper aims to find a more conclusive stance as to where the future of 2D Animation lies and whether or not the medium is, in fact, dead.
The analysis of Russian history throughout the 17th-20th centuries demonstrates an ideological divergence between Russia and the West. The opposition documented between the two entities implies a long held separation that must be acknowledged in order to allow for further investigation into the Russian-Western division. Slavophilism, a 19th century intellectual movement characterized by the desire for the Russian empire to advance in accordance with Russia’s early history and fundamental principles, was advocated by the Slavophiles who preached this ideology. The 19th century Slavophile ideology serves as a microcosm of Russia’s broader perception of and relationship to the West. It is through the investigation of this ideology that a simplified “philosophy of Slavophile ideology” can be developed in order to summarize Russia’s seemingly ambiguous and complex relationship to the West, in addition to Russia’s perception of its own fundamental principles in relation to the West. Recognizing the ideological divide between Russia and the West, the 19th century Slavophile movement was explored with an overarching goal to devise a “philosophy of Slavophile ideology.” The results of this analysis concluded that the philosophy of Slavophile ideology follows a basic Hegelian rhythm which served as a framework for the Romantic, Slavophile dichotomy of “we” and “they”—and may serve as a philosophy from which to further investigate Russia’s perception of the West, in the same or alternative timeframe. Ultimately, it was nationalism, Romanticism, and German idealistic philosophy that influenced broader Russian ideology to posit itself against the “others”. Such a conclusion implies that Western influence fueled Russian opposition; although Russia’s fundamental aim is to denounce the influence of the West, Western thought paradoxically influenced Russia’s ideological framework of which generally condemns Western principles. However, Russia’s early history serves as the original influence of the Slavophile movement and the “Russian path.”
Following the growth of the cannabinoid (CBD) industry, research explores and culminates distinct patterns between successful CBD businesses. Research includes the longevity of the business, marketing methods, general profit trends, and the parallel between CBD laws. It is expected to find trends between companies that include creative methods of selling and distributing process. The information will be gathered through means of interviews with various owners of CBD businesses as well as literature review on the laws and overall growth of the CBD economy. Hayden Fisher will act as the primary informant on the issue, as a CBD company owner himself, Lokus. Through the research, it was found that the unique qualities that make each business successful vary from each business. Depending on their time of entering the market, the businesses have had different struggles and obstacles to overcome in terms of the law. The current restrictions on businesses that inhibit this growth have lessened as more research has come forward about the product. There still remains to be significant barriers regarding methods of payment and advertising. Through personal stories and trials, companies are often subjected to frequent site closures and suspensions of service. Due to the dynamic nature of this industry, these “shut-downs” create instability and damage to companies reputations and client bases.
This paper explores whether or not the use of animals to test cosmetics is practical for companies. Different ways that products are tested on animals will be discussed, and then the positive and negative impacts that using animal testing has on companies. Following this, the paper will have alternatives to animal testing, along with their respective benefits and downfalls. For data, a survey will be conducted in order to determine whether or not a person’s decision to buy a product is impacted by the means used to test it.
Researchers Diana Cutts, MD, and John Cook, Ph.D., MAEd define food insecurity, by the US Department of Agriculture, as, "lack of consistent access to enough healthy food for an active healthy life,"(Cutts, Cook, 2017). Food Insecurity has been a problem since the beginning of time with the creation of a class system; some can provide for themselves, and those who cannot, which will be sentenced to penury and woe. Reviewing the causes of food insecurity, and the effects on distinct populations, I hope to better understand how this problem originates in certain areas, amongst certain groups, and therefore how to prevent a perceived guaranteed outcome. I divided my research into different segments. This enabled me to review different demographics that are affected, granularly, by analyzing prior research and conducting comprehensive focused interviews with executives of large regional food banks in my community. With segmenting the topics I was able to construct a pathway to analyze and predict food insecurity patterns while looking at ways to solve the issue. At the beginning of my research, I had perceived food insecurity affects only those considered to be a part of the homeless population, however, the reality of this problem is its reach and depth into communities. Food insecurity is found in low-income families and individuals, college students in our community of Los Angeles and the UC systems, and the homeless population. Through the research conducted, food insecurity is a problem that has many layers and continues to affect the world population to this day.
In the United States, 25 states offer extended foster care services up to age 21. In the 25 states that do not offer extended foster care, foster youth are often released without a high school diploma or GED. Eighty percent of them have significant mental health issues as a result of frequently changing situations, broken family relationships, and inconsistent access to mental health services and trauma. Therefore, many require expensive medication to help them operate in their daily lives, but without a high school diploma or GED, are unable to receive a job with benefits and health insurance that would allow them access to doctors and medication. This could make them vulnerable to using illegal narcotics and abusing prescription drugs, which could lead to other problems like losing their jobs, homelessness, and incarceration. This study will be examining the effectiveness of the extended foster care policy as a means of adequately preparing foster youth to live successfully as independent adults. Specifically, I will be examining the job record, voting preferences, and community involvement of former foster youth as the parameters of success. Due to the fact that the extended care policy has only been in place since 2008, it is too early to examine the outcomes of the children of foster youth who stayed in the system until age 21. I will take into account the amount of time that each person spent in the foster care system, as that will determine the effectiveness of staying in the system for an extra 3 years. Projected findings should include higher rates of success for youth who stay in the system until age 21.
In this research paper, I intend to explore the nature of clemency and how it differs when used by various presidents in different time periods. The purpose of this study is to shed light on the numerous downfalls present within our current clemency system. I framed my research by beginning to examine the number of clemencies granted during each presidency. Following this I researched four of the president’s backgrounds and values and how that may have influenced their clemency choices. Presidents base their decisions to pardon individuals based on past relationships, money, background and sentence length, which tends to cause controversy within the public. Clemency has long term implications not only for the person being considered, but for the public as well. Some presidents have granted clemency to further their cause. Clemency can be referred to by some as presidential overreach. Presidents such as George Washington, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Donald Trump were compared based on the individuals they pardoned as well as the circumstances under which they granted these pardons. I found that there were no patterns whatsoever between presidents and each president had their own reasoning for why they feel a person should be set free. By shedding some insight onto the process of clemency throughout different presidencies, I hope to bring awareness to the fact that clemency is not always a fair process and the guidelines to be followed may vary allowing for too much room for one’s own interpretation. I expect numerous clemencies to be issued as our current president nears his term, and I hope my paper can allow readers to view these acts with a more critical eye.
This study will seek to explore the rise of antibiotic resistance in Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), the gram-positive bacilli bacteria linked as a causative agent in the common skin condition acne vulgaris. In light of the increase in antibiotic resistance in P. acnes over the last few decades and the detrimental effects of antibiotic resistance on medicine, the history of antibiotic resistance and acne pathogenesis will be explored to provide a foundation for this study. The methodology will include Kirby-Bauer disk diffusion tests to determine the susceptibility of P. acnes to common antibiotic treatments for acne. The same methodology will be utilized to evaluate the efficacy of common alternative treatments. Then, the data for antibiotics and alternative methods of acne treatment will be compared to identify solutions to the issue of antibiotic resistance. This study is limited to a singular pathogen for the purposes of experimental design but is cognizant of the varying factors that contribute to acne vulgaris as a whole.