Empowering Students Through iProject

Sep 8, 2021 | All School, Blog, Upper School News

In the Upper School, students participate in a process called iProject. At its core, iProjects mission is to “empower Mount Vernon students to drive their own learning through their curious pursuits of inquiry, innovation, and impact project work.”

iProject was originally created with Steve Jobs in mind. How could his education have been different, encouraging him to stay in school instead of dropping out?

So, what exactly is iProject? Watch this video to hear from both faculty and students about their personal experiences with these passion projects.

Not only does iProject benefit students learning while at Mount Vernon, but it also has a lasting impact as they prepare for a college career. As Dr. Erin McCubbin shares in the video, “When I was working in college admissions, that’s what always stood out about applications from Mount Vernon. They had just done and experienced things outside of the everyday classroom. One of those pieces that really stood out was iProject.”

In the college process, we see this payoff in the stories that they are able to curate and tell through essays and interview experiences that they have.”

Topic choices for students working on an iProject are intentionally left wide open, allowing them each to flex their creative muscles in different areas.

Topics of iProjects range from healthy/wellness, sports, maker/design/engineering, art/graphic design/photography, music, film, cooking, psychology, kindness projects, disease research/awareness, animals, family history, language, entrepreneurship, community impact, politics, mental health, religious topics, fashion, women’s issue, and empathy – just to name a few.

Upper School iProject Faculty member Ricky Hyde shares, “It’s a design thinking class to guide them through the whole process – from initial idea all the way through to launching it to an audience.

They are able to design projects that stimulate a passion for them and get them really excited about putting good design out into the world.”

Although iProjects take place during the school year, over this past summer, many students continued the work they had started, and it paid off big.

Aqil Merchant (‘21) celebrated the publication of his article, “Analysis of COVID-19 Awareness Among Georgia Private High School Students,” in the Harvard Public Health Review.

Livi Sweeterman (‘22) explored fashion design, photography, film, and women’s empowerment throughout her project. She recruited other MV students to serve as her models and released her completed “Women in Gold” short film on Instagram in July. To date, her video has received more than 1,100 views.

Maggie Sims (‘23) began working on her first EP during iProject in December 2020. Fast forward to May 2021. Her EP “Stay” debuted on Spotify and Amazon Music. Throughout her project and beyond, she worked with Vann Thornton and Matt Neylon inside the MV Studios to make her dream a reality.

Grayson Leiter (‘24) designed and released his first video game during iProject. Over the summer, he finalized player testing and bug fixes.

After completing his iProject, Cameron Jasper (‘21) shared, “iProject has made me feel like I can make a real impact on the world.”

Lynn Luster, Upper School iProject Faculty member, is excited to explore passions with future iProject students. “My goal here is that you would learn a little bit about yourself and learn a lot about how to manage a project, so you can take this learning and transfer it to all other projects you do, not just at Mount Vernon but beyond.”