Social Science Research Class Reimplemented for Spring 2017

After a one-year hiatus, the social science Intel program, now named Regeneron following a change in sponsorship, will be reinstated starting in the Spring 2017 semester.  

Once students are enrolled in this elective, they will develop an understanding of what social science is, what kind of data social scientists look at, how to conceptualize social variables, and how to state and test hypotheses with data. Students will also learn about the statistical analysis tools used by social scientists, including Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, a program used as an analytical tool.

Last year, social studies teacher Ellen Schweitzer did not have room in her schedule to teach the research class. After Advanced Placement Microeconomics teacher Catherine McRoy-Mendell went on maternity leave, Schweitzer stepped in to fill the teaching vacancy left by McRoy-Mendell, giving up her hours spent teaching the research class.

With McRoy-Mendell’s return, Schweitzer voiced enthusiasm for the class to be reinstituted, and approached Assistant Principal of Social Studies Jennifer Suri about offering the class again. “I enjoyed teaching [the class] very much and I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for the students.” she said.

A number of students also expressed interest to Suri. “There weren’t enough students for a full section, but numerous students expressed [a] will for the class to be formed again,” Suri said.

Principal Eric Contreras’s effort to revive Stuyvesant’s research program further motivated Suri to bring back this class. “Throughout this entire process, he has been supportive of all the Intel programs and persuaded us that this program is one that should not be abandoned,” Suri said.

Next spring, Social Science Research will be available to current juniors. No prerequisites or minimum grade are required. However, some students have already received invitations to join this class.

“Schweitzer and I spoke to all of the junior classes to make students aware of it, because it wasn’t offered last year. We’ll review their academic standing and in addition, teachers have been asked to identify [the] top students in [their U.S. History or Advanced Placement U.S. History] classes for consideration,” Suri said.

Students who are enrolled will take the class spring term junior year and continue into the fall term of their senior year. If the class and the final research project are both completed, students will be exempted from taking a 10Tech course in their senior year.

In previous years, students have also brought their social science projects to a number of competitions. Last year, a student won second place in the MIT Inspire contest, and three students won first place in the Quality of Life Competition.

Additionally, the most recent Intel finalist from Stuyvesant, Soham Daga (‘14), was a social science student. He completed a project that used Google Trends to predict patterns in the economy.

Schweitzer is pleased to be teaching the class again. “I believe in the research program [at] Stuyvesant and […] it should include social science,” she said.


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