MAPS Presentations Showcase Capstone Work

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Over a two-week period in May, 12 MAPS students from the Class of 2021 presented their capstone presentations. Unlike the Springboard presentations of this year, the presentations were held in-person in the Edwards Room, with an option to view virtually. Presentations were given in a TED talk-style format starting May 18 and concluding May 27. 

View the full list of presentations and topics.

Traditionally, MAPS presentations have been more of an overview of the SEARCH paper and longer in length, but last spring members of the 2021 MAPS class proposed a change in format, prompting the switch. 

“We wanted to move away from formal presentations geared toward an academic and professional audience, and make our projects more accessible to the public,” says Lian Wang ’21. “After all, we value the communication and impact aspect of our work just as much as the research, and want to do our best to spread our ‘ideas worth sharing.’ We looked into applying for the TEDx label, but a lot became uncertain due to COVID-19. This year, we’re not doing an official TEDx talk, but we are using the TED format to guide our talks.”

"We are excited for the MAPS students to present their SEARCH projects in the style of a TED talk.  We hope that this will make it easier for the students to connect with the audience and create a more relaxed atmosphere for both the speakers and the listeners,” says history and MAPS faculty member David Bell P ’17, ’18. 

All seniors are enrolled in one of Mercersburg’s capstone programs, MAPS or Springboard.

MAPS is a two-year program; students apply at the end of their 10th-grade year, and in their 11th-grade year, MAPS students take “TKB”—Thought, Knowledge, and Belief, where they read and analyze various philosophical debates, participate in current events discussions, and hone their beliefs through conversations with their peers.

The senior year is focused on the “SEARCH” project, a thesis paper and presentation on a global issue of choice. “SEARCH” is an acronym for Study-Engage-Apply-Research-Create-Help. 

“After over a year of researching and writing our SEARCH papers, I know that we all feel prepared and ready to give our final presentations,” says Lois Hargrove ’21. “I think that the new TEDx format will be more engaging while still providing a good reflection of everyone’s topics. And while I think the Class of 2021 has done some excellent virtual Springboard presentations, I also feel really grateful to be able to give our MAPS presentations in person.”

The 2021 SEARCH class includes Ryan Bland ’21, Ella Chatigny ’21, Kevin Chen ’21, Maddie Dawson ’21, Stanley Fang ’21, Dylan Gantt ’21, Clara Getty ’21, Lois Hargrove ’21, Mia Ingram ’21, Toni Meehan ’21, Sarah Noorbakhsh ’21, and Lian Wang ’21. Presentations will begin on May 18 and will conclude on May 27. Check back soon for the full schedule. 

For more information on this story, please contact Lee Owen ( in Mercersburg’s Office of Strategic Marketing and Communications.