Spence News

Seniors Present Independent History Research Projects

Seniors in the Independent History Research (IHR) Fellowship program presented their research at the inaugural IHR Symposium: Agency, Resilience, and Community: Sourcing Voices from the Past. The Symposium included poster presentations from junior fellows, formal presentations from senior fellows, and panel discussions from IHR Fellows on their specific research to an audience of faculty, peers, and families. 

Thirteen seniors, drawing from extensive archival research and their personal interests, presented compelling projects on political and economic issues, social institutions and cultural identity, and art. With the support of the Spence librarians and IHR Faculty Lead Dr.Smith, they collaborated with researchers from the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Columbia University, New York University, and many others. Their research drew from a diverse array of archives and documents, including music, photography, classical texts, legal briefs, and first-hand accounts. 

The scope of their research was global; students studied Argentina’s political landscape, the cultural impact of Jamaican music in the 1960s, the evolving significance of Bastille Day in France, and the experiences of WWII Kindertransport refugees. Their research inquiries spanned all throughout time–from the portrayal of women in Classical Greek tragedies and Roman perceptions of male identity through hairstyles, to unionization struggles in the Appalachian coal mines and waste management in early 20th-century NYC. Following their presentations, the IHR Fellows participated in student-moderated panels, discussing surprising moments in their research, challenges they encountered, and the conclusions they reached.

In her closing remarks, Michele Murphy, Director of Curriculum, reflected on the program's success and its foundation in Miss Spence’s original vision for the school: “IHR fits perfectly with Miss Spence's vision of our school—not as a place of mechanical instruction, but as a school of character where human feeling, a sense of humor, and the spirit of intellectual and moral adventure are essential.”

Senior IHR Fellows: 

Lily C.
Nina F.
Amira H.
Avery J.
Valentina K.
Alison L.
Ansley S.
Avery S.
Sabrina S.
Katie S.
Hattie T.
Celia W.
Kiki Y.

IHR Faculty Lead:
Dr. Sandra Weathers Smith

Upper School Librarian:
Meagan Kane
A K-12 independent school in New York city, The Spence School prepares a diverse community of girls and young women for the demands of academic excellence and responsible citizenship.


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