IB Extended Essay Showcase

The IB Extended Essay Showcase on Feb. 12 exhibited this year’s Extended Essays, allowing parents and spectators to view the work that has been in the making for the past several months. Every year, seniors pursuing the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma write a 4,000 word essay called the Extended Essay. This essay is on any topic of their choosing, ranging in areas of math, science, history, politics and more, and focuses on one research question that the student creates. This year, there were 54 extended essays. Below are a few examples of the Extended Essays that were showcased this year.

How does Jane Villanueva break Stereotypes of Latina women in American Television?

Camila Mejia

Camila Mejia discussed breaking stereotypes in the TV show “Jane the Virgin,” an American TV show based off of the Venezuelan Telenovela “Juana la Virgen.” Mejia was interested in researching Latina women in the film and television industry, but was challenged with what to focus on; the research question couldn’t be too simple or too complex. Her mom suggested the show Jane the Virgin, due to it being related to both Latina women and film. Mejia expressed the passion she found for the show and looking into the societal roles behind it, and she decided to focus on three main stereotypes.

“I looked more at what the root of the show was for me and how Jane breaks stereotypes that are often presented for Latina women in television, and I kind of surrounded it by three main stereotypes: that they’re obnoxious and loud, that they’re either hypersexualized or seen as the Virgin Mary kind of thing, and then also of how ethnicity is brought up as a topic rather than a way of characterizing people.”

Unlike many of the other extended essays, Mejia’s wasn’t based on data, causing her to use different types of sources. “Everyone around me was using these factual sources with evidence or data-based things. I used some opinion pieces because my paper is based off different evidence that’s presented by what the industry throws at it, but also there are these critiques that I used to help form my structure for it.”

The writing process proved difficult, especially when writing such a long research paper. “[There were] definitely some challenges…When you start anything you have to think it out and I couldn’t see an endpoint of writing such an extensive thing because I’ve never written anything like this.”

Mejia said she hopes that the topic of stereotypes in her Extended Essay will have an impact on viewing our current society. “Just as a reminder of the fact that even though people are so proud and present today’s society as a really progressive place, there’s still issues and challenges that are overlooked or just kind of ignored and that we really can’t do that, and so this is just one tiny example of an issue that affects a lot of of young girls, but also how many issues there are that affect youth and the generations coming up.”

How effective is dance therapy as a treatment for depression?

Kelsey Chan

Kelsey Chan wrote her Extended Essay about dance therapy and its significance as a treatment for depression. Chan researched the Marian Chase method, which founded dance therapy, with the belief that the body, mind, and emotions are interrelated.

In the first part of her essay, she looked at Chace’s four principle approach: body action, symbolism, therapeutic movement relationship, and rhythmic group activity. She also defined depression and its symptoms, and created a correlation between the four approaches and how they would help with those symptoms. In the second part of her essay, she focused on two psychological studies. The studies showed whether or not dance therapy was actually effective, and allowed her to come to a consensus.

“I came to the conclusion that dance therapy is effective, however further research needs to be concluded on to what extent it’s effective, and also how much it helps people,” she said.

Her inspiration for choosing to research dance therapy was from how dance plays a big role in her life. “I’m on the Cleveland Dance Team, and in the future, I want to be a dance therapist so I wanted to take this opportunity to understand more about it and learn what it can do for people,” she said.

Similar to many other Diploma candidates, Chan found the beginning stages of the Extended Essay slow, but eventually she experienced a turning point.

“I think there was a point in me writing the essay where things really clicked, and I started to understand everything a lot better, and I think that was a big overcoming point for me.”

Chan also expressed how the dance therapy approach can be disregarded. Many choose to turn to psychotherapy., but ultimately, dance therapy could be extremely beneficial and help our future.

She said, “Being able to draw a connection between movement and your mind is a really important part of dance therapy, and it might be able to help a lot of people.”

How have the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 impacted the profiling of racial minority citizens by United States air marshals?

Andy Ho

Andy Ho discussed the racial profiling following 9/11 in aviation. After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, a US air marshal program was immediately implemented to help travelers feel more safe. Looking in depth at the program, Ho was able to draw conclusions about the role of race and racial profiling. Racial profiling is targeting someone for an offense due to race or ethnicity.

“I found there was actually a lot of criticism on the new air marshal program because people thought that it was very rushed and that the air marshals weren’t necessarily trained very well, and I kind of explore whether or not that provided a platform for increased racism and racial profiling, because of the mindset that could’ve been instilled after the attacks.”

The inspiration behind Ho’s Extended Essay came from his ninth grade history class with Mr. Sten. When learning about 9/11, students were given an assignment to ask friends and family about 9/11. Ho realized how much it affected people close to him, and it peaked his interest.

“I remember asking my family and relatives and I realized, ‘This is an event that has impacted people around me,’ and because usually I remember about history from way long ago, and it doesn’t affect people that are immediate to you, I thought that was cool,” said Ho.

While he knew he wanted to focus on 9/11, the topic itself was too vague, and he had to narrow it down in to a more specific research question. He researched racial profiling and its connection 9/11, and eventually came across the air marshal program.

“It was a very long process trying to figure out what exactly I wanted to write about, because you have these ideas that you want to write about but the further you research the more you realize that there’s so much other to learn,” he said.

Something that inspired Ho to research about racial profiling was his involvement and work with CARE, the Cleveland Alliance for Racial Equity. In his Extended Essay, he was able to put his passion for race and his interest in 9/11 together.

“I brought two things together that I was very passionate about,” he said. “It was super cool to be able to merge the two and ultimately write about something that I was interested in.”