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Reflections on senior project



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Hannah Mason assists during an operation at Platz Animal Hospital. Photo courtesy of Ron Bernas

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Hannah Mason assists during an operation at Platz Animal Hospital. photo by Ron Bernas.
June 13, 2013
The following article by Elizabeth Jamett, director of college guidance at University Liggett School, was reprinted from Liggett Life, Liggett's (almost) daily blog about life at the school. For more Liggett Life, visit blogs.uls.org/liggettlife.

May 13 marked the start of a new chapter for the Class of 2013; it was the first day of the senior project.

Since 1972, the senior project has been one of the defining features of a student's final year at Liggett. In order to encourage responsibility, independence and self-reliance in our graduates, Liggett requires that seniors complete an off-campus internship.

In recent years, Liggett seniors have completed projects as nearby as Monteith Elementary School and as far away as California. This year, our project locations include several local hospitals and veterinary practices, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Grosse Pointe Academy and StageCrafters, just to name a few.

Seniors spend 30 hours a week at their project site, and the range of experiences is as diverse as our students' interests. Some students choose a project that will help them to learn more about a particular professional field, while others gravitate toward community-based organizations that welcome student volunteers.

A fair number of the project supervisors are current or past Liggett parents.

While seniors may begin their project with at least a little trepidation, most emerge with a better sense of the profession or organization with which they work. Some Liggett alumni report that their senior project shaped their choice of major, and at least a few senior projects have led to offers of summer employment.

Independent schools often provide seniors with a sort of "capstone" experience in their senior year, but the Liggett senior project is unique in that it requires students to be engaged in a community outside of Liggett.

Below is student Hannah Mason's first-hand account of her senior project.

Mason and Platz

I am doing my senior project at Platz Animal Hospital in Grosse Pointe Park.

My day includes helping the veterinarians and technicians, observing their work, and playing with adorable animals.

I chose to do my project here because I want to be a veterinarian. Advisor Mrs. Jamett recommended this clinic to me because she used to take her dog there and they have welcomed seniors in the past. I have learned so much after just a week like how to run blood work, take and develop X-rays, and do dental work.

On my first day I walked in and Dr. Platz was examining a poodle named Abby. He asked, "How many vaccinations have you given?" to which I answered, "None." He proceeded to hand me the syringe and said, "Well now is a good time to start!"

I am getting hands on experience with the animals and all the veterinarians and technicians are wonderful teachers. Today I watched an enucleation (a removal of the eye) and assisted Dr. Ticcony with a neutering.

My project is going better than I ever imagined. I did not expect to be able to do so much with the animals, I had assumed that I would mostly be observing.

By actually being involved I am learning much more than I would have if I were only sitting and watching. My two goals by the end of my senior project are to successfully draw blood and to intubate an animal. I am loving my project and am very thankful to the staff at Platz Animal Hospital for giving me this opportunity.

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