A senior project is a significant piece of work and is a capstone experience in our human ecology curriculum.  A senior project is an opportunity to synthesize past learning and push yourself deeper and in new directions.  Students choose a wide array of topics and formats for their senior projects.

Browse senior projects…

  • Website/Blog:

    Arboretum of Eden

    by Marketa Doubnerova

    Arboretum thumbnail image

    This online collection features information about College of the Atlantic’s on-campus arboretum.

    The site includes printable and interactive maps, history, a botanical glossary, and species information.

    Visit the Site

  • Sound/Audio Recording:

    Live at the Gates Auditorium

    by Nathaniel Hillard

    The Nathaniel Hilliard Sextet recorded a digital album during their performance of Nathaniel’s original compositions.

    Listen to the album

    performance and music
  • Video:

    Plastic in Our Oceans: The Story of our Persistent Pollution Problem

    by Marina Garland

    Marina presents her senior project about marine plastic pollution in Frenchman Bay.

    marine science
  • Website/Blog:

    Learning from the Land

    by Nimisha Bastedo

    Nimisha Bastedo in Yellowknife

    Having grown up in Yellowknife, I am drawn towards returning home to northern Canada as an educator.

    Realizing I had (and still have) much to learn about education in this setting, I am very grateful to the Deh Gáh School staff and community members for being open to having me work with them throughout this project. 

    Visit Project Site

    culture and place, educational studies
  • Paper/Essay:

    Experiments in Thermophilic Composting Toilet Design

    by Abraham Noe-Hays

    Humanure (the urine and feces of human beings) is a rich source of nutrients that has sustained agricultural systems around the world and throughout the ages. Yet despite humanure’s great potential value, and despite countless examples of its successful reuse set by 100 generations of Asian farmers, most technologically developed nations have come to treat humanure as a waste, fit only for disposal.

    Typically, it is mixed with pure drinking water and flushed into sewers where it mingles with all  manner of industrial toxins.

    It is in this context that I present the following experiment, the goal of which was to develop a toilet system that could compost humanure at temperatures exceeding 55°C, guaranteeing the destruction of all human pathogens. Such a system would create a product that the user could freely, safely, and legally apply to all food crops, thereby closing the nutrient cycle and obviating the need for external fertilizer inputs.

    Download the PDF

  • Website/Blog:

    Blog: A Lot of Yesterdays

    by Emily Peterson

    I am interested in aging, and how our society views old age. 

    I created this blog as a way to inform the Mount Desert Island (MDI) community on current news and research regarding elderly care. I include interviews, entries on dementia care, caring for caregivers, medications, exercise, and more.

    Visit the Blog

  • Video:

    Animation: After the ICU

    by Riley Thompson

    A hand-made animation about trauma in the Intensive Care Unit, and the physiological processes that lead to Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.

    visual arts and design
  • Website/Blog:

    Podcasting the Human Body

    by Emily Hollyday


    When I was in 5th grade, my classmate, Luke, and my teacher, Mr. Eaton, both had diabetes. Many of us in the class wondered why Luke could have gatorade in the middle of class and why Mr. Eaton often checked the blue device that he wore on his hip. 

    My aim is to create educational podcasts and life science modules in which students learn about concepts in science through personal stories. 

    Visit Project Site

    educational studies
  • Poster:

    A Natural History Guide to Birds of Mount Desert Island, Maine

    by Anna Stunkel

    As a student, Anna led weekly bird walks around the island. This illustrated guide is the culmination of her senior project.

    Download the Guidebook (PDF)

  • Paper/Essay:

    Augment, A Novel

    by Heather Hayden

    Augment, by Heather Hayden

    An excerpt from Chapter One:

    It felt like I was flying.

    My sneakers gripped the pavement and pushed off again, one after the other. Leg muscles and implants worked together to send me soaring down the sidewalk. I could feel the contact with hard concrete through my soles as electronic and biological nerves interfaced. The implants that formed my lower legs and right knee were as much a part of me as my elbows, which pumped by my sides.

    Download PDF

    literature and writing
  • Paper/Essay:

    Lyme Disease in Maine: The Science and Stories of an Emerging Epidemic

    by Ellie Oldach

    Lyme disease is the most prevalent vector-borne disease reported in the United States, and it is spreading particularly quickly in Maine. 

    My project is titled “The Science and Stories of Lyme Disease”, and throughout the research process, I constantly rediscovered how deeply these two aspects intertwined. Scientific articles and community conversations fed off of each other, and built into my growing understanding of the spider web-like nature of this disease. 

    Download PDF

  • Paper/Essay:

    Compost and Community: A Case Study

    by Lisa Bjerke

    Through this project I aim to better comprehend COA’s understanding of the human role in managing ecological services on campus.

    I examine the ways in which the community views and engages with the organic material in the campus landscape. Through intimate exploration of the interconnectedness between different activities on campus, I have been able to outline the past and current efforts with composting and organic material management.

    I have gathered historical information around organic material management at COA, and I have organized and structured my own documentation of compost and landscape management. 

    Download PDF