LASR: It starts with a question

Leadership, Arts, Service and Research. Much like a laser (which actually stands for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation), our LASR project asks juniors and seniors to focus in on a topic of their choosing related to either Leadership, Arts, Service or Research and write a research paper. Start with a question and see where it leads.

Research behind college success clearly shows a correlation between student success, and curiosity and engagement in their learning, skills our LASR project helps to develop. A graduation requirement, past LASR projects have included: The Chemistry of Ceramic Glazing, Fractal Geometry and the Formation of the Universe, Human Rights and Ancient Greece, Ocean Acidification and Shell Formation, and Soil Types and Plant Growth.

In addition to writing a paper, each year students present their findings to the White Mountain community, much like a college thesis. This past week students presented at our annual LASR Symposium. The topics ranged from investment strategies to understanding the root of happiness to mental health policy. Senior Sterling Perlman discussed the latter in a paper entitled Desperate for Change: Mental Health Insurance Policy in America.

Through analysis of current mental health policies, descriptions of the problems with these policies and interviews with mental health care providers, this research exposes the devastating consequences of the lack of insurance coverage for mental illness and explores current advocacy work and ideas for change.

-Excerpt from Desperate for Change: Mental Health Insurance Policy in America

In a paper complete with an Introduction, Literature Review, Methods and Discussion section, Sterling’s paper looked more like something out of the The New England Journal of Medicine than that of a high school research class. The paper was thoughtfully constructed and the topic extensively researched. Sterling used interviews with medical professionals as a primary form of research to discuss the issues surrounding mental health insurance policy and what can be done. The conclusion stressed awareness and involvement to bring about change.

The greatest tool in creating change is awareness…It is important for the public to understand the severity of this problem. Even if someone has not been directly affected by mental illness, they can fight for those who have. Donate to advocacy groups. Share this knowledge with others. Get involved.

-Excerpt from Desperate for Change: Mental Health Insurance Policy in America

It starts with a question. Your idea, your research, your curiosity. Find out more about our LASR program today.


Leave a Reply