Perse Rouse Award winners revealed
The winners of the inaugural Perse School Rouse Award have been praised for the quality of their research projects.
Launched in 2016, the Rouse Research Programme sees all Lower Sixth students undertake a piece of independent research, taking either the Extended Project Qualification, which has a focus on the process and learning of research skills, or the Rouse Award, where the focus is on the final outcome.
Students participating in the Rouse Awards, which are generously sponsored by Alan and Valerie Hirzel, had supervisions with a subject specialist teacher guiding them through their research process.
Their submissions were then judged by a panel of Perse Governors and Cambridge and Oxford academics based on the intellectual curiosity, depth and quality of research that had been undertaken.
The Rouse Research Award went to Clara Balon and Georgia Good for their respective essays ‘Aspects of ethnic identities in Josephus’ The Jewish War’ and ‘To what extent is Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler a feminist play?’
Tabitha Thornton-Swan earned the Rouse Award for Science and Mathematics with her presentation and report ‘To what extent do Paralympians utilising advanced sports prostheses have an advantage over able-bodied athletes?’
The Rouse Award for the Creative Arts was won by Rachel Glinsman after she created an artefact and report based on the premise ‘To investigate images of bioluminescence from the Protein Data Bank and use these to create a garment through laser cutting.’
Chloe Curtis-Smith collected the Rouse Award for Engineering, Technology and Computing after making an artefact and report based on the question ‘Is it possible to design and build a myoeletric system inexpensively that is capable of controlling a prosthetic hand?’
Perse Governor Diana Shave, who was among the judges, was delighted at the quality and breadth of subjects covered by the winning entries for the awards.
She said: “For The Rouse Research Award, we were impressed by the natural research writing style of Clara Balon’s study of Josephus’ account of the first Romano-Jewish War between 167BC and 70AD.
“She demonstrated a clear understanding of research constraints and came to an interesting and substantiated conclusion.
“Georgia Good, in the same category, in her exploration of Hedda Gabbler as a feminist play allied contemporaneous reports about the play with her own experience of watching it.
“Not only did she give a good exposition of what is meant by feminism but she has a powerful and persuasive writing style which carries the reader with her.
“The Rouse Award for Science and Mathematics studied the modern phenomenon of advanced sports prosthetics and was particularly illuminating about the reliability of an independent study commissioned by the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations).
“Tabitha Thornton-Swan challenged this study for its shortcomings and strengthened her argument using further research. She concluded, with judicious scientific caution, that the question she had set herself could not be answered with any certainty. This is a mature approach to research.
“Rachel Glinsman, the winner of the Creative Arts Award, married the scientific phenomenon of bioluminescence and the design of a dress to dramatic effect. Her account of her research journey fascinated the judges and was very well described. She has already demonstrated her skill in conducting research by explaining what further changes she would make to refining and expanding the project.
“Finally, the prosthetic hand that awaited us in the judging room. This was an ambitious project to tackle, involving decisions about the type of prosthesis to make, production issues, cost implications and convenience of use. Chloe Curtis-Smith successfully designed and built the hand and again recognised that improvements would need to be made. This was an impressive achievement.”