The Record

Independent Studies: South East Asia

Julia Robbins

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On October 12, Kyra Hill (12) presented her Independent Study research on Southeast Asia to her class, focusing on the question “what is the history and current state of Southeast Asia and why is this region so underrepresented?”
Hill, who is half-Thai, was born in Thailand and goes back every summer to spend time with family and stay connected to the Thai culture, she said. The time that she has spent in Thailand and Myanmar during the summer inspired her research project.
For her first trimester presentation, Hill focused on major events that have occurred in the countries of Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. Using photos, graphs, and statistics, Hill talked about these countries and the reasons for why she is pursuing her particular independent study.
Toward the end of the presentation, Hill used Google Trends to show the quantitative disparity in searches for important terms relating to Southeast Asia such as Aung San Suu Ki, the Burmese State Counsellor, versus terms such as the NFL. Hill used the trends to prove how Americans and people around the world do not spend time thinking about or looking up what is happening in Southeast Asia.
“I was particularly struck by the relative paucity of Google searches of terms relating to these countries when compared to, for example, ‘Donald Trump Hair’,” Aurora Grutman (12) said.
“Kyra did an excellent job giving a brief introduction to these countries and explaining the reasons behind her independent study as well as the trajectory of her project,” Grutman said. Hill presented the information in an accessible way that allowed the audience to understand what she was saying, Grutman said.
Hill was able to able to cover a lot of material in a short time, which was “particularly impressive,” Emma Jones (12) said.
The time that Hill spends over the summer in Southeast Asia is hands on research that teaches her about the culture in the countries that she is writing about, Hill said.
In addition to firsthand experience, there are several very thorough databases and encyclopedias at school that have been helpful resources throughout the research process, Hill said.

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Independent Studies: South East Asia