Independent Inquiry: Senior Kari Wadden Explores Feminism and Design

ASIJ Senior, Kari Wadden, spoke to interested high school students about her explorations into the intersections of feminism and design on February 10th.

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Kari began by introducing her familial and cultural motivations to explore feminism as well as her academic interest in design. The two, naturally, came together into a topic rich with questions. These questions led Kari to not only examine but also design tools to improve the lives of women, liberate them from traditional roles and raise the standard of living.

bikeThe issues that Kari addressed included methods of water transportation in countries where simply retrieving water for cooking or bathing is a difficult task. She considered designs that would make resources more accessible to women who may have to walk miles to retrieve something such as clean water.

Design and feminism, as Kari presented, does not stop at tools. Urban planning is another area of concern. Urban design can not only enhance and protect the lives of women, but also facilitate harm.

Kari’s research and presentation is part of ASIJ’s Independent Inquiry program which is currently available to high school juniors and seniors.

Independent Inquiry encourages passionate students to propose questions in order to explore an interest that ASIJ may not currently cover within a standard course. Research and exploration of topics such as molecular gastronomy, architecture, 3D modeling and graffiti, intrinsic motivation and learning,  app development and the intersections of feminism and design take students beyond a Google search and include creating their own learning network beyond the resources available on campus.

In the second half of the semester the question that juniors and seniors who take Independent Inquiry are asked to answer is “now what?” How can what they learned be applied outside of their own research and design ideas? What are the practical methods to apply these ideas?

Through Independent Inquiry students are able to develop their own learning pathways and to personalize their learning. While the content they discover and digest is certainly meaningful, what is more valuable is what they learn about themselves as independent learners and what it means to persist and pursue a passion.