Episcopal High School seniors Robert DeMouy and Max Merchant presented projects April 2-3 the Popular Culture Association’s National Conference in New Orleans.

DeMouy shared a portion of his thesis, “Foreign Polyphony: Music Criticism’s Role in Representing Non-western Artists,” while Merchant shared a portion of his own research, “Enter the Clan: A Look into the History of Social Interaction in Video Games and the Impact of Online Multi-players on the Gaming Community.”

Most of the work exhibited at the conference was presented by professional scholars, a news release said.

The Episcopal duo impressed their fellow panelists, became colleagues with professors from around the country, and “further established their own identities as burgeoning experts their fields,” the release said.

The Honors Diploma Program at Episcopal, which the seniors are a part of, is modeled on the university honors college. The honors college curriculum focuses on an interdisciplinary study of a variety of critical thinking topics that precede the research and writing and revision and presenting of a major scholarly project and begins in the student’s junior year.

The students’ presentations at the New Orleans event and at Launch EHS on Feb. 6 showcase their fulfillment of the Honors Diploma Program’s perspective that a good scholar engages all communities with their scholarship, the release said.

“Even in a room full of legitimate scholars, I felt like all of my work meant something important,” Merchant said. “It was surprising for many people to see a high school student present something of substance at such a sophisticated event.

“?I loved meeting with other professors and scholars, brainstorming ideas, and discussing the finer points of each other’s work.”

Merchant said he wanted to show his research to “legitimate scholars.”

“It was exhilarating to be in a room with people who were as passionate about the subjects that interested them,” he said. “The experience reminded me why I wrote my thesis in the first place, and taught me how my accomplishments can come from unexpected places. Some of the presentations I saw were ingenious and only helped to foster my curiosity, a feeling that I crave. Overall, I enjoyed my time at the PCA/ACA and I hope that I can revisit it in the future.” 

For information on Episcopal’s Honors Diploma Program, visit www.ehsbr.org/honors.