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DHS Senior Project Spotlight: Anna Curry – Maternity Leave in the United States

Each year, Discovery High School seniors complete a yearlong research project focused on an important issue facing members of the school, community, or world.  Our students gain a deep understanding of their issue through research, mentoring from a leader in the field, and the development of a project to address the issue.  Over the next few weeks, we will spotlight several DHS senior projects in The Compass.  To learn more about the DHS Senior Project experience, please contact Geoff Crosson – geoff.crosson@n-ccs.org.


Name: Anna Curry

Driving Question: Why does the U.S. lag behind other industrialized countries with regard to maternity leave policies?

Anna Curry and her senior project

Why I selected the project:  I selected this project because I want to be a gynecologist/OBGYN when I get older, and I wanted to look at the system I would be entering. Once I started to explore what the conditions of pregnancy were in the U.S., I just couldn’t stop, and I became (understandably) very concerned. After that, it was only an issue of what to focus on.

Description of the research/conclusion and the product:  My research essentially led me to conclude that there are many factors which have shaped and determined American maternity leave as it is today, the main three of which are America’s roots as a capitalist nation, that fact that America is traditionally a male dominated culture (that includes the workforce), and the effects of the lack of fathers that take paternity leave. With that in mind, my conclusion was that the first of those three reasons was essentially the strongest and most overwhelming factor because along with the capitalist mindset, businesses don’t want government mandates imposed upon them. After I had done all of this research and come to my conclusion, I decided the best product I could create for my particular project was a photobook which referenced facts and statistics as well as the actual journey of a pregnant, expecting, soon-to-be mother in the United States. It discussed the current U.S. policies as well as including contact information for representatives specific to our geographic region in case anyone wanted to try to make a change and start the process of getting some laws passed.

For more information, please contact Anna Curry – annacurrry98@gmail.com

Screenshot of Anna Curry's Senior Project facts

About Heather Mullins

Heather Mullins is the Chief Academic Officer in Newton-Conover City Schools. She is a North Carolina Teaching Fellow who spent 12 years as a high school English Teacher. She received her B.S.Ed. in Secondary English Education from Western Carolina University. Heather completed her National Board Certification in Adolescent Young Adult English Language Arts in 2002. She holds an M.Ed. in Academically and Intellectually Gifted from UNC-Charlotte. Heather has served as a Curriculum Specialist in Hickory City Schools, an adjunct professor at Lenoir-Rhyne University, and a Professional Development Consultant for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. She completed her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership through Western Carolina University. Heather is one of the co-founders of #NCed Chat, North Carolina’s first Twitter chat for teachers. She is passionate about innovative practices, instructional technology, student ownership of learning, and supporting teachers. Heather serves on the advisory board for the North Carolina Digital Learning Plan, North Carolina School for the Deaf and Catawba Science Center. She is a recipient of the 2015 NCMLE Central Office Administrator to Watch Award. She also received the 2016 Don Chalker Award for Excellence in Educational Leadership. Heather is the proud mother of one son, Jackson.

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