For anyone who has spent time with Amina Dada, the fact that the 2020 Lapeer High School graduate’s AP Capstone Research project was published nationally would not come as a surprise. She is an incredible student with a tremendous ability to digest complicated subject matter.
Like, for example, the subject of her AP Capstone research project: An exploration of academic achievement levels in identical and fraternal twins through a measurable cognitive perspective.
In short, it was a twin study set against the backdrop of the timeless debate of nature versus nurture — genetics versus environment.
Her scholarly effort earned for her the title of published author, and we’re certain there’s much more to come.
There is, however, one surprise embedded in her project, published recently in the Journal of Student Research: Amina managed to track down 17 sets of twins in grades 9-12 in Lapeer Community Schools.
“It was definitely a surprise to learn how many twins were in our own community, and I’m very grateful they were all willing to participate,” Amina said.
At the outset, Amina wasn’t certain what she wanted to do for her AP Capstone project. She’s an ambitious student, and many of her ideas were outside the scope of resources available to a high schooler.
“I always knew that I wanted to do something surrounding the disciplines of biology or psychology,” she said. “So, one day I was talking with a peer in my AP Research class about topics and somehow it came up that I have four sets of twins in my family in Pakistan. She thought that was cool, so the idea just developed from there as I discussed it more with Mrs. Tetmeyer.”
Mrs. Tetmeyer said AP Capstone is designed for students like Amina.
“Amina stands out for her tenacity and attention to detail,” she said. “She was committed to the process of research and made sure she followed all the steps of the project. What stood out about her project was that by using Lapeer participants, she was able to integrate community members into the study in a significant way.”
Amina’s goal with her research was to illuminate an interesting topic and utilize the skills she had learned throughout her AP Capstone experience. Getting published in a national publication wasn’t something she had in her mind, at least not initially.
“I always knew getting published was a possibility, but I originally didn’t have it as a goal,” she said.
That all changed in her second semester, when she realized she could take her project to the next level.
Indeed, the next level is what AP Capstone is all about. Lapeer Community Schools was the first in Michigan to offer the two-year program that equips students with skills in research, analysis, argumentation, writing and presentation — all invaluable skills for success in college.
Because of AP Capstone, Amina was prepared for the academic rigors of college from day one.
“I have an advantage over my college peers because of AP Capstone,” she said. “It taught me how to be independent as a student, to read and put together complex pieces of literature, which many students struggle with when they start college. Also, I now have research experience on my resume, which is rare to walk into college with, so that can open up more opportunities for me as I progress through college.”
Amina is in the Honors Program at Wayne State University. She is currently undecided on her major, but is planning on pursuing a career in healthcare.
You can read Amina’s twin study in its entirety here.