Project Exploration 2017

gorilla elephants

Project Exploration is a hands-on, project-oriented mini-term scheduled for three weeks during February and March. Students have the opportunity to expand their global awareness through intensive off-campus experiences. Students who remain on campus explore interdisciplinary courses. The program concludes with a Project Exploration Showcase, where students display their work and give presentations to the rest of the school and outside community.

Important Information

Project Exploration Brochure

These courses are open to all 10th, 11th and 12th grade students in good academic, financial and disciplinary standing. A minimum of 10 students is needed for a trip to go forward and there may be a maximum number of students determined.

The prices quoted are estimated for February/March 2017. Prices may change a bit due to the fluctuating cost of air travel. The final cost will be set in October and discussed at the group meeting during Fall Family Weekend.

Students traveling to Rwanda or Thailand will need passports with expiration dates at least six months following the trip dates.

CDC recommendations
Rwanda: tourist visa needed. Yellow fever vaccine proof needed for entry, Hepatitis A, typhoid and anti‐malarial meds are recommended

Thailand: anti‐malarial meds, hepatitis A and typhoid vaccines are recommended. All travelers should be up to date on their regular vaccines.

Parents and/or guardians are responsible for all pre-trip vaccinations.

Students traveling to New Mexico will also need a valid passport for identification purposes.

Trips are all‐inclusive, excepting personal spending money. Students are limited to $200 spending money for souvenirs. International students will need appropriate visas for Rwanda and Thailand and must be responsible for these.

Registration Information & Application

Download Registration Form

The trips will occur during Project Exploration, February 27 – March 18, 2017, with specifics determined in the fall.

Project Exploration trip deposits can be made in the Business Office with Debbie Duckworth, beginning August 22. Deposits may also be made during school registration, where a desk will be set up.

Approximate prices
Rwanda: $3,750
Thailand: $5,550
New Mexico: $2,800

Deposit date: Friday, September 19
Rwanda deposit: $2,000
Thailand deposit: $3,000
New Mexico deposit: $ 1,500

Mandatory group meeting during Fall Family Weekend, Saturday, October 15

Final for payment all trips will be due on: Friday, November 4

Academic classes pertaining to these programs will begin in January, with 8 – 10 pre‐trip classes to be expected.

Non‐cancellable and non‐refundable except through what is offered within the confines of included trip insurance.

2017 Project Ex off-campus learning opportunities include Rwanda, Thailand and Albuquerque, New Mexico. Click the tabs below to learn more.


Rwanda, Africa
12 Days

project exploration in Rwanda, Africa

Ecotourism and Recovery. How did ecotourism help Rwanda recover from the Genocide twenty-two years ago to become one of the safest countries in Africa?

Purnell girls will fly into Kigali, visit the Genocide Museum and enjoy a cultural dance in the evening. They will travel to 3B Hotel in Musanze to view endangered Mountain Gorillas in their undisturbed natural habitat and participate in an evening dance for entertainment. Next, they will visit Lake Kivu, an enormous and magnificent body of water, and journey to Akagera National Park for an overnight, and lastly, travel to Kivu Safari Lodge for a safari.Return to Kigali to relax and shop.

Purnell students and chaperones will stay at 3B Hotels, a trio of eco-lodges owned and operated by the parents of one of our own students. They are delighted to have us as guests and share their love of this beautiful country, which has recovered from the genocide of 22 year ago and is considered one of the safest countries in all of Africa.

House and mountain in Rwanda, Africa


15 Days

projection exploration in Thailand

Elephant Conservation and Cultural Exploration. Do you love elephants and long for a personal experience with these gentle giants?

Fly into Bangkok and begin this course with two full days exploring Thai culture – travel to Kanchaburi Province to work with “Bring The Elephant Home” organization. Learn about the conflict between elephants and farmers and engage in community service by building check dams, working in a tree nursery and helping to feed and bath orphaned elephants. Girls will journey to Kuri Puri National park for a safari and to study elephants in the wild, and then on to Koh Talu for snorkeling and some marine adventure.

This program is run by Walking Tree Travel, an educational travel group with whom Purnell enjoys a long and positive history. Students will stay mostly in hotels and eco-lodges but a few days of home stay are involved during the period in which they engage in community service.

meeting elephants on project exploration

Albuquerque, New Mexico

6 Days

Albuquerque, New Mexico project exploration

Sci-Fi and Urban Legends ... is it scientifically possible aliens and other urban legends exist?

How has Sci-Fi has transformed these ideas through television and movies like the films, ET, Aliens, and Independence Day? This course will explore the legends of science fiction and urban legend in text, film and through a trip to New Mexico and day trips in NJ.

Students will fly into Albuquerque, New Mexico and stay in hotels. They will take day trips to museums and National Parks, such as: Petroglyph National Monument, National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, International UFO Museum and Research Center, Roswell Museum and Art Center, Sky City Acoma Pueblo Ahhk’u Museum and the Very Large Array. Ride the Sandia Peak Tramway and fill the evenings with an included movie night, bowling and Dave and Busters.

New Mexico project explorations