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June 29, 2024

For information on admission to Notre Dame Prep, please click here

Rising senior publishes independent peer-reviewed research in national journals, gets accolades from distinguished university economics professor.

      NDP rising senior Sehaj Gill

Michael Hicks, Ph.D, is the George and Frances Ball distinguished professor of economics and director of the Center for Business and Economic Research in the Miller College of Business at Ball State University. 

Recently, in a post on X, formerly Twitter, Hicks said the following after reading a research paper written by then-sophomore NDP student Sehaj Gill:

"As a senior in high school, I won a contest for original research and saw my paper published in a small, regional history journal," he said. "Thought I was a prodigy. This paper blows away all child prodigies. From a sophomore at Notre Dame Prep."

What Hicks was referring to was Gill's paper, published in April of 2023 in the International Journal of Social Science Research and Review (ISSN 2700-2497), titled "Illuminate: Relationship Between Light Pollution, Quality of Life, and Innovation in Selected U.S. Cities." It was the first of three she's posted recently in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

"That paper was part of independent research that I had been conducting as a citizen scientist," said Gill, now heading into her senior year at Notre Dame Prep. "The social media post from Dr. Hicks appreciating my work was a pleasant surprise. Earlier that day, he also wrote a kind note to me."

In Gill's abstract introducing that research, she noted that, "Cities have always been epicenters of economic and social activity. People continue to seek residence in cities to improve their quality of lives (Mouratidis, 2021). In addition to better quality of life, cities can enable better personal and social economic outcomes (Austin et al., 2022)."

Further, according to her report, "it was found that levels of light radiance in cities seem to have a statistically significant relationship with specific elements of quality of life: safety, health, traffic and pollution."

More on the research is here.

NDP research club holds fundraiser for cancer center

Gill, who studies in NDP's International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, also manages the school's Insight Initiative Research Club, which recently hosted two conferences for young researchers. She believes that doing objective research and communicating effectively are important skills for everyone to learn, especially young people soon to be heading to college.

In December 2022, Gill, center, and teammates Ellis Chukwu and Anna Williquette discuss strategy during the VEX Robotics League finals for Southeastern Michigan, which were held at NDP's Robotics Center.

"Our research and publications are part of an effort to hone those skills," she said. "The NDP research club also held a fundraiser recently for the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center, which supports community health efforts throughout the state to reduce cancer disparities."

In the summer of 2020, as an eighth grader, Gill, who began at Notre Dame Prep in its lower school, earned a "MicroBachelors®" degree and three certificates from New York University, Harvard, MIT and the University of Toronto, respectively.

Gill also independently hosts a podcast where she interviews other researchers, including professors from the University of Michigan and University of Illinois, among others. 

She plans to continue her own research throughout the next school year and build upon her previous experience, including the February 2024 research published by ResearchGate, a European commercial social networking site for scientists.

Titled, "Exploratory Assessment of the Relationship Between Environmental Temperature and Mental Health," the paper focused on how environmental temperature affects mental health and was presented at the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Studying gender equity in ballet

In a May 2024 paper titled "Gender Equity in Ballet: Analysis of the Relationship between Nonprofit Organizations' Leadership Composition and Philanthropic Gifts Received" published by EBSCO, a provider of online research content and search technologies, Gill takes on the imbalance of males to females in senior level philanthropic positions within the arts, especially dance and ballet.

She posits as a given in her introduction that women currently lag men in positions held at senior levels in all U.S. corporations.

"McKinsey and Company reported in 2023 that only 28% of positions were held by women," said Gill. "This discrepancy is especially glaring in the field of professional dance. Dance has been a female-dominated field (Elsesser, 2019), but Dance Data Project has been reporting that this is not reflected in the composition of their corporate leadership. The present study involved the analysis of the impact of gender diversity in leadership positions at major U.S.-based ballet companies." More here.

For information on admission to Notre Dame Prep, please click here.

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About Notre Dame Preparatory School
"At Notre Dame Prep, we inspire our students to become the best versions of themselves. We challenge them through an experience of academic excellence, focused on active, project-based learning. We invite them to explore a world of opportunities beyond the classroom. We guide them as they grow in spirituality within a community strong in its Catholic and Marist identity."

Notre Dame Preparatory School is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. Notre Dame Preparatory School's upper school enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame Prep's middle and lower schools enroll students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. All three schools are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDP is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the National Association of Independent Schools. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School, visit the school’s home page at