Senior Ryan Selig to be published in a prestigious high school research journal

GPAC paper explores Chinese stifling of Hong Kong’s democratic autonomy

Ali O'Brien, Co-Editor-in-Chief

On November 20th, Potomac Senior Ryan Selig’s research paper, “A Violation of One Country, Two Systems: Chinese Encroachment on Hong Kong Democratic Autonomy”  was published in The Journal of Student Research, a peer-reviewed publication. His paper was the culmination of two years’ work in Potomac’s Global Perspectives and Citizenship (GPAC) program. 

Ryan is an editor of The Current.

Ryan’s article traces the ways in which China has undermined Hong Kong’s autonomy and its democracy. The paper illustrates how actions in the media, political arenas, and educational system have undermined the “One Country, Two Systems” policy that China promised to honor when it gained sovereignty over the colony from Britain in 1997.

In the fall of GPAC students’ junior year, they begin to explore global issues that interest them, eventually choosing one to write their year-long paper on.

“GPAC students need to identify a global issue that they’ll be excited to work on from September through May that they truly want to investigate and that motivates them,” said GPAC Director Bridget Gagne.

“The summer before we had to finalize our topics there were massive protests going on in Hong Kong about an extradition bill, and millions of people were taking to the streets, as I followed the protests through global news, I realized that it would be a perfect topic for my paper,” said Ryan. 

During their second year in the GPAC program, juniors research a global topic of their choosing, with the goal of completing a highly developed research paper by the end of the year. However, schedule changes due to COVID-19 impacted the normal schedule for students’ final papers. 

“Typically, GPAC11 ends with a final draft of your paper, but because of the coronavirus this year, it was only a first draft,” Ryan said. Because Ryan had already worked on his paper for a year, and his interest in following the struggles in Hong Kong was growing, Ryan decided to aim for publication. “Because of how much I cared about the topic, I knew I wanted to push it further, and especially, I wanted to see if my paper could stand on its own in the academic sphere,” he continued. 

Ms.Gagne echoed this sentiment. “It’s really exciting that students are submitting their papers and celebrating all the hard work they’ve put in and that they are excited to test their work outside of the Potomac community,” she said.

Submitting papers for publication is a relatively new component of the GPAC program. “Since I joined the program a few years ago, publication has been something students are really interested in,” said Ms. Gagne. “I always stress to students that publication is not our ultimate goal, but it is an option at the end of the process.”

“When I learned that my paper would be published, it was a lot of satisfaction and it felt nice to be recognized for such a cool topic. I’m definitely very proud of it and it’s something I can put my name on for years to come,” Ryan said.