Project Search


project search students with hands up
Challenging high school students to explore new ideas

Project SEARCH is designed to provide an on-campus, intellectually challenging experience for academically motivated high school students. The program has been in operation since 1983, and the total program enrollment ranges from 200-225 students.

SEARCH's mission is to provide a forum in a college campus setting where high school students from southeastern New Hampshire and southern Maine can experience a series of presentations covering challenging interdisciplinary topics and interact with each other in discussion groups.

  • To foster positive attitudes toward the exploration of new and stimulating ideas through the exposure to presentations and subsequent group meetings through which they can hone their discussion skills.
  • To provide UNH graduate students with the experiential opportunity of developing group leadership and critical thinking skills for teaching intellectually curious students.
  • To encourage a positive spirit regarding the joy of learning through the collaboration of the high schools, their students, future teachers and practicing educators.


Contact Us

Project Search Director, Jessica Bonello

project search group


2021 - 2022 Presentations

October 6, 2021 - Coyotes
Christine Schadler 

Photo of Coyote in the wild

Chris earned a M.S. at Antioch University Graduate School. Her thesis focused on the natural recovery of the Eastern Timber Wolf in Michigan.
Beginning in the early 1990’s, Chris taught Conservation Issues, Dendrology and Wolf Ecology at the University of New Hampshire, receiving many teaching excellence and student recognition awards. She continues to instruct and mentor adult degree candidates in the UNH System at Granite State College.
While wolf recovery was the focus of her early work, Chris’ attention shifted to the eastern coyote when she moved to New England. She chose a farm with known coyote problems to raise sheep and experiment with non-lethal predator control. Using sound livestock management and common sense,  she avoided predation for two decades. Chris has provided talks to livestock growers and the general public for 30 years on coexisting with coyotes.
Chris is now the Representative for Project Coyote in NH and VT, and a member of the Northeast Wolf Coalition, and divides her time between teaching and working on her book “Becoming Wolf: The Eastern Coyote in New England”.  Between presentations she can be found at camp in northern New Hampshire researching coyote feeding patterns in a mosaic of farms and woodlots.

October 20, 2021 - Bear Brook murders
Jason Moon

Photo of Jason Moon

Jason is a Senior Reporter/Producer on New Hampshire Public Radio's investigative longform reporting team, Document. His work includes the podcast Bear Brook, which has been downloaded more than 17 million times, and was called one of the best podcasts of 2018 by The New Yorker magazine. Previously, Jason was a beat reporter in the NHPR newsroom where, at various times, he covered education, politics, and health. Jason grew up in Remlap, Alabama and attended Bennington College in Vermont.



November 3, 2021 - Artificial Intelligence
Wheeler Ruml

Wheeler  is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of New Hampshire, co-founder of the International Symposium on Combinatorial Search, a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, a Senior Member of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, and a former Associate Editor of the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research.  His research papers have been cited more than 5,000 times. He received his PhD from Harvard in 2002.  Before joining UNH, he led a team at Xerox's PARC lab that used AI planning techniques to build the world's fastest printer.

November 17, 2021 - Hypnosis
Joe Devito

Photo of Joe Devito with lightening coming out of his hands.

Joe DeVito is a professional stage hypnotist, certified hypnotherapist, and public speaker touring locally and nationwide since 1994. Featured in Boston Magazine, The Globe , Boston Herald, Fox TV, and every major radio station in New England, he has performed in over 40 states and has hypnotized over 250,000 people at colleges, high schools and other public events for audiences of all ages, including but not limited to professional athletes, Hollywood celebrities, as well as local news and radio personalities. The Joe DeVito stage hypnosis show is unique, original and an audience participation experience where the volunteers are the stars of the show.



December 1, 2021 - Stress Relief & Laughter
Comic Mime Robert Rivest

Robert Rivest with crowd in background

Robert Rivest is an internationally admired performer and teacher. In addition to being a renowned comic mime artist, he is also an accomplished health, literacy and stress relief educator, a gifted mindfulness teacher, a certified laughter yoga master trainer and an engaging public speaker. Since 1990 Robert Rivest has given over 8,000 presentations in Europe, Asia, Africa and across the U.S. His mission is to use mindfulness, laughter and the performing arts to bring greater health and happiness to individuals and organizations around the world.

January 12, 2022 - Long Story Long 

Photo of Beth LaMontagne Hall with green landscape in background

Beth LaMontagne Hall is a New Hampshire native and former Project SEARCH participant who's loved good stories all her life. She is the producer and host of the storytelling podcast Long Story Short, which records four times a year at 3S Artspace in Portsmouth, and features true stories based on a theme told live by people from the Seacoast area. Beth has been telling stories on the stage for about 10 years and producing Long Story Short since 2015. But that's not where her storytelling experience began. She has diverse writing experience as well, having worked as a journalist, columnist, corporate communications specialist, and most recently as founder and content strategist for the content marketing company Good Content, where she writes for a wide range of businesses. 

January 26, 2022 - Leslie Fitzpatrick

Photo Leslie Fitzpatrick at a dig site with rock drawings in background

Leslie is a Lecturer of Anthropology at the University of New Hampshire where she is involved in various fields of research involving archaeology, bioarchaeology, forensic anthropology, and stable isotope biogeochemistry. She earned her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Wyoming in 2017, and--since learning is a lifelong process—she is currently earning a Master’s in Public Health in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of South Florida. Leslie’s current research focuses on stable isotope biogeochemical methods for tracing mobility and assessing diet of individuals within the archaeological record as well as those from modern forensic cases. She is an active research member of the Trans Doe Task Force, which is dedicated to identifying previously unidentified individuals who may be transgender or gender variant.

March 9, 2022 - Seacoast Outright

Seacoast Outright logo

"For over 28 years, Seacoast Outright has pursued its mission to serve, support, and advocate for LGBTQ+ youth in New Hampshire, Southern Maine, and Northern Massachusetts. As a nonprofit organization, Seacoast Outright offers support groups, annual pride celebrations, and educational programming. Learn more at:

As part of educational programming, Seacoast Outright’s Educational Outreach Team offers a newly revised LGBTQIA+ Cultural Proficiency Training for community organizations, schools, and businesses! These 90-minute interactive trainings are provided by two trained presenters, introducing foundational LGBTQ+ terms and concepts (gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, etc.) and exploring how the queer experience intersects with other identities. Presenters also share practical strategies for being a good ally within your own community. For more information, please email"

March 23, 2022 - Jill Thorson

Photo of Jill Thorson

Jill is an Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of New Hampshire and received her PhD from Brown University in 2015 in Cognitive Science. She studies how children learn language, looking at the melody and rhythm of speech (called prosody) and how it impacts successful communication. Jill also explores how language acquisition varies in children with autism spectrum disorder and children with childhood apraxia of speech. This work aids in earlier diagnosis and improved assessment and intervention. She is Director of the Communication, Acquisition, and Translational Studies Laboratory (CAT Lab) at UNH where she works with undergraduate and graduate students in running studies that examine language development in young children.

You can check out the Dr. Thorson’s CAT Lab here!

April 6, 2022 - Opioid crisis in NH
Tym Rourke

Headshot of Tyme Rourke, smiling!

Tym is a Senior Director at Third Horizon Strategies, a boutique healthcare advisory firm based in Chicago. Tym is a seasoned health philanthropy and policy professional with over 16 years’ experience in substance use and mental health disorder prevention and treatment, coalition building, policy and advocacy, and civic engagement.

Tym previously served as a Director at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, where he provided leadership on the foundation's largest philanthropic initiative and guided strategic investments in areas such as early childhood education and care, family and youth support, substance use disorders services, and educational pathways to build the future of New Hampshire's workforce. Tym also served eight years as the chair of the New Hampshire Governor’s Commission on Substance Use, advising state and national elected officials on issues of behavioral health and health policy, and leveraging public investment to increase access to prevention, treatment, and recovery services. Tym founded the NH Providers Association and several other nonprofits. He has extensive experience advising individual and institutional donors, community stakeholders, entrepreneurs, and leaders at the local, state, and national level on best practices in behavioral health, and transforming health care systems to improve access and quality.

Tym earned a master’s degree in Intermodal Expressive Arts Therapy from Lesley University and a bachelor’s degree in theatre from Emerson College.


Current Participating Schools:

New Hampshire Maine
Coe Brown Northwood Academy, Northwood Noble High School, North Berwick
Dover High School, Dover Traip Academy, Kittery
Prospect Mountain High School, Alton  
Winnacunnet High School, Hampton  
Epping High School, Epping  
Past presentations and discussions:

The Election 
Poetry Slam
Taiko Drumming
Being Black in Maine
350NH (climate change)


Dreams of the Brain
Gay Marriage
The Art of Mime
Galileo - Living History
Civil Liberites and National Security

Animal Sanctuaries
The Bee Crisis
Herion/Opiate Issue
The Real Science of GMO's