Presenting Scientific Research – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Presenting Scientific Research

Among the host of academic, athletic, and social events that took place during Homecoming weekend, Saturday marked the student presentations at the Summer Research Symposium held in the Vandervort Room.

Christine de Denus, associate professor of chemistry and organizer of the Summer Research Symposium, was proud of the students’ hard work. “The Summer Research Symposium is a long-standing tradition,” she explained, “This year 60 students did summer research projects, 18 of whom are presenting today.”

Each year, interested and motivated students apply for faculty-advised summer research projects, typically within the academic department of their major. The students who are chosen spend the summer working either one-on-one with a professor or in a small group. The projects, which help the students develop highly-coveted research skills, also help the specific faculty members expand on their scholarly interests.   

The research projects presented on Saturday ranged in subject from psychology, to chemistry, to geoscience.

Psychology major Maddy August ’11 presented on the topic of “Ethnic Differences in the Association of Mood and Anxiety Disorders with Obesity.” Assistant Professor of Psychology Jamie Bodenlos was August’s faculty adviser for the project.

“Maddy got to see everything that goes into a psychology research project,” said Bodenlos, “even the process of making submissions to journals.” August also began drafting a NIH grant for a new study on health behavior change in first-year students. “This experience will undoubtedly help Maddy as she applies to post-graduate programs,” added Bodenlos.

Several of the students involved in the Summer Research Symposium also recently presented their research elsewhere. Wendi Bacon ’12 and Salvador Forte ’11, for example, traveled to Orlando to present their findings on the “Measurement of Heterogeneous Reaction Rates” at the Pitticon 2010 conference. At the conference Bacon and Forte, who did their research under the advising of Professor of Chemistry Walter Bowyer, had a chance to learn about the research of other students from around the nation. “It was like a petting zoo for scientists!” Bacon exclaimed as she recalled her experience at the conference.

Many of the research projects spiked the students’ interests in particular topics, opening doors for them to further their research. Laura Carver Dionne ’13, a geoscience major, spent her summer researching “Nutrient Loading from the Three Major Tributaries in the Seneca Lake Watershed” with Professor of Geoscience John Halfman. Through the experience she gained while working on the project, Dionne learned about the different career paths that a geoscience major can take. Now hooked on the topic of her research, Dionne is spending this semester continuing research with Halfman as an independent study.


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