As the rhythm of a new academic year takes hold, students who worked with faculty members this past summer were able to pause and share their research findings with peers and professors.
The third annual Ho Symposium on Student Summer Research held last month allowed nine students from each of the departments and programs housed in the Ho Science Center to share key research findings.
The projects ranged from an examination of zebra fish cells and possible implications for better understanding how stem cells develop, the role of community gardens in the nearby city of Utica, how exotic earthworms affect carbon dioxide flux, and determining Colgate’s carbon footprint.
Students spoke afterward about how they were able to focus exclusively on their research during the quieter summer months and how valuable the time was they got to spend working so closely with professors.
“You definitely get to know the professors in a different way, you get to experience going to dinner at their houses, experience a little more of their background life that you miss when there is so much going on during the school year,” said Hilary Nicholson ’12.
Nicholson spent the summer working with biology professors Catherine Cardelus and Timothy McCay, and she showed during her presentation some of the tools she used to study the forest “litter” and the role earthworms have on it and ultimately might have on carbon dioxide emissions.
J.T. Crepps ’10 said it was important for him to be able to work on a new confocal microscope that his biology professor, Jason Meyers, was able to secure with a $500,000 National Science Foundation grant.
“He put me in the driver’s seat. He wanted to see if I could use this microscope and work out how the program was functioning. It was a great experience to use an expensive piece of equipment that not many other liberal arts schools have access to,” said Crepps, who is studying zebra fish cells.
Not all of the summer days were spent inside the lab, said Nicholson.
“Being in Hamilton was fantastic over the summer. We had a really good time. The Fourth of July was amazing: very all-American … very cute. I really, really enjoyed it and I’m definitely considering doing it again next summer,” she said.