Real-World Research

Autumn 2019

A cross section of summer projects


Molecular biology major Rebecca Gowen ’19 studied seasonal affective disorder (SAD), specifically how chronic levels of cortisol can be a biological marker of SAD. The study’s participants included two populations at high risk for SAD in upstate New York: a Karen population that relocated from Myanmar to Utica and a local population in Hamilton, primarily of Caucasian-European descent.


Chris Burke ’21 focused on the intersection of climate change and Western security. His research looked at melting sea ice in the Arctic and the resulting security dilemmas — military buildup, resource competition, and contested shipping lanes. Burke interviewed military leaders and scholars of Arctic security. 


Neuroscience major Tali Filstein ’21 conducted research on early biological and behavioral markers of autism. The Infant Screening Project at Boston Children’s Hospital is trying to find markers of autism that can be used to diagnose children at a younger age. Filstein assisted with the testing of the subjects. 

Other projects included:

  • Caio Rodrigues Faria Brighenti ’20, from São Paulo, Brazil, developed a computer model to detect the textual properties of fake news.
  • Mayzie Potton ’22, from Kenai, Alaska, led a storytelling workshop for students in Alaska and southern Africa.