Bluebirds and MoreGAMBIER, Ohio (March 28, 2005) Science students at Kenyon don't simply read textbooks and take classes. They "do" science-hands-on, in the lab. And among the most intensive "doers" are the Summer Science Scholars, who stay on campus through the summer months to tackle ambitious research projects in close collaboration with faculty members.
The 31 participants in the 2005 Summer Science Scholars program have just been announced. Their projects include topics in anthropology, biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, and psychology. A fellowship award of $3,000 supports each of the students, who take their projects from the planning stage, through experimentation, to the preparation of results for publication or presentation.
"Research at Kenyon has been amazing because it has allowed me to obtain a great deal of field biology experience," says biology major Lauren Kordonowy, Class of 2006, who comes from Clayton, Missouri. "And Summer Science has been invaluable because it has given me such great experience in formulating my own project and carrying it out."
This summer, Kordonowy will be continuing a project, begun during the Summer Science Scholar program in 2003, on "extra-pair paternity" in the Eastern bluebird-that's a technical way of talking about marital infidelity in this typically monogamous species. "I hope to find that an extra-pair paternity mating system could possibly account for the unusually male-biased sex ratio I found two summers ago," she says.
The immersion in the research process, which often entails long hours in the lab or out in the field, can help science majors make better-informed career decisions, notes Kordonowy's advisor, Jordan Professor of Environmental Science and Biology E. Raymond Heithaus. "If they decide to continue as practicing scientists," he says, "this experience is very important in gaining entry to the best graduate programs."
Summer Science projects may be funded by the College or through research grants obtained by science faculty members. Students may also apply for funding for supplies used in experiments.