2018 SUMMER RESEARCH PROJECTS

About Summer Research

Conducting research with a faculty member is an important opportunity. Not only do you develop a close mentoring relationship with a faculty member and dive deeply into a subject, you gain important skills that open doors for careers in a variety of disciplines. Summer research can be the springboard to honors, graduate school and career. Some summer research students present their work at regional or national professional conference; some even publish their work.

Summer research students spend part of their summer on campus working intensively with a faculty member. The amount of time and start date vary with the project. Please pay careful attention to the start date and project duration. Students receive housing on campus and a weekly stipend of $450. Each student produces a short written summary of their research and a poster to be presented at the Summer Research Symposium during Parent and Family Weekend, Saturday, September 29, 2018.

How to Apply

  • Read project descriptions and identify the project(s) that interest you.
  • Meet with the faculty mentor to discuss details and ask questions.
  • Identify two HWS references.
  • Complete one application for each project to which you wish to apply. You may apply to as many projects as you like, but you must complete an application for each project that interests you.

Deadline for student applications: Friday, February 2, 2018

Students will be notified of placement by the end of February. You must commit to a project no later than Friday, March 16, 2018.


Biology

Chemistry

Finger Lakes Institute

Geoscience

Psychology

Sociology

Spanish and Hispanic Studies

Theatre

Women's Studies



BIOLOGY

Audubon Seabird Restoration Program

HWS students have the opportunity to participate in the internationally-recognized Audubon Seabird Restoration Program (Project Puffin). ASRP operates 7 island stations along the Maine coast as critical seabird sanctuaries. Interns work under an Island Supervisor, participating in all aspects of seabird (i.e. tern and puffin) management, including conducting population censuses, monitoring productivity and growth; conducting diet studies; banding and resighting birds; removing invasive vegetation; and assisting with predator management. Interns live on an island for the summer. Food and supplies are delivered every 2 weeks. In a seabird colony, the birds are loud and defensive. Living conditions are primitive. A cabin/wall tent serves as the base of operations, and interns sleep in tents on platforms. Field stations have limited electricity, propane stoves, composting toilets, and no running water. Cooking, cleaning, and camp maintenance duties are shared by all island team members.
Mentor: Mark Deutschlander
Project Duration: 12 weeks
Start Date: May 23
Flexible Start Date: none
Minimum Qualifications: Applicants should have a strong background/interest in field biology and/or environmental science and conservation biology. THIS INTERNSHIP IS AVAILABLE TO GRADUATING SENIORS AS WELL AS OTHER STUDENTS
Preferred Qualifications: Preference will be given to applicants who have completed multiple courses in biology and/or environmental studies. Also, camping experience and some knowledge of bird identification are preferred.
Apply here

Drug development of anti-cancer agents

Students will determine the effectiveness of synthetic analogs as cancer inhibitors. Experiments may include tissue culture work, cell viability assays, enzymatic activity assays, fluorescent microscopy, Western blot analysis, and protein studies. Results will direct new compound development.
Mentor: Patricia Mowery
Project Duration: 8 weeks
Start Date: TBD
Flexible Start Date:
Minimum Qualifications: BIOL 167 completed.
Preferred Qualifications: Experience with molecular approaches and techniques are preferred but not required. Completed or currently enrolled in Cell Biology or Cancer Biology preferred but not required. Completed or currently enrolled in Organic Chemistry I/II preferred but not required.
Apply here

Investigating the evolutionary history of milkweeds in North America using genomic tools

Milkweeds (Asclepias) are a recent rapid evolutionary radiation that has resulted in diversification of more than 120 North American species. Milkweeds are known for coevolution with monarch butterflies, which are able to sequester the plants’ toxins for their own defense. Resolving the evolutionary relationships in this radiation is necessary for understanding the evolution of defense and other traits, but has been difficult using traditional approaches. This study will investigate the genomic evidence for the evolutionary relationships among Asclepias species through simultaneous targeted sequencing of 700+ nuclear genes and chloroplast genomes followed by phylogenomic analyses. The research student will focus on bioinformatics and data analysis, but there may be an opportunity to gain wet lab skills, including DNA sequencing. The student project may focus on questions involving phylogenetic relationships, morphological character evolution, genome evolution, or species delimitation.
Mentor: Shannon Straub
Project Duration: 9 weeks
Start Date: May 17
Flexible Start Date: none
Minimum Qualifications: BIOL 167 and one additional BIOL course
Preferred Qualifications: Preferred background courses include one or more of BIOL 215, BIOL 220, BIOL 222, or BIOL 228.
Apply here

Resolving the evolutionary history of milkweeds and dogbanes: Insights into biochemical pathway evolution

Milkweeds and dogbanes (Apocynaceae) comprise the 10th largest family of flowering plants, and are best known for their secondary metabolites that mediate interactions with insect herbivores. Multiple insect lineages have evolved mechanisms to tolerate these toxins, sequester them to make themselves unpalatable to predators, or even use them in mating pheromone synthesis. Resolution of plant evolutionary relationships is required to understand secondary metabolite biochemical pathway evolution. Evolutionary relationships will be investigated through simultaneous targeted sequencing of 800+ nuclear genes and chloroplast genomes followed by phylogenomic analyses. Research students will acquire lab skills, including DNA extraction and sequencing, and gain bioinformatics and data analysis experience. Student research questions may address phylogenetic relationships, conflict between nuclear and chloroplast genomes, use of genetic data to resolve taxonomic questions, or molecular evolution.
Mentor: Shannon Straub
Project Duration: 9 weeks
Start Date: May 17
Flexible Start Date: none
Minimum Qualifications: BIOL 167 and one additional BIOL course
Preferred Qualifications: Preferred background courses include one or more of BIOL 215, BIOL 220, BIOL 222, or BIOL 228.
Apply here

Linking movement personalities to dispersal and colonization in a woodland salamander

This project is part of a research program of Professors Cosentino and Droney to understand how forest fragmentation affects the evolution of movement behavior in red-backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus). In landscapes of the Northeast, timber harvest and subsequent reforestation has created extensive variation in the age, quality, and connectivity of forest patches. The students will conduct a field experiment to test whether colonization of artificial forest plots depends on individual differences in movement behavior. Students will gain experience with experimental methods and wildlife sampling at the Hanley Field Preserve and Finger Lakes National Forest. Students will also conduct behavioral observations in the laboratory and gain experience with animal care. Interested students should read our recent paper in Animal Behavior for more background information before applying.
Mentor: Bradley Cosentino
Project Duration: 8 weeks
Start Date: May 28
Flexible Start Date: up to June 4
Minimum Qualifications: Strong work ethic and interests in behavior, evolution, and conservation biology. Must have a driver’s license.
Preferred Qualifications: Biology major.
Apply here

Examining responses of biodiversity to grassland restoration in the Chihuahuan Desert, New Mexico

Shrub invasion has led to the loss of grassland habitats in arid landscapes throughout the world. This project will involve investigating how biodiversity and ecosystem services respond to attempts to restore desert grasslands in the Chihuahuan Desert of southern New Mexico. The student will participate in experimental studies to understand how shrub encroachment affects predator-prey relationships of desert mammals. The student will also contribute to an experiment to understand dispersal constraints affecting site colonization by banner-tailed kanagaroo rats, a keystone species. This position requires field work to be conducted in New Mexico. The student will be based in Las Cruces, NM and will work closely with researchers at the Jornada Experimental Range. Travel and housing costs are covered as part of this position. The position is for 12 weeks.
Mentor: Bradley Cosentino
Project Duration: 12 weeks
Start Date: May 21
Flexible Start Date: none
Minimum Qualifications: Strong work ethic and interests in wildlife conservation and ecology are essential. Must be enthusiastic about conducting field work in rural, arid landscapes and able to withstand harsh conditions (e.g., desert heat). Must have a driver’s license.
Preferred Qualifications: Biology major.
Apply here

Testing potential cancer inhibitors

Students will be testing a potential anti-cancer compound, Xyzistatin, that was synthesized by Organic Chemistry II students and Prof. Justin Miller’s lab. Some cancer cells appear to develop resistance to Xyzistatin and we hypothesize that the resistance accompanies changes in gene expression. Resistant and non-resistant cancer cells will be cultured with Xyzistatin. RNA will be isolated at different times during culture and used to make cDNA. PCR will be used to detect changes in cDNA levels for specific genes. Students will be responsible for all aspects of the research including: cell culture, experiment set-up, RNA isolation, cDNA creation, and PCR. Students will also have the opportunity to test new compounds synthesized by Organic Chemistry II students.
Mentor: Sigrid Carle
Project Duration: 6 weeks
Start Date: July 9
Flexible Start Date: none
Minimum Qualifications: Completion of BIOL 167.
Preferred Qualifications: Prefer students with knowledge of molecular techniques such as running gels and setting up PCR, and completion of either genetics or cell biology.
Apply here

Conservation genetics of pocket gophers in the midwestern U.S.

The plains pocket gopher (Geomys bursarius) is a burrowing mammal found across the Great Plains of the U.S. Because of its limited dispersal ability, there are several disjunct populations across the geographic range that may benefit from conservation efforts. Subspecies and distinct populations are eligible for protection under state and federal law, but population genetic analysis is needed to help identify subspecies and population boundaries. The student will use a suite of genetic markers to examine the population structure of G. bursarius. This is a laboratory-based project, and the student will gain experience with DNA extraction, PCR amplification, genotyping, and statistical analysis of population genetic data.
Mentor: Bradley Cosentino
Project Duration: 8-12 weeks
Start Date: June 5
Flexible Start Date: May 21-June 11
Minimum Qualifications: Strong work ethic and interests in wildlife conservation, evolution, and genetics are essential.
Preferred Qualifications: Biology major and completion of one of the following courses: Genetics, Population Genetics, or Behavioral Ecology.
Apply here

Behavioral variation in response to ecologically stressful conditions: implications for conservation biology

This project involves experimental laboratory and field research in behavioral ecology and animal behavior of eastern woodland salamanders from the Finger Lakes National Forest (FLNF) and the Hanley Preserve. We will study differences in “personality-based” responses (how an animal behaves in response to stressful conditions) to stressful conditions and how personality differences influence a species response to human-induced changes in habitat. Students will work as part of a larger research team that will also include students from Prof. Cosentino’s lab. Students will help construct experimental enclosures (both in the lab and field at Hanley and the FLNF), perform behavioral observations, record and help analyze data, participate in lab discussions, and be involved in general fieldwork that involves collecting salamanders. Opportunities also exist for students to be involved in publication of results from our research.
Mentor: David Droney
Project Duration: 8 weeks
Start Date: May 28
Flexible Start Date: up to June 4
Minimum Qualifications: Interest in experimental biological research
Preferred Qualifications: Biology or intended biology major; driver's license is helpful.
Apply here

Various projects at Cornell University/New York State Agricultural Experimentation Station (NYSAES)

Interested in an exciting research experience working with an international team of scientists, graduate students, and undergraduates while using a variety of cutting-edge techniques? You will gain invaluable research experience whether your goal is medicine, graduate school, a science job post college, or just to learn if you want to work in science. Projects will be completed in the laboratories of the Cornell University/NYSAES in Geneva over 8 weeks, and students will live on the HWS campus. Projects may involve applied ecology, bioinformatics, disease control, food science, gene expression, genetics, horticulture, insect behavior, microbiology, molecular biology, or pathology. Click here for the research program. You will need to complete both the HWS application and the one at the Cornell website. Previous HWS research student projects can be viewed here.
Mentor: Patricia Mowery
Project Duration: 8 weeks
Start Date: May 30
Flexible Start Date: Dependent on Mentor
Flyer: 2018 Summer Research Scholars Program
Apply here

Invasive fish ecology and dispersal (Biology/FLI)

Research will be focus on learning more about the Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus) and its invasion into and throughout the Finger Lakes. Its invasion into the Great Lakes has changed the available benthic prey for native fishes, but its impact on Cayuga and Oneida Lake ecosystems is not yet known. The research student will conduct a number of lab experiments as well as assist with field collection in a variety of locations around the Finger Lakes. Feeding trials in the lab will be set up to determine Round Gobies preferred prey types and foraging rate on benthic as well as pelagic prey. Fieldwork will include collecting both fish and invertebrates using a variety of techniques to both prepare for feeding trials as well as determine further dispersal of gobies into Seneca Lake. Field work will occur across the Finger Lakes and its tributaries. The results of this project will gain new insight into the Round Goby’s feeding ecology and trophic level in the aquatic food web.
Mentor: Susan Cushman
Project Duration: 8-10 weeks
Start Date: May 29
Flexible Start Date: flexible
Minimum Qualifications: The student applicant must have taken at least one 200-B level Biology course by the start of the summer research period. They must also have a willingness and tolerance for conducting fieldwork in potentially buggy, hot, and humid conditions for potentially long days and carry heavy equipment. Student must be organized, responsible, motivated and work efficiently. Time will be spent in both the lab and field, and the student will have to work independently, and as well as part of a team.
Preferred Qualifications: Course experience in Aquatic Biology, Behavioral Ecology and/or General Ecology is preferred. A driver’s license is preferred but not required. The position could be extended to 10 weeks if the student is interested.
Apply here



Chemistry

Developing New Synthetic Methods in Heterocyclic Chemistry

The objective of this research is to design and develop new synthetic methods that can be utilized to prepare heterocycles with demonstrated biological activity. This summer, we will work on two projects: (1) synthesis of indole-substituted pyrrolinones and furanones for drug discovery (in collaboration with Professor Patricia Mowery); and (2) directed arylation of tetramic acids and tetronic acids.
Mentor: Erin Pelkey
Project Duration: 8 weeks
Start Date: TBA
Flexible Start Date: 1
Minimum Qualifications: Two semesters of chemistry
Preferred Qualifications: Two semesters of chemistry that includes some organic chemistry
Apply here

Effects of Cellular crowding on Enzymes

Our lab aims to better understand how enzymes behave in their native environment: the cell. Cells are inherently crowded. We mimic this densely packed environment with sugar polymers that behave like syrup, but are interested in exploring more realistic options.. We have even used egg white for this purpose. In the presence of these crowders, we use absorbance to measure the kinetics of specific enzymes, such as alcohol dehydrogenase and citrate synthase. On a daily basis, students will be making solutions (and buffers), working with their hands (pipetting), using instrumentation (UV/Vis), analyzing data using Excel, and consulting the literature to better understand their results.
Mentor: Kristin Slade
Project Duration: 8 weeks
Start Date: May 14
Flexible Start Date: few days
Minimum Qualifications: Chem 190 or 120(280) completed
Preferred Qualifications: Likes using Excel and has experience with micropipetting (a want not a need)
Apply here

Synthesis and Characterization of Molecular Wire Candidates

Students will synthesize organometallic complexes that may find application in molecular device technology. These complexes will then be characterized by a number of spectroscopic techniques. The properties of these materials will vary with their composition but they will be investigated and tested for their electronic properties.
Mentor: Christine de Denus
Project Duration: 8 weeks
Start Date: May 14
Flexible Start Date: one week
Minimum Qualifications: Students must have completed at least one year of chemistry by May 2018. Seniors are not eligible to apply.
Apply here

Endocrine Disruption in Minnows in the Finger Lakes Region

A wide range of pollutants are similar enough to estrogen to disrupt normal endocrine activity and can even stimulate egg production in the gonads of male fish (testis-ova). This has been demonstrated to occur in many streams and lakes all over Europe and North America, but surprisingly no one has investigated the phenomenon in the waters of the Finger Lakes region. We are pursuing a project in which we use Blacknose Dace (Rhinichthys atratulus, a minnow abundant in Finger Lakes) as a bioassay preparatory to designing strategies for chemical analysis of the water for xenoestrogens. Students will participate in all aspects of the program: catching and dissecting fish, processing the tissue, preparing and evaluating microscope slides, writing their results.
Mentor: Walter J. Bowyer
Project Duration: 8 weeks
Start Date: June 4
Flexible Start Date: few days
Minimum Qualifications: Have completed at least one year of college, including at least one semester of chemistry.
Preferred Qualifications: One semester of biology.
Apply here

Investigating Interactions that Facilitate Biofouling in Water Purification

Water purification is becoming increasingly crucial as the world population rises and access to drinkable water decreases. Desalination, a process of converting undrinkable water into a useable resource, utilizes membranes and high pressure to separate pure water but is inefficient due to membrane fouling, the restriction of membrane pores. The effect of solution chemistry, like pH or salt concentration, on the fouling that occurs in the presence of proteins is one way this complex issue can be broken down into a smaller workable model system. Research in my group is two pronged: we are using hemoglobin and BSA to investigate the role of membrane type, salinity, and pH on biofouling while also synthesizing specialty peptides that allow us to study more carefully the interactions between biomolecules during fouling. There is opportunity for organic synthesis as well as work that will involve making many different biochemical solutions and testing them in the desalination simulator.
Mentor: Elana Stennett
Project Duration: 8 weeks
Start Date: May 29
Flexible Start Date: flexible
Minimum Qualifications: Chem 190 or Chem 120(280) if interested in desalination aspect; at least Chem 240 if interested in organic synthesis
Preferred Qualifications: For organic synthesis, I would preferred if they have also had Chem 241.
Apply here

Solid-Phase Synthesis of Cysteine-Containing Potential Anticancer Compounds

Students will synthesize potential anticancer chemotherapeutics using synthetic methodology developed in the Miller laboratory. The methodology is based on solid-phase resins capable of supporting the synthesis of peptidic molecules containing at least one cysteine residue. Along with the synthesis of potential anticancer agents, these resins will find a range of applications involving efficient synthetic routes towards other valuable, biologically relevant targets and their analogs.
Mentor: Justin Miller
Project Duration: 6 weeks
Start Date: May 14
Flexible Start Date: none
Minimum Qualifications: Two semesters of chemistry: 110/120 (or 110/280, using the old course numbering), or 190/240. Note that organic chemistry (240/241) is not a requirement.
Preferred Qualifications: Interest in organic chemistry research; career goals in STEM.
Apply here

Spectroscopic and Computational Studies of Naturally Occurring Molecules

The goal of this work is to better understand the structure and intermolecular forces found in naturally occurring molecules. Students will perform FTIR studies of fragrance molecules and heterocycles found in petroleum. These studies will be facilitated by use of a newly constructed matrix isolation cell that operates at 10 K. Spectroscopic studies will be bolstered with computational studies that will be performed using supercomputing resources.
Mentor: Josh Newby
Project Duration: 6 weeks
Start Date: June 7
Flexible Start Date: one week
Minimum Qualifications: Two semesters of college level chemistry
Apply here



Finger Lakes Institute

Water Quality Research in the Finger Lakes

Students will work with FLI staff members on a variety of applied research across the Finger Lakes addressing nutrient levels, dynamics of algae and harmful algal blooms, and mercury cycling in zooplankton and fish. Positions will involve long days in the field from a variety of boats under all weather conditions as well as laboratory preparation and analyses.
Mentor: Lisa Cleckner
Project Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: June 4
Flexible Start Date: flexible
Minimum Qualifications: Course work in aquatic sciences
Preferred Qualifications: Rising Junior or above
Apply here

Mercury Levels and Fish Communities in the Finger Lakes

Students will work with FLI staff on a project assessing mercury levels in fish and invertebrates across the Finger Lakes . Positions will involve long days in the field from a variety of boats under all weather conditions as well as laboratory preparation and analyses.
Mentor: Lisa Cleckner
Project Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: June 4
Flexible Start Date: flexible
Minimum Qualifications: Course work in aquatic sciences, biology
Apply here

Aquatic Invasive Species Research in the Finger Lakes

Summer research student will investigate aquatic invasive species (AIS) within the Finger Lakes watershed. Utilizing various survey and control techniques, the summer research student will identify unique patterns of distribution, impact to the region, and develop pathway mitigation strategies. The student will work alongside other researchers and field crew in the Finger Lakes and be able to analyze data or create maps as appropriate.
Mentor: Lisa Cleckner
Project Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: June 4
Flexible Start Date: flexible
Minimum Qualifications: Course work in aquatic sciences, biology
Preferred Qualifications: Classes in social sciences
Apply here



Geoscience

Microclimates at HWS Hanley Biological Preserve

There is a strong relationship between small-scale atmospheric microclimates and biologically distinct habitats. Parameters such as temperature, atmospheric moisture, insolation, wind speed and direction, and precipitation all contribute to establishing a specific microclimate and an ecotone, a transitional zone between two distinct biological habitats. The current study will use data collected at the Hobart & William Smith Colleges’ Hanley Field Preserve during several transitional seasons (spring-summer and summer-autumn) to investigate microclimate variations between an open field environment and interior deciduous forest environment. Both meteorological and statistical analyses, as well as field work, will be incorporated into the research project. Coursework in meteorology is essential. Familiarity with SPSS is beneficial, but not necessary. Should have excellent oral and written communication skills and be willing to work within a collaborative group setting.
Mentor: Neil Laird
Project Duration: 8 weeks
Start Date: June 11
Flexible Start Date: none
Minimum Qualifications: Coursework in meteorology is essential. Should have excellent oral and written communication skills and be willing to work within a collaborative group setting.
Preferred Qualifications: Familiarity with SPSS is beneficial.
Apply here

High Impact Weather Downstream of Tropical Cyclones

Recurving tropical cyclones in the Western Pacific can lead to high-impact weather across the United States through the process of downstream development. These tropical cyclones transfer energy downstream via the upper-level jet stream and can have substantial impacts on the mid-latitude weather pattern. This project will utilize archived datasets to investigate several instances of downstream development that resulted in destructive weather in the United States.
Mentor: Nick Metz
Project Duration: 8 weeks
Start Date: June 11
Flexible Start Date: none
Minimum Qualifications: Must have completed GEO 182
Apply here

Origins

In studies of large-scale patterns in the history of life, much attention has been paid to extinctions. In the 1980s, this work revealed five episodes of exceptionally high extinction rate that are now widely recognized as the "Big Five" mass extinctions. Although similar data are available for the first appearance of species, little work has been done on this at the macroevolutionary level. The project will use exploratory statistics to look for patterns in this origin data.
Mentor: Nan Crystal Arens
Project Duration: 6 weeks
Start Date: May 14
Flexible Start Date: flexible
Minimum Qualifications: GEO 184, ability to work independently, comfort with Excel spreadsheets and quantitative work.
Preferred Qualifications: GEO 230, GEO 290 and experience with statistics.
Apply here

Diversity of shelly fauna of San Salvador reefs 150,000 years ago and today

The reefs of San Salvador island in the Bahamas are dominated by algae, rather than coral. One hypothesis for this is low abundance and diversity of grazing marine invertebrates. We will use the shelly fauna as a proxy for grazers more broadly and compare their abundance in modern reefs with those in preserved fossil reefs on the island.
Mentor: Nan Crystal Arens
Project Duration: 6 weeks
Start Date: May 14
Flexible Start Date: flexible
Minimum Qualifications: GEO 299—Geology of the Bahamas
Preferred Qualifications: GEO 184 and experience in paleontology
Apply here

Watershed/Lake Hydrogeochemistry in the Finger Lakes (Geoscience/Environmental Studies)

Hydrogeochemical/water quality problems like the recent onset of the harmful blue green algal blooms in the Finger Lakes will be investigated in Seneca and Owasco Lakes, and their watersheds, but the effort also includes a survey of the neighboring Finger Lakes. The projects involve a significant amount of field and laboratory work, at times in inclement weather, and are in cooperation with staff and students at the Finger Lakes Institute, other science (drone flights & sensor arrays) faculty and other watershed protection agencies.
Mentor: John Halfman
Project Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: flexible
Minimum Qualifications: Some background in geoscience, chemistry, biology and/or environmental science and willingness to work outside.
Preferred Qualifications: More background in geoscience, chemistry, biology and/or environmental science and willingness to work outside.
Apply here

Microbiota of the M. Devonian Onondaga Limestone

The Onondaga Limestone records the environmental history of middle Devonian time in New York, southern Ontario, and parts of Michigan. Macrofossils within the Onondaga are well studied; however, the microbiota of this ancient sea is less well known. Sporadic research shows that marine algae are present, but no research includes the Onondaga in the Finger Lakes. We will identify potential productive outcrops of Onondaga, collect samples, and then microscopically analyze petrographic slides to seek and identify microbial benthos or plankton inhabiting this ancient sea. Students will investigate sampling locations, assist in sampling, conduct a literature review on the history of microbial studies of the Onondaga and similar ancient environments, and conduct a systematic analysis of materials preserved in the prepared chert samples.
Mentor: David Kendrick
Project Duration: 6 weeks
Start Date: May 14
Flexible Start Date: flexible
Minimum Qualifications: GEO 184, ability to work independently, attentive to detail
Preferred Qualifications: GEO 184, GEO 290, BIO 222 or equivalent, experience with microscope
Apply here



Psychology

Motivated Reasoning and Intergroup Relations

The HWS Social Psychology Lab has several ongoing lines of research about social communities and how they relate to the way people think about facts, emotions, and each other. The research assistant will be working on several related projects at various stages of development. One major task will involve analyzing already-collected data and preparing the results for publication. Then, based on these results, we will be designing new studies for the next stage of the research process. This will involve searching, reading, and writing about the psychological literature, creating and compiling experimental stimuli and questionnaire measures, and writing scripts for research assistants to follow during data collection.
Mentor: Emily Fisher
Project Duration: 6 weeks
Start Date: May 21
Flexible Start Date: flexible
Minimum Qualifications: Must have a reasonably strong statistics background - PSY 210 or equivalent. Must be able to stay disciplined while working independently.
Preferred Qualifications: Additional psychology background, especially in social, cognitive, cultural, or personality psychology, is helpful (but not essential if the student is a fast reader and willing to get up to speed at the start of the project).
Apply here

Mindfulness in the Real World

The student would help me collect data in the community on how trait mindfulness is related to health and well-being.
Mentor: Jamie S. Bodenlos
Project Duration: 6 weeks
Start Date: June 1
Flexible Start Date: flexible
Minimum Qualifications: Upper level research courses, interest in health psychology
Apply here



Sociology/Entrepreneurial Studies

Social Entrepreneurship in Geneva NY

This project seeks to explore the Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) model as it applies to social entrepreneurship activities for underprivileged youth. ABCD seeks to identify and develop community, organizational, and individual assets as an avenue for social mobility. We will work with the Boys and Girls Clubs and other Geneva agencies to understand and hopefully catalyze collective and individual resources. The research will test outreach methodologies, communication strategies, and how best to mentor and collaborate. This should result in a co-authored paper.
Mentor: Jack Harris
Project Duration: 8 weeks
Start Date: June 1
Flexible Start Date: flexible
Minimum Qualifications: Some experience with community-based research and/or service learning.
Preferred Qualifications: Eagerness to work with young people, engagement in community-based research.
Apply here

Gendered division of labor in undergraduate group projects

Collaborative pedagogy is widely used in undergraduate education, but students often resist group work, and instructors commonly report using a wide range of tactics designed to manage free riders and other problems with the division of labor. Such reports generally do not examine whether and how students’ experiences with collaborative pedagogy vary by gender, nor connect students' experiences with group work to the theoretical and empirical literature on the interactional, ideological, and contextual factors that reproduce gendered inequality in paid and unpaid labor. This project will examine 263 students’ self-assessment narratives written at the conclusion of a month-long group project. The research assistant will help with quantitative (using SPSS) and qualitative (using NVivo) analyses of students’ accounts of their own and their fellow group members’ particular contributions to the group project.
Mentor: Renee Monson
Project Duration: 6 weeks
Start Date: May 14
Flexible Start Date: few days
Minimum Qualifications: Declared major in sociology Passed SOC 211 or SOC 212 with grade of C+ or better
Preferred Qualifications: Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better Demonstrated familiarity with SPSS and/or NVivo platforms
Apply here

Developing instructional materials for NVivo

NVivo is a qualitative data analysis package commonly used in social science research. Instructional materials for this platform that are written at the level of undergraduate students are limited. The student research assistant will work closely with the supervising faculty member to develop instructional materials suitable for intermediate-level courses in sociology, including Soc. 211 (Research Methods).
Mentor: Renee Monson
Project Duration: 6 weeks
Start Date: May 14
Flexible Start Date: few days
Minimum Qualifications: Declared sociology major or minor Completed SOC 211 with a grade of C+ or better. Prior exposure to NVivo
Preferred Qualifications: Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better Completed one or more courses in Education Department with a grade of C+ or better.
Apply here



Spanish and Hispanic Studies

Spanish for the Professions textbook

While many textbooks about specific uses of Spanish, such as Spanish for Medical Purposes and Business Spanish, have been published in recent years, more general ones regarding Spanish for the professions have disappeared. Liberal Arts Colleges need the latter, as they often do not have enough students to offer a separate course for the use of Spanish in each specific profession. My research assistant would help me develop a textbook about Spanish in various careers by searching for and locating relevant news articles, finding appropriate images, acquiring permission for the use of copyrighted materials, and expanding on my ideas for activities. The student would learn methods for writing an effective and engaging textbook, would fine tune research skills, gain experience with copyright policies, and expand his/her knowledge of Spanish.
Mentor: Caroline Travalia
Project Duration: 7 weeks
Start Date: June 18
Flexible Start Date: flexible
Minimum Qualifications: Having completed at least one courses at the 200 level in the Spanish and Hispanic Studies Department.
Preferred Qualifications: Having completed at least one courses at the 300 level or higher in the Spanish and Hispanic Studies Department.
Apply here



Theatre

Smith Opera House at 125, an historical study

2019 marks the 125th anniversary of the Smith Opera House. I will conduct archival research to write a cultural history of the first 125 years of the theatre. The research will also culminate in a script for an immersive theatre experience, which will function as the gala event for the Smith’s anniversary. Students working on this project will: Explore the cultural history of Geneva and how its largest performance venue intersected with its civic, religious, military history as well as how elements of class, race, gender have impacted the use of the building over the last century and a quarter. Cultivate archival research skills, delving into archives at the Historical Society, Finger Lakes Times, City of Geneva, HWS, and Smith Opera House. Utilize digitized research resources, namely in the shape of newspapers. Transform archival research into a creative project by contributing to the writing team for the immersive performance experience.
Mentor: Chris Woodworth
Project Duration: 6 weeks
Start Date: June 4
Flexible Start Date: few days
Minimum Qualifications: 1. Background in theatre, music, dance, or film studies and the ability to apprehend the differences between the various performing arts forms and their unique histories. 2. Prior use of Research Databases at HWS, namely those that feature historic newspapers. 3. Completion of a course that has utilized archival research (physical or digitized) as part of a large research project.
Preferred Qualifications: Theatre major or minor who has successfully completed THTR 100 (Page to Stage) and at least one upper level Theatre course involving archival research such as THTR 320 Theatre History II or THTR 424 Writing About Performance.
Apply here



Women's Studies

Critical Nutrition in Practice

This is an ongoing research project in the field of 'critical nutrition.' Critical nutrition is a subfield of critical food studies that explores how bodily nourishment takes place within uneven socio-cultural, political, and material contexts. This project uses ethnographic methods like interviewing and focus group activities to consider how some of the theories of critical nutrition can be brought into practice through concrete actions within particular communities. Students working on this research project will help to analyze (and possibly produce) qualitative data.
Mentor: Jessica Hayes-Conroy
Project Duration: 8 weeks
Start Date: June 4
Flexible Start Date: later
Minimum Qualifications: Students must have some experience with qualitative methods/methodologies.
Preferred Qualifications: Familiarity with ethnographic research methods/methodologies, feminist and food studies scholarship. and community-based research are all preferred.
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Applicants should speak to the faculty sponsor(s) for the project(s) before submitting their completed application to arens@hws.edu.

 

Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.