School’s (Not Quite) Out for Summer: Scholars Pursue Summer Research

Thursday, June 8, 2017

by Jennifer Nessel '19

Instead of relaxing by the pool, 87 students from across campus are spending 10 weeks (May – August) in rigorous independent research as Summer Scholars.

Program director Jean Smolen, Ph.D., associate dean of mathematics, natural sciences and computer science, says that the program, now in its 12th official year, gives students the opportunity to work individually with faculty mentors on research projects that deepen their understanding of an aspect of their major course of study, or occasionally, a discipline that is new to them.

The program offers a competitive $3,200 stipend and scholars have the opportunity to live on campus with subsidized housing. This year, the program Involves 52 faculty mentors representing 22 disciplines. At the conclusion of their work, scholars are encouraged to showcase their projects throughout the upcoming academic year.

Just a few of the projects from both the College of Arts and Sciences and the Haub School of Business include the following:

  • Nathalia Benavides ’18, a chemical biology major from Weston, Florida, and Kathryn Hyduchak ’18, a chemical biology major from Jefferson Township, Pennsylvania, will both work with Smolen on projects focusing on contaminants and drinking water.
  • Margaret McGuire '18, a business intelligence and anlaytics major from West Chester, Pennsylvania, will work with A. J. Stagliano, Ph.D., professor of accounting, on her project, "Analyzing the Extent of Cybercrime Reporting in Reports to Shareholders in the the Retail Merchandisting Sector."
  • Elaine Estes '19, a Spanish major from Oxford, Pennsylvania, will work with Janine Firmender, Ph.D., assistant professor of education, on her project, “Dynamics of Gifted Education for Linguistiic Diversity.”
  • Ryan Martin ’19, a biology major from Webster, New York, will work with Karen Snetselaar, Ph.D., professor of biology, on his project, “Developing a Standard Protocol for Self-Pressurized Rapid Freezing of Specimens to Use for Electron Microscopy.”
  • Austin Sbarra ’18, a music and communications studies double major from Bel Air, Maryland, will work with Suzanne Sorkin, Ph.D., chair and associate professor of music, theatre and film, on his project, "Beethoven as a Blueprint: Using a Theoretical Analysis of a Beethoven Sonata as the Framework for Piano Composition.”
  • Alexander Velazquez '20, a risk management & insurance major, from Clementon, New Jersey, will work with Laura Crispin, Ph.D., assistant professor of economics, on his project, “The Equalizer of Opportunity: An Examination of Income’s Effect on Education.”

Although scholars will devote much of their time to research, the program also allows them to participate in various extracurricular activities to foster a spirit of community celebrating individuality and academic exploration.  

“The main motivation for students to spend their summer doing research is the value in the experience that they discover after discussing their projects with classmates and faculty,” says Smolen.

Expand this section