Summer Scholars Program Draws Largest Group Ever

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

PHILADELPHIA (June 7, 2011) - While most students have traded rigorous academic work for relaxing on the beach, 101 undergraduates have given up their vacation to remain on campus at Saint Joseph’s University as members of the Summer Scholars Program. A record number of students will engage in faculty-mentored research and creative projects in departments associated with both the College of Arts and Sciences and the Haub School of Business.

The program, which runs for 11 weeks from May until August, requires students to work exclusively with a faculty member to produce a written description of their research that will be published by the University, and to present their findings next spring during the Celebration of Student Achievement event. For their work, students receive a stipend of $3,200, on-campus housing, and the opportunity to participate in social and educational programs.

Research topics range from local and national issues in the sciences, business, education and history to extended analysis of literature and fine arts.

Summer Scholar Jessica Kesler, a rising senior chemistry education major, and Anna Feairheller, a rising graduate student working toward a master’s in chemistry education, will work with Jean Smolen, Ph.D., associate professor of environmental chemistry, on their topic, “Investigation of Water Quality in the West Philadelphia Area, Relative to the Belmont Water Supply.” Kesler and Feairheller will test the water supplies of Cobbs and Indian Creeks, which have been traced to the main water supply in West Philadelphia, and compare the concentrations of metal and inorganic substances found in the water to tap water at Saint Joseph’s, which has already gone through the chlorination and filtration process.

“Summer Scholars provides a great opportunity for students to get hands-on experience in the lab,” says Kesler. “During this time faculty and students work together on research projects, and students can begin to formulate their own research initiatives that lead in the direction of their future aspirations.”

Inspired by the new law that requires food chains to post the calories of products on their menus, Corinna Noel, a rising junior Mathematics major and McNulty Scholar, will research how the new legislation factors into consumer choices. Surveys will help Noel with her project, “Calorie Posting on Menus: Does Gender, Age, and Education Level Impact Consumer Choices?” under the direction of Richard George, Ph.D., professor and Gerald E. Peck Fellow of food marketing.

“I have never done a research project of this proportion before so the availability of the SSP at SJU has given me the opportunity to experience this,” says Noel. “Dr. George has been really great during the whole process. He has given me critical responses to my ideas, suggested articles for me to read, and allowed me to steer the project in the way that I want.”

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