Campus News

Bowdoin Wins Grant for Second Summer of Coastal Studies Research

Story posted December 21, 1999

Bowdoin College has once again won national recognition for the interdisciplinary teaching technique used at the Coastal Studies Center on Orr’s Island. Bowdoin is one of only three colleges in the country to win a second round of funding from the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) and the Alice and Leslie E. Lancy Foundation.

Last year, Bowdoin was one of six colleges, out of 104 applicants, to win a grant to fund fellowships that allowed 15 students to spend the summer in Maine doing independent research. The initial grant was for $50,000.

This year, Bowdoin asked for and received $25,000 to fund summer research fellowships for another 10 students. The College is contributing $33,000 to cover the full cost.

In receiving funding for a second year, Bowdoin’s program has been recognized as a success. Students who participated last summer were enthusiastic about the experience, saying it gave them a unique opportunity to try their hand at real research, and to work alongside other students who were attacking vastly different research problems.

Two students decided to change and expand their majors as a result of new interests they developed during the summer project. And half have continued their research as a basis for senior honor theses or independent study projects this year.

Working with a faculty mentor, students designed projects in a variety of disciplines, including biology, history, environmental studies, religion and English. They worked independently most of the time, and met weekly as a group to discuss their progress with other students and professors.

Peter Lea, associate professor of geology and an organizer of the program, plans to expand the offerings in the future. Students will have the opportunity to participate in a collaborative speaker and seminar series during the 2000-2001 academic year, and administrators from the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum and the Bowdoin College Museum of Art have expressed interest in being mentors for students researching topics in those fields.

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