Summer Research at Bowdoin

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Student Research

Students Share Research ... and Pizza

Story posted July 20, 2005

students in seminar
Student researchers listen as Keirnan Willett '07 describes his summer field work studying microbial ecology in Merrymeeting Bay.

Biology major Rebecca Selden '06 finishes her 10-minute PowerPoint presentation about sea urchin growth and lets out a deep breath.

"I hope I made some sense," she says, as 30 students and faculty members stream out of the Kanbar Hall classroom into the summer sun. "I was a little nervous about presenting last."

Before Selden's turn in the spotlight, two other students presented talks on their faculty-mentored research: Thu-Nga Thi Ho '07 highlighted ongoing research on lobster neuro-peptides; and Keirnan Willett '07 spoke about his involvement in a new collaborative study of microbial ecology in Merrymeeting Bay.

Their talks are part of a weekly lunchtime series in which summer research fellows in neuroscience and biology share details of their work. The sessions regularly draw a crowd of students and faculty, eager to get a break from their labs and learn about other research.

The free pizza doesn't hurt either.

"It's really interesting to see what other people are doing in their labs," says Selden. "We'll be able to follow the research as it goes along - even when school starts - and it creates a nice sense of camaraderie during the summer."

Selden is one of over 100 Bowdoin students doing research on campus this summer, much of which is supported through Bowdoin's Research Fellowship Program. For some, the faculty-mentored work is their first exploration of intensive research and fieldwork practices, while others use summer work to continue research begun during the academic year or to launch honors projects.

Associate Professor of Biology Barry Logan says the sessions offer "superb practice for students in giving talks. It's also a good exercise for them to make sure that they fully comprehend their experimental system. It motivates them to analyze their data carefully so they have something meaningful to present."

Other talks include subjects as disparate as the evolutionary genetics of the dwarf mistletoe and neuro-regeneration in crickets. Student-research talks also take place at the Coastal Studies Center on Orrs Island.

The lunch talks are open to the public and take place on Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. at Kanbar Hall. For more information, call Julie Santorella, 725-3582.

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