(Practically) Every Topic Under the Bowdoin Sun

Published by Jane Godiner ’23 and Rebecca Goldfine

Over 200 students have fellowships from Bowdoin this summer to pursue independent research with a faculty advisor. 

It is a treat for many students to stay on campus for a Maine summer, using this period of uninterruped time (and great weather) to focus on one area of study.

This year, the Office of Student Fellowships and Research saw a 30 percent increase in the number of applications for summer research funding. Director Cindy Stocks said the jump indicates that "Bowdoin students are hungrier than ever for these sorts of hands-on experiences."

An individualized research experience can have a significant impact on a student's trajectory. "Whether a student is interested in the humanities, the arts, the social sciences, or STEM fields, the opportunity to independently design a research project under the mentorship of a Bowdoin faculty member can be personally and professionally transformative," Stocks said. "Often these opportunities lead to honors projects, research presentations on and off campus, and even publications."

The student projects span the spectrum of the liberal arts, from Africana studies to biochemistry to theater and dance. While it was difficult to choose which ones to feature, we checked in on eight projects across the Bowdoin curriculum—in the visual arts, anthropology, economics, Arctic studies, Classics, math, cinema studies, and neuroscience.

Read the stories below by clicking on the students' names. 

Sarah Munoru with her Greek texts
Classics: Race in Greco-Roman Antiquity

Sarah Munoru ’23 received a Surdna Foundation Undergraduate Research Fellowship from Bowdoin to examine how the ancient story of Aithiopika opens a window into race in fourth-century Greece. This work, which she launched her sophomore year as a Mellon Mays Fellow, will help her as she writes a new translation of Aithiopika for her senior-year honors project. 

Zoe Becker
Economics: Correlations Between COVID Fatalities and Business Closures

Gibbons Summer Research Fellow Zoe Becker’s project, for which she is exploring the impact of COVID restrictions, death counts, and vaccination rates on Maine business closures, combines her preexisting work as an economics major with her curiosity about technology.

Meghan Gonzalez
Anthropology: The History of Midcoast Lobstering Industry
Meghan Gonzalez ’23, a recipient of the Freedman Summer Research Fellowship in Coastal and Environmental Studies, is combining her interest in anthropological research with her desire to forge a deeper connection with the Midcoast Maine community.
Aggie Macy maps
Arctic Studies: Tracking Indigenous Greenland
Aggie Macy ’24, one of Bowdoin’s Gibbons Summer Research Fellows, is devoting her summer to aiding the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum with its most recent undertaking: an interactive, touch-screen map displaying the evolution of place names and memory in Greenland throughout history.
Eduardo Mendoza
Cinema Studies: The Many Possibilities of the Long Take
At the same time as the world slowed down during the pandemic, Eduardo Mendoza ’24 became fascinated with the cinematic technique of the leisurely long take, in which a camera seemingly stays focused on one scene for many minutes without cutting away. He has a Roberts Research Award to study the "Use of the Long Take as Film Language."
Honeycutt's summer 2022 lab team
Neuroscience: Early-life Adversity's Long-term Effects
Eight students have fellowships to conduct research in the lab of Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience Jennifer Honeycutt this summer. In pairs of two, they're investigating the neurological and behavioral responses of young rats that experience the stress of maternal separation—work that could have important implications for understanding and treating humans who have experienced trauma as infants and young children.
Samara Braverman and Finn McGannon
Math: Historical Trends in Voting Cultures

Samara Braverman ’24 and Finn McGannon ’23 received research grants from Bowdoin (a Bowdoin Research Award and a Surdna Undergraduate Research Fellowship) to work with math professor Jack O’Brien this summer. They're analyzing election data to see whether regions in the US tend to vote in predictable patterns over time—and whether these patterns might upend our basic expectations of Republican/Democrat fault lines. 

Thais Carrillo on the museum steps
Visual Arts: Photographing (In)Accessibility at Bowdoin
Robert and Blythe Edwards Fund for the Arts recipient Thais Carrillo ’23 is spending her summer photographing the realities of disability at Bowdoin. She hopes the resulting exhibit will be a meaningful time capsule of the College's current accessibility status, as well as a motivator for other students to help establish a more inclusive and accessible campus.