(Practically) Every Topic Under the Bowdoin SunPublished 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 ’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.
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.
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.