Amber, aliens & the American diaspora

Liza Hudock ’12 presents her research on the Great Depression to Don Schilling, professor of history.

Curtis Veggie, on the West Quad, is typically the place for special banquets. But on this particular September day, the menu was philosophy and political science, anthropology and art, economics and English, as scores of 2010 Summer Scholars served up healthy portions of the research they produced over the preceding months—a delicious intellectual feast for a room full of fellow students, faculty, and other curious visitors. (Note: the symposium’s cuisine for the day drew from the humanities, social sciences, and fine arts; science projects were presented the previous week.)

Students often use their Summer Scholar opportunities to pursue research in their majors. Philosophy-economics double major Mara Wilber ’11 undertook a philosophical examination of justice and health care. English major Allison Kranek ’11 studied images of teachers in children’s literature. And Steven Proffit ’11, who majors in political science, analyzed American citizenship in a global world.

But sometimes they like to spend time on other interests. For example, Harry Brisson ’11 is a political science and economics double major (and student body president), but he researched the saxophone and some of its musical influences.

Often, the projects inform the students about life after Denison. Sociology/anthropology major and Spanish minor Belkis Schoenhals ’11 examined the acculturation of Hispanics in Columbus — she’s now decided that she wants to pursue work in this area after graduation.

The big umbrella of Denison’s Summer Scholar Program holds more than meets the eye. As Steven Berlin Johnson, best-selling author and keynote speaker of Denison’s 2010 Spectrum Series noted, “One of the key sources of good ideas is the time to work on special projects.” In this context, the warm months spent on campus doing research is time well spent, indeed.

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