Students and faculty in the Summer Science Program stand on the steps outside Jefferson building

Summer of science nets students research, career opportunities

September 14, 2017

More than 40 undergraduate students participated in Clark’s Summer Science Research Program, which featured weekly lectures and mentorship by faculty.

“One of the many positive aspects of this program was the bringing together of students, and faculty, from very different fields,” says Denis Larochelle, associate professor of biology and director of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program, who leads the summer program with Deborah Robertson, Warren Litsky ’45 Endowed Chair and professor of biology.

Lecture topics throughout the summer included the research process and best practices (presented by John Magee, assistant professor of computer science, and Néva Meyer, assistant professor of biology); science communication (John Gibbons, assistant professor of biology); peer review and publishing in the sciences (Mark Turnbull, professor of chemistry); data presentation using figures and tables (Philip Bergmann, associate professor of biology); and networking and other career skills (LEEP Center staff).

The students received funding from the LEEP Center, Carlson and other departmental endowments, and a major national funding agency that wishes to remain anonymous. The students worked with faculty in labs on campus and with research partners at Boston UniversityWellesley CollegePCI Synthesis and elsewhere.

At the end of the summer, the students shared their research findings with each other and Clark faculty in a series of quick “elevator pitches.” The goal? To describe the significance of their research in an accessible way to those outside their respective disciplines.

“That the students could accomplish so much in such a short amount of time, and be able to explain it to others outside of their respective fields was not only informative but also very impressive,” Larochelle says. “I’m certain this experience will be a great asset to these students as they progress in their careers, and I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

Many of the students involved in this summer’s research are continuing their work in laboratories on campus during the 2017-18 school year.

At top, undergraduate students in the Summer Science Research Program worked with graduate students and faculty in science labs on and off campus.