Even during the summer, Hamilton students kept busy pursuing projects that reflect their talents and interests. Some conducted research off-campus, or studied abroad; others focused on preparing for year-long senior fellowships or internships off-campus. Check out what some of our students did over the past few months.

James Frazier, Dewayne Martin, and Kelvin Nunez have been selected as 2023-24 senior fellows. Frazier will pursue a project that will focus on “Applications of Artificial Intelligence to Information Privacy;” Martin’s project is titled “On Livability: Activating the Power of Archival Agency in Miami;” and Nunez will study “Written, Auditory, and Visual Storytelling.” 

Senior Fellows spend the academic year conducting intensive individual research on a topic based on earlier coursework. The final project is comparable to producing a master’s thesis.

Sophie Crehan ’24, Dana Russell ’23, and Maddie Vavra ’23 presented original research at the Ecological Society of America conference in Portland, Ore., this summer. The students’ research was conducted in the plant-animal lab of Assistant Professor of Biology Peter Guiden, who noted that the students “presented at [the] conference alongside mostly grad students, academics, government agency workers, nonprofits, etc. Few undergraduates are able to muster enough research together to do this.” 

Dana Russell ’23, Sophie Crehan ’24, and Maddie Vavra ’23
From left: Dana Russell ’23, Sophie Crehan ’24, and Maddie Vavra ’23.

Vavra’s research investigated what rodents eat in winter and spring (a time not usually studied). They found that mice eat a large amount of invasive honeysuckle seeds during this time, which might mean that they play an unexpected role in slowing down the spread of this plant species. Crehan measured how many seeds fall into forests, helping us understand how forests regenerate. She found that the number of mature trees in a habitat doesn’t necessarily predict how many or which species of seeds are discovered, meaning that we can’t just look at the mature trees to guess what seeds are coming in. Russell did an experiment where seeds of eight tree species were exposed to different levels of stressful winter temperatures. She found that most species can tolerate moderate levels of stress, and in fact a little bit of stress actually increases the number of seeds that germinate.

Breeze Petty ’24
Breeze Petty ’24

Breeze Petty ’24 received a Critical Language  Scholarship (CLS) and traveled to Jordan this summer to study Arabic. She is a world politics and religious studies major from Wyoming.

The CLS Program provides opportunities for American college and university students to study languages and cultures essential to America's engagement with the world. It is sponsored by the U.S. Dept of State.

Corey Bravo Sloan ’26 received a New York Theatre Workshop 2023/24 Season 2050 Administrative Fellowship. Replacing NYTW’s internship program, the fellowship represents one of several NYTW initiatives to address the economic barriers that may prevent talented individuals from pursuing careers in the theatre. Sloan is an interdisciplinary major from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Deanna Durben ’25 conducted research this summer at the University of Virginia through Leadership Alliance’s Summer Research Early Identification Program (SR-EIP), in which she studied the effects of different descriptions on kids' dehumanization toward people with autism. The study found that using less dehumanizing/stigmatizing language caused kids to view autistic peers more positively. Durben’s duties included data analysis, designing a coding scheme for responses, and writing a paper. She also gave an oral presentation titled "Effects of (De)humanizing Descriptors on Children’s Essentialist Beliefs about Autistic People” at a national conference. 

Deanna Durben ’25
Deanna Durben ’25

(SR-EIP) is a paid summer internship that provides undergraduates with training and mentoring in the principles underlying the conduct of research and prepares them to pursue competitive applications to Ph.D. or MD-Ph.D. programs. The Leadership Alliance, founded at Brown University in 1992 as a partnership of 23 institutions, develops underrepresented students into outstanding leaders and role models in academia, business, and the public sector. 

Emile “Em” Vasquez Mejia ’24 is interning this semester at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank in Washington, D.C. An anthropology major from Hialeah, Fla., Mejia is participating in Hamilton’s Program in Washington. The Bipartisan Policy Center’s University Partnership Program began a collaboration with Hamilton’s Common Ground program earlier this year to encourage civil discourse and bring bipartisanship outside the beltway through robust intellectual exchange. Hamilton is the first liberal arts college to partner with BPC. 

Kai Haesslein ’24
Kai Haesslein ’24

Kai Haesslein ’24 and Assistant Professor of Physics Viva Horowitz spent July in the Alemán Lab at the University of Oregon. They conducted research on quantum emitters in both hexagonal Boron Nitride and nanocrystal diamonds. They also conducted related research at Hamilton this summer. Haesslein is a computer science and physics major from Rye, N.Y.


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