By Jordan Finger
On Wednesday, Sept. 11, the MUSE program introduced the College to its finalized research projects with an open forum poster session.
Most undergraduate students at the College did not spend their summers collaboratively researching with professors, yet every student could get a peek at a diverse array of topics and approaches to research.
“Students engaged in immersive scholarly or creative projects full time during the eight-week program with intensive mentoring and interaction with a faculty mentor to enrich our scholarly community on campus,” said Benny Chan, director of the program.
Applicants’ proposals were scored out of seven on three rubrics: intellectual merit, role of student(s) and role/qualifications of mentor. The cutoff this year was five or six in each category to qualify, according to Chan. This means that proposals were evaluated based on intellectual merit by the MUSE committee.
Though research was essential to the heart of the program, students did not spend all of their time reading or in labs.
Chan and the MUSE committee organized social activities and provided students with career development workshops concerning networking, résumé writing and job searching. Establishing “a community that cares about everyone’s research,” according to Chan, was imperative for a successful research program.
“It is lots of fun to work with faculty and to get deeply engaged in your work,” Chan said. “You learn a tremendous amount from your mentor and may find yourself establishing a meaningful relationship with the professor. I still talk to my undergraduate mentor.”
Even more so, topics ranged quite tremendously across disciplines.
Senior biology major Sarah Hirsh and senior sociology major Jessica Scardino, for example, searched for relationships between photography, local art and relief efforts following Hurricane Sandy, while secondary education double major Matthew Ritsko set out to design a board game to replace or supplement a standard middle school social studies curriculum.
Attending the MUSE poster session allowed onlookers a peek at just how much goes on behind the scenes at the College. Those not participating were still able to deeply experience, discuss and debate the wonderful array of projects by coming to this year’s session.