At Colby, professors are more than just teachers. They collaborate and connect with students in and out of the classroom. Students work with faculty to conduct research, they discuss global affairs over coffee, and they bond over shared cocurricular and extracurricular interests.

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  • Student researchers will continue to study wing polyphenism in soapberry bugs, conducting sophisticated genetic experiments alongside Assistant Professor of Biology David Angelini, who was recently awarded a prestigious NSF CAREER Award for $800,000 ($160,000 a year for five years) to continue the soapberry bug research.
  • Presidential Scholar Thomas Thornton ’17 collaborated with Professor of English Peter Harris on a research project that began with the design of a website, aggregating information about mindfulness and meditation at Colby and other colleges. Thomas’s research led to a prestigious grant from the National Science Foundation (thanks to a suggestion from Professor of Computer Science Bruce Maxwell) to take part in a summer program at the University of Oregon, applying techniques from software engineering and network analysis to improve the Robot Operating System.
  • Professor of Anthropology Catherine Besteman has included students in her research on Somali Bantu refugees in the United States. Students produced a website, The Somali Bantu Experience: From East Africa to Maine, and an award-winning museum exhibition at the Museum L-A in Lewiston-Auburn.
  • Students in the Theater and Dance Department’s Performance Lab Series collaborate with theater and dance faculty members each spring to investigate the craft—analyzing a creative research topic and presenting findings on stage.
  • Presidential Scholar Dylan Cincotta ’17 coauthored a paper with Associate Professor of Chemistry Kevin Rice. The paper shows how the experimental drug laromustine, used in clinical trials to treat leukemia and brain cancer, can inhibit the formation of new blood vessels to tumors.
  • Russ Wilson ’14 coauthored an article with Kenan Professor of Government L. Sandy Maisel for the New England Journal of Political Science. The article’s title is “Unconventional Wisdom: The Future of Presidential Nominating Conventions.”
  • A paper coauthored by Assistant Professor of Psychology Jennifer Coane and psychology graduate Chelsea Stillman ’10 was named Editor’s Pick in the February 2014 issue of Memory & Cognition. The article, “The Effects of Healthy Aging on the Mnemonic Benefit of Survival Processing,” incorporates honors thesis research conducted by Stillman during her time as a research assistant in Coane’s Memory and Language Lab.
  • A paper coauthored by Assistant Professor of Psychology Erin Sheets and psychology graduate Morganne Kraines ’11 has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Individual Differences. Titled “Personality Disorder Traits as a Moderator of Poor Social Problem-Solving Skills and Depressive Symptoms,” the paper incorporates research conducted by Kraines, the first research assistant in Sheets’s Emotion and Mood Lab.
  • Associate Professor of Cinema Studies Steve Wurtzler has set up a variety of edgy film events for students on campus and at Common Street Arts downtown.
  • Librarian Marilyn R. Pukkila, who teaches the Religious Responses to Harry Potter Jan Plan course, hosts weekly dinners in Foss for the pop-culture club Istari.
  • Sustainability Coordinator Kevin Bright taught a noncredit enrichment course on sustainability. Two students got their LEED certification as a result.
  • Associate Professor of German Arne Koch is involved with the Colby Strippers, a diabetes awareness club on campus.
  • Professor of Computer Science Bruce Maxwell plays violin in the Colby Symphony Orchestra.
  • Every varsity sports team has a faculty advisor. Joe Atkins, visiting assistant professor of psychology, works closely with members of the football team, acting as a mentor and confidant.
  • Ben Mathes, professor of mathematics, leads autumn canoe trips on the West Branch of the Penobscot River.
  • Computer Science Professor Bruce Maxwell practices with the Colby swim team.
  • Rabbi Rachel Isaacs invites students to her home every other week for Shabbat lunch.
  • Dana Professor of Music Steve Saunders and Cotter Professor of Government  Kenneth Rodman are in a regular rotation of squash matches versus students and other faculty and staff.
  • Associate Professor of Classics Kerill O’Neill is a member of the club water polo team.
  • Katz Professor of History Raffael Scheck holds his own in pick-up soccer games with students.
  • Miselis Professor of Chemistry  Whitney King organized an ice-fishing expedition with students.
  • Crawford Professor of Religious Nikky Singh invites students to her home for authentic, home-cooked Indian cuisine.
  • MacArthur Professor of Sociology and African-American Studies  Cheryl Townsend Gilkes shares her love of gospel music on her radio show, The Uncloudy Day, every Wednesday over Colby’s WMHB airwaves and website.
  • Scores of Colby faculty and staff members serve as host parents for international students.
  • Professors dine with students on campus at foreign-language tables and as part of the Philosophy Department’s Reuman Reading Group.
Professors remain connected to students beyond their time on Mayflower Hill—they help with grad school applications and even officiate alumni weddings. Read more here.