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Research is an integral part of undergraduate education in all of Colby's academic divisions. Major grants from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and other sources have expanded opportunities for students to engage in research in Colby's laboratories and classrooms as well as in the field. Students in the natural sciences are encouraged to participate and present their research at national meetings of science organizations such as the American Chemical Society, American Physical Society, the Geological Society of America, and the Society for Neuroscience. Students in the social sciences have worked on national and international projects supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Ford Foundation.
Colby Undergraduate Research Symposium
The Colby Undergraduate Research Symposium is held each spring for students to present their work to a broad audience. Begun in 2000 under a grant from the National Science Foundation, the symposium now encompasses departments and programs from across the curriculum. The symposium and associated sessions have grown steadily since their inception and most recently included more than 500 student authors and co-authors.
The IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) is a $17.8-million program funded by the National Center for Research Resources and the National Institutes of Health to advance biomedical research in Maine. In the network, Colby and six other undergraduate institutions in Maine collaborate with Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory and The Jackson Laboratory to augment and strengthen Maine's biomedical research capacity for students and faculty.
In the 1950s the Colby faculty created the Senior Scholars Program to give students an opportunity to devote significant time to a major project in their senior year. Students who want to explore a single topic in depth can earn eight credit hours for independent research under the guidance of a faculty tutor. Each senior scholar makes a presentation in the spring, and successful project reports become part of the Colby library's permanent collection.
During the school year and in the summer, students may be retained as research assistants to work side-by-side with faculty members on projects. Opportunities include laboratory experience, social science research, artistic production and performance, and academic research for publications or scholarly presentations in any discipline. The College has numerous endowed research fellowships for students, and members of the faculty receive competitive grants that include funding for research aides.