Colby College has a number of long-standing partnerships with a number of major research facilities and laboratories, as well as other educational institutions. These partnerships reinforce Colby’s dedication to fostering opportunities for undergraduate research and faculty development. On this page, we invite you to learn more about our partnerships and administered programs in the natural sciences.
THE BUCK ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE LAB
The Buck Environment and Climate Change Lab will connect students from many disciplines to organizations in Maine and beyond that are focused on these important issues.
Students will conduct research on Maine’s coast, lakes, and forests, working closely with faculty to understand changes to complex systems and the far-flung effects of those changes.
Their internships in organizations focused on environmental issues will be paid through the Buck Lab, and they will travel to and learn from leaders in the field.
These opportunities are made possible through the generosity of Trustee Sandy Buck ’78 and Sissy Buck, whose commitment to the next generation of environmental leaders inspired them to invest in this way.
PARTNERSHIPS AND ADMINISTERED PROGRAMS
CLARE BOOTHE LUCE PROGRAM
Since awarding its first grants in 1989, the Clare Boothe Luce Program (CBL) has become the single most significant source of private support for women in science, mathematics, and engineering.
Clare Boothe Luce (1903-1987), the widow of Henry R. Luce, was a playwright, journalist, U.S. ambassador to Italy, and the first woman elected to Congress from Connecticut. In her bequest establishing this program, she sought “to encourage women to enter, study, graduate, and teach” in science, mathematics, and engineering. Thus far, the program has supported more than 1900 women.
The Clare Boothe Luce Program at The Henry Luce Foundation supports women in science, mathematics, and engineering. Colby College is one of thirteen educational institutions specifically designated in Mrs. Luce’s will to receive grant allocations in perpetuity.
CURRENT CLARE BOOTHE LUCE PROFESSORS
Dr. Tasha Dunn, Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of Geology
Professor Dunn began her professorship with Colby in 2013. Her areas of expertise include meteorites, asteroids, the solar system, minerals, and rocks.
“My designation as a Clare Boothe Luce (CBL) Professor has been fundamental in providing the monetary support necessary to establish my research program. The CBL program also provides me with the opportunity to involve students in my research to a much greater extent than I otherwise would be able to.”
— Tasha Dunn, PhD
Dr. Alison Barner, Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of Biology
Dr. Barner’s research is at the interface of community ecology, marine biology, and global change science. She combines experimental and theoretical ecology, leveraging basic research to engage with conservation and policy issues.
Dr. Nora Youngs, Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Professor Youngs began her professorship with Colby in 2016. Her areas of expertise include computational algebra and applications of algebra and topology to mathematical neuroscience.
“CBL funding has made it possible for me to travel and work with collaborators across the country, and attend more conferences than I otherwise could. CBL has also permitted me to involve several students in my research program during the summers, and give them an insider’s view of mathematical research.”
— Nora Youngs, PhD
PAST CLARE BOOTHE LUCE PROFESSORS
(* indicates professor is still at Colby)
- Cathy Bevier (biology) *
- Cathy Collins (biology)
- Batya Friedman (mathematics)
- Jean Haley (biology)
- Lynn Hannum (biology) *
- Jan Holly (mathematics) *
- Rebecca Johnston (biology)
- Virginia Long (physics)
- Elizabeth McGrath (physics and astronomy) *
- Julie Millard (chemistry) *
- Shelby Nelson (physics)
- Valerie Reynolds (geology)
- Stephanie Schmidt (aquatic ecology)
- Jen Shosa (geology)
- Katherine St. Clair (mathematics)
- Judy Stone (biology) *
- Stephanie Taylor (computer science) *
- Andrea Tilden (biology) *
- Maureen Whalen (biology)
COLBY AT BIGELOW LABORATORY FOR OCEAN SCIENCES
Focused on ocean science within a changing global climate, the program covers topics such as microbial oceanography, marine biogeochemistry, the ocean’s role in the global carbon cycle, molecular approaches to biological oceanography, and pelagic ecology. Implications for public policy are explored within each topic.
CYBER INFRASTRUCTURE GRANT AWARD
Through their cyber-infrastructure program, the National Science Foundation will be investing in a campus pilot project to achieve higher levels of performance, reliability, and predictability for science applications and distributed research projects.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR COLBY AND MAINE?
Colby’s campus will now have a connection to the Maine Research Network, which connects it to high-performance computing facilities at the University of Maine and the research expertise and data resources at the Jackson Lab. The broader impact will be the reduction of barriers to effective collaborations in research and education by connecting multiple institutions with high-speed networks and enhancing the productivity of scientific research in Maine.
Network infrastructure is critical to enabling education and research in fast-moving fields. Teachers and students in classrooms, labs, and offices will be able to work with complex data associated with genomics or computational modeling together, in real time.
This pilot project will impact undergraduate programs in computational biology and genomics as well as research by current and new faculty in biology, chemistry, computer science, and statistics. The project will also directly impact faculty undertaking computational modeling and analysis in chemistry and physics and astronomy, and it includes initiatives to integrate computation into lab projects across the Natural Science division.
In addition, Colby undergrads will be better prepared to enter graduate programs and a workforce that is increasingly making use of computational methods in all facets of research and development. With this award, our students will have access to and a better understanding of how to make use of high-performance computational resources.
The humanities will play an even larger role in Colby’s expanding cross-campus and multi-disciplinary approach to the study of the environment.
A grant award from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has launched an environmental humanities initiative building on current and existing strengths, particularly with the College’s Environmental Studies Program, and establishing an innovative new research and teaching focus at Colby.
This new focus will bring artistic, cultural, ethical, historical, and literary perspectives to environmental topics and will enhance opportunities for faculty collaboration across disciplines and departments, linking courses and scholarship while supporting new curricular connections across the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.
UP EAST FOUNDATION ALLEN ISLAND PARTNERSHIP
Colby College is delighted to be working with the Up East Foundation and the Herring Gut Learning Center to explore collaborations that expand research and instructional opportunities for our students and the community on the Saint George peninsula using the facilities of Allen Island, Maine.
Among the first collaborations include:
A course where students will produce documentary short films about the lobster industry in Maine. These films will explore the lives of lobstermen, how they contribute to the economy, and how the industry has changed in recent decades. Allen Island will provide a distinctive visual setting for examining these issues—setting the scene for what it is like to live and work on mid-Coast Maine.
A project to build a long-term climate monitoring station on Allen Island and to use the island infrastructure to support a scientific research buoy to monitor water column properties, current, and sea state in Muscongus Bay. Muscongus Bay is a highly productive fishery located to the west of Allen Island. Rapid warming and ocean acidification is changing the ecosystem of the bay with potentially harmful effects on a major lobster fishery.
JACKSON LABORATORY: COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY
Colby researchers are exploring the boundaries of bioinformatics with scientists at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, using biological data to develop algorithms and relations among various biological systems.
Computational methods will be essential for translating a new understanding of how biological systems function.
PARTNERSHIPS IN BIOMEDICINE
A major research grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, one of the National Institutes of Health, is the third to fund the Maine IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE).
The grant funds supported Colby faculty research, summer research fellowships for students, short courses and Jan Plan research, conference expenses, and scientific equipment.
The grant also supported a multifaceted collaboration between Colby and the Mount Desert Island Laboratory (MDIBL) and 13 Maine institutions.