The 12th annual Colby Undergraduate Research Symposium begins Wednesday, April 27, with presentations during the day and a keynote event at 7:30 p.m. in the Diamond Building. The keynote will feature three professors talking about research involving students. The three-day event, April 27-29, will see many hundreds of Colby students presenting significant projects as talks, poster presentations, and performances. All are open to the public.

“This is who we are. We engage students in research,” said Associate Dean of Faculty Michael Donihue ’79. “I think we do this as well or better than anywhere else.”

The research symposium was begun in 2000 as part of a National Science Foundation Award for Integration of Research and Education (AIRE) grant that recognized Colby’s ambitious research agenda as a model for undergraduate education.

Presentations are previewed in online abstracts that remain in the symposium’s archives.

This year’s keynote event will begin at 6:30 p.m. April 27 in the Diamond Building atrium with a reception and poster presentations by selected professors and their students. A dozen projects will be featured with opportunities to ask questions of the researchers.

At 7:30 p.m. in Ostrove Auditorium, Professors Catherine Bevier (biology), Debra Barbezat (economics), and Steven Saunders (music) will share insights as teacher-scholars working side by side with students doing research. Bevier will talk about studying an emerging pathogenic disease in frogs, Barbezat will explain her work on the disappearance of African-American jockeys 100 years ago, and Saunders will talk about the significance of undergraduate research following a performance by Celia Friedman Cowan ’11 of a flute sonata. Cowan edited a 1710 source to prepare Robert Valentine’s Sonata for Solo Flute, Op. 3, no. 10. “This is likely to be the first time that this work has been heard in almost 300 years,” Saunders said.

A sampling of research to be covered during the symposium:

  • The Great Garbage Gyres: Ocean Pollution Through the 20th Century (History)
  • ‘Pretty, Witty and Gay!’: Queer Counter Narratives in West Side Story (WGSS)
  • Arsenic In Chicken Feed: A Threat To Human Health (Environmental Studies)
  • Umpiring errors in cricket matches (Economics)
  • Remote Robotic Avatars (Computer Science)
  • Affluent Students’ Commitment and Motivation to Social Justice (Independent)
  • Characterization of Mutant CHMP2B-mediated Eye Deformities in a Drosophila Model of Frontotemporal Dementia (biochemistry)