Students present summaries of research and summer internship


Last Friday, September 17, students from all disciplines had the chance to showcase their research and summer internships. President Suzanne Rivera and Provost Lisa Anderson-Levy addressed and welcomed the students. Students presented summaries of their internship experiences and posters of their research in a science fair-style exhibit.

“This is my first time attending this event,” said Rivera. “I am delighted to see how many of these projects involve deep and meaningful collaboration with community partners.

Macalester Career Exploration hosts the event every year. This year’s topics ranged from graphing the ability to predict air pollution based on neighborhood income to local internships with art collectives to telling inmate stories.

Erin Leary ’23 conducted campus research on perovskite solar cells this summer for the Department of Physics and Astronomy. They told the fair that, like graphene entrepreneurship, their research holds promise for the future of solar power generation. However, the underlying process of perovskite contains lead, so the manufacture of perovskite may need to be improved upon in further research, Leary said.

Sun Tun ’22 and Julia Ricks ’22 studied dinosaur and turtle eggshells collected at a site in Montana. They spent most of the summer looking for amniotic samples of fossil layers.

Daniel Chechelnitsky ’22 presented a poster on his internship for Flutter, a promising mobile application for calculating user health risk. He said he got his internship by meeting a professor in the mathematics, computer science and statistics department and mentioning his interest in summer programs.

Thanks to a Facebook group, he was then able to apply for many different internships, including this one.

“Don’t be afraid to contact the faculty,” Chechelnitsky said. “There are lots of opportunities for you to get financing. “

Macalester generally works to familiarize students with internship and research opportunities, but this was difficult last year due to the pandemic. The research showcase in 2020 was online only.

Acting dean of the faculty and vice-president of strategic initiatives, Dianna Shandy, wrote in an email to The Mac Weekly that the online version of the showcase had been very well received, so they continued with an event. hybrid in 2021.

“A new adaptation for 2021 was the inclusion of digital posters, in addition to traditional paper posters,” Shandy wrote.

Macalester’s summer research programs are funded by various donors. The WM Keck Foundation awarded Macalester a grant of $ 500,000 in 1997 to support summer research collaborations between students and faculty in any discipline.
A portion of this price was the core funding for the program. This was then offset by additional grants to create an endowment of $ 1.2 million.

Today there are more than a dozen different summer research funds reserved for certain types of projects, major or thematic depending on the donor’s objective. These funds allow students to undertake full-time paid research positions in collaboration with faculty while also becoming eligible for free on-campus housing over the summer.

A call for research proposals is sent out to professors towards the end of the fall semester to solicit funding requests that will take place later this year. The strategic planning and analysis committee ranks the applications and makes recommendations to the president for funding, after which students and faculty are notified if their proposal is approved.

The website of the Macalester 2021 Summer Showcase is now updated to show student summer work.


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