Students, professors plan unique summer research projects

As the spring 2016 semester comes to a close, several Trinity students are gearing up for summer. Many students will be staying on campus during the summer to conduct research with professors. During the year, students can be approached by professors or can apply in certain departments. The students chosen to do research receive a stipend and on-campus housing for the summer.

Zeina Zayat, a sophomore biochemistry and molecular Biology major, is conducting research with Steven Bachrach, a professor in the chemistry department. Zayat conducted research with the same professor last year.

“My research is a lot more trial-and-error, and I’ll be inferring conformations and binding energies of host and guest chemistry of two cycloparaphenylenes,” Zayat said.

Zayat applied his freshman year with the chemistry department to do research, and asked  Bachrach to return again for research this summer.

“I’m looking forward to developing my knowledge in chemistry and being able to apply it to the real world,” Zayat said.

Sasha Faust is another sophomore doing research over the summer, but this research will be conducted with Jessica Halonen from the art department. Faust will be researching the history of the color blue.

“The research specifically covers the discovery of Prussian Blue, the first synthetic blue,” Faust said.

Faust had originally planned on doing research with the philosophy department, but realized she was more interested in visual art. Faust went through the application process this year, as she took philosophy classes abroad in Hong Kong last summer. Faust is currently undecided, but wants to do “an interdisciplinary second major that looks at the intersection of the arts and academia.”

As for this summer, Faust is looking forward to developing her own pieces and spending time learning about this specific area of art, as well as spending time with other Trinity students conducting various types of research.

Katie Groke, a junior, is doing research with the communication department. Groke will be working with communication professors Jennifer Henderson and Aaron Delwiche, and fellow junior Robyn Wheelock; they intend to create a full length comic book. She was approached by Henderson in the fall semester and was immediately on board with the project.

“They have given Robyn and I free rein, and the project is completely in our hands,” Groke said. She called this both exciting and terrifying.

Most of the brainstorming will be done during the summer, but the comic will have feminist themes, focusing on female friendship and empowerment.

“I have always enjoyed drawing cartoon characters, whether they were my own or copies of my favorite characters from shows,” Groke said.

Inspiration for the project came Delwiche’s course on comic books in American culture, though both Wheelock and Groke were fans of comic books before taking the course.

Students interested in studying at Trinity over the summer should contact the chairs of their departments to learn more information about research. Trinity offers a wide range of subjects for students to study, and allows for immense creativity from each student researcher.