Student Researchers Study Shakespeare, Other Diverse Topics

| May 23, 2008

If you ask Sweet Briar College student Liz Zuckerman about her plans for the summer, she’ll say they firmly entrench her in the “geek” category.

In addition to playing Benvolio in the Endstation Theatre Company production of “Romeo and Juliet” in July, Zuckerman will be writing a novel from the point of view of Ophelia, the heroine of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” for the 2008 Honors Summer Research Program.

“It’s the summer of Shakespeare,” the rising senior from Philadelphia said. “This cements my status as a geek even more.”

A rising senior with a double major in creative writing and theater, Zuckerman said her research project will give her the opportunity to get to know Ophelia, “to imagine what she might have to say, to attempt to give her a voice that Shakespeare didn’t give her,” and get her take on the political and social inner workings of Ellsinore.

“This is totally the theater geek in me,” she said.

On Thursday, May 22, Zuckerman and 10 other Sweet Briar students chosen for the Honors Summer Research Program gave short presentations about the projects they will be working on.

The eight-week projects, some of which will extend into the 2008-09 academic year, include everything from Zuckerman’s Ophelia novel to a survey of Lynchburg, Va., evangelicals. In all, eight departments and nine faculty members are represented.

The following is an overview of the other student projects:

    • Carolanne Bonanno ’09 will learn the techniques and nuances of a century-old photographic process called bromoil in the interest of creating fine art.
    • Petra Dacheva ’09 will study the method of implementing the power of microfinance to defeat global poverty and empower women.
    • Maxine Emerich ’10 will help develop a robot to assist in nanotechnology research.
    • Laura Hanold ’10 will study the photochemical properties of 3(2H)-furanones in an attempt to gain insight on the possibility of using these chemicals as anti-inflammatory medications.
    • Katelyn James ’11 will work to develop a new method for increasing the performance and efficiency of turbomachineries.
    • Brittany Patterson ’09 will study the art of the Dogon people of Mali, a project which will culminate in 2009 with an art exhibit and lecture series and her senior honors thesis in anthropology.
    • Cynthia Roden ’10 will develop an equation using socio-economic variables to predict suicide rates in U.S. counties.
    • Lara Slough ’10 will do an histology of the digestive system of sharks.
    • Jessie Waitt ’09 also will study sharks, particularly the placoid scales which distinguish one species from another.
    • Laurel Watts ’09 will examine the religious strength of the Lynchburg, Va., evangelical community and will attempt to explain its vitality with the Competitive Marketing Theory.

For more information on the Honors Summer Research Program, visit their Web site.

Category: Academics, Honors