Sweet Briar Honors Fellows have Work Cut Out for Summer

| April 22, 2008

The Sweet Briar College Honors Committee has awarded Honors Summer Research Program fellowships to 11 students for the summer of 2008.

The competitive program provides fellowships to a select group of students each year to support independent research projects. Participants work with a faculty supervisor during eight weeks of intensive, focused research. Students and faculty also present their work in a series of seminars held throughout the summer term.

The program begins May 19 and runs through July 11. Faculty and staff are encouraged to attend the seminars. A schedule will be posted on the HSRP Web site at a later date.

This year’s recipients and project overviews are:

Carolanne Bonanno ’09, a studio art student, will research the process and execution of the photographic bromoil process, in which prints are made from 35mm film, bleached, and then inked. The goal of the project is to experiment with the process and produce a portfolio of prints. Her faculty sponsor is assistant professor of studio art Paige Critcher.

Petra Dacheva ’09 is working with assistant professor of economics Eugene Gotwalt to research using microfinance to defeat global poverty and empower women. Other points of interest include its effect on the Human Development Index. The research also will focus on new ways microfinance can expand in the future.

Maxine Emerich ’10 will work with Scott Pierce, assistant professor of engineering, to build a robot to develop nano-technology films related to engineering program director Hank Yochum’s research.

Laura Hanold ’10 will try to synthesize 3(2H)-furanones and study their photochemical properties. Hanold’s idea is based on a recent discovery of inotilone, a chemical that has been found to be a selective inhibitor of the enzymes cyclooxygenase (COX) and xanthine oxidase (XO), which are responsible for inflammatory responses in rheumatoid arthritis and gouty arthritis, respectively. Her sponsor is assistant professor of chemistry Abraham Yousef.

Katelyn James ’11 will work on a new method for increasing the performance and efficiency of turbomachineries, which is under investigation by Dorsa Sanadgol, assistant professor of engineering. The method involves the use of an electrostatic boost mediated by an electric field internal to a compressor system. Sanadgol is her faculty sponsor.

Anthropology student Brittany Patterson ’09 will examine several pieces of art intended for display in a 2008 African art exhibit in Pannell Gallery. Her research will focus on the interpretation and representation of the religious and mythological significance behind the pieces, which were created by the Dogon people of Mali. She is working with visiting assistant professor of anthropology Kimberly Dukes.

Cynthia Roden ’10 plans to use empirical data and economic theory to examine the economics of suicide. She will use data from different countries or U.S. counties to determine variables that influence suicide rates. Economic theory will be used to supplement the data and explain relationships. Eugene Gotwalt is her faculty sponsor.

Lara Slough ’10 notes that little is known about the biology of the deep sea-dwelling elasmobranch, Scyliorhinus retifer, also known as the chain catshark. She plans to study the histology of the species, focusing on the digestive system. She’ll examine the tissues of the major digestive organs of several specimens and compare the results with published studies on the spiny dogfish. She will be working with associate professor of biology John Morrissey.

Jessie Waitt ’09 also will work with Morrissey, comparing and analyzing placoid scales from different areas of a shark’s body to determine if predicted variation is present. Waitt will look at catsharks of different ages and both sexes.

Laurel Watts ’09 plans a sociological study of fundamentalist Christian conservatives and evangelicals as a subculture. Debbie Kasper, assistant professor of sociology, is her sponsor.

Elizabeth Zuckerman ’09 will write and revise a novel about Ophelia, the heroine of “Hamlet,” told as an autobiography from childhood through the events of the play. Sweet Briar’s Banister Writer-in-Residence, Carrie Brown, is her sponsor.

For more information about Sweet Briar’s Honors Summer Research Program, visit the Web site.

Category: Honors