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Summer Collaborative Research

Collaborative student-faculty research is integrated within the Earlham academic curriculum, but for students who are interested in a more immersive experience, Earlham offers paid summer collaborative research experiences. Such projects permit students to pursue cutting-edge scholarship under the mentorship of subject area experts, review current literature in the field and present results at conferences including, Earlham's EPIC Expo as well as regional and national professional events.

Summer Collaborative Research (SCR) exposes students to authentic research and prepares them for their next steps after college, whether they choose to pursue graduate school or employment.

  • 98% of student participants report their SCR experience was career discerning
  • 96% of students believed their SCR project helped prepare them for a job.

"Doing CS related work all day for a month did make me realize that I love this field and I picked my major right. After the research, I am much more excited to go into the field and either work in the industry or conduct research."

– Ali Gokcelioglu '20 Computer Science research with Dave Barbella

Student-faculty research through SCR helps students understand the process of scholarship while learning discipline specific techniques and academic skills.

  • 98% of student participants learned new technological tools or techniques during their project (89% made sizeable gains).
  • 100% of students improved their problem-solving skills and 98% improved in critical thinking.

"Overall, this experience has been an incredible journey of becoming comfortable with academic research and scholarship. Not only that it gave me a further desire to dig into the areas of knowledge that I was not completely familiar with before the beginning of the research, but it also enabled me to work on my soft personal skills. Amongst many, it allowed me to effectively work in a group setting, to develop my communications skills, and to efficiently organize my working routine. All in all, the project was beneficial in a way that it widened the options for my college and career path."

– Jus Tavcar ‘22 Economics research with Rajaram Krishnan

Participants also build confidence and perseverance through engagement in student-faculty collaborative projects.

  • 58% of student participants felt they made large gains in their comfort with collaboration and teamwork.
  • 98% of students developed tolerance for facing obstacles from their experience.

"This research experience has done a lot to demystify the process of physics research for me. When I think about the type of problems physicists are trying to model and solve the idea of working on them myself often seems overwhelming. What I learned, however, is that the process of research, while challenging, is completely doable. You approach problems one step at a time, you talk about things with your advisors and peers, you read and reread relevant papers, and before you know it you cansolve problems of a quite high complexity level without it feeling like a gargantuan task."

– Micah Chabowski ‘21 Physics research with Seth Hopper

Earlham has offered collaborative research experiences during the summer since 1988. More than 375 students participated in projects between 2008-2019.

2019 Projects


Plant Physiology: Carbon Sequestration and the Evolution of Competitive Ability Dan Atwater with Hyunseong Ahn ’21, Evan Hill ’21, Amelia Richardson ‘22, Samuel Russo ’21 and Wesley Smith ’21

Bioinformatic Exploration of Codon Bias within Malaria Genomes and Phylogenetic Analysis of Regional Trematode Parasites – Peter Blair with Ruth Reichman ’22 and Abigail Zanatta ’22

The Effects of Bacteriophage Hybridization on Host Range – Lindsey McGee with Yazid Barhoush ’21 and Drenushe Krasniqi ’21

Ant Caste Determination - Chris Smith with Mahbuba Akhter ’21 and Sven-Erik Nilsson ’20

Examining Avian Malaria Prevalence along a Tropical Elevation Gradient in Papua New Guinea - Wendy P. Tori with Sam Pigott ’21 and Ian Shriner ‘21


Method Development for Chitin Content Determination in Crustacean Shells - Patrick Barber with Jared Ammon ’21 and Tyler Le ’21 (v)

Determining Lipid Vesicle and Exosome Size Distribution using NanoTrackJ - Kalani Seu with Spencer Owen ’20 and Isaiah Shake ’20

Continued Study of Mitsunobu Reactions Involving Cyclic beta-Hydroxy Tertiary Amines - Mark Stocksdale with Alec Bryan ’20

Synthesis, Characterization and Computational Modeling of Unsaturated Organometallic Complexes – Lori Watson with Ngan Nguyen ‘22, Grace Olive ’22 and Garris Radloff ’22

Computer Science

Integrating Semantics into Automated Analogy Detection - David Barbella with Ali Gokcelioglu ’20, K. Aditya Karan ‘ 20, Davit Kvartskhava ’21, and Phi Hung Nguyen ’21


Art of Pricing and the Pricing of Art - Rajaram Krishnan with Dong Cao ’22 and Jus Tavcar ‘22

Environmental Sustainability

Zero Waste Planning for Earlham - Jamey Pavey with Zachary Brake ’20, Melissa Ellas ‘22 , Madeline Gullion ‘21 and Trevor Marimbe ’22


Landscape Paleoanthropology of Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania - Cynthia Fadem with Ethan Thompson ’20

Searching for Tsunami Deposits in Maritime Canada – Andy Moore with Zoe Kerchen ’22 and Bibi Mohamed ‘22

Global Management

Brand Anthropomorphization and Line Extensions in Socially Responsible Sectors- Terrence Motsi with Hephzibah Okorie ’22 and Juana Maria Serna ’22


Race and Health Disparities: American Epidemics - Betsy Schlabach with Kofi Ayensu ’22, Ahmed Omer ’21 and Harrison Rice ’21 (McNair Scholar)


Assistant Conductorship for the San Gabriel Valley Choral Company – Alex Grabarchuk with Julian Sun ‘20


Perineuronal Nets in Long-term Memory - Michelle Tong with Starsha Davis ’21 (McNair Scholar), Tynan Gacy ‘20, Joshua Maclin ’21 (McNair Scholar), and Tyrique Richardson ’21 (McNair Scholar)

Physics and Astronomy

Numerical Techniques for Modeling Gravitational Waves – Seth Hopper with Micah Chabowski ‘21, Nhat Le ’20, Xingxin Liu ‘20 and Emmett Salzer ’21


Using Eye-Tracking to Understand Attention in Bullying Situations - Rachael Reavis with Robert Alba ’20, Rance Albert ’21 (McNair Scholar), Jerilyn Gillenwater ’20 and Thuong Nguyen ’22


Soundscapes of White Belonging – JoAnn Martin with Aza Hurwitz ‘22, Kiara Kamara ’22, Evan Saito ‘22 and Della Walters ‘20


summer research music 2019 

Contact Information

For more information on Summer Collaborative Research at Earlham, contact Sara Paule, Director of Sponsored Programs and Foundation Relations, at 765-983-1431 or email her at

Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts and sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

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