CURI celebrates a successful summer of interdisciplinary research on campus
St. Olaf College students, faculty, friends, and family filled the Tomson Hall atrium during the Collaborative Undergraduate Research and Inquiry (CURI) closing symposium on August 6.
For 10 weeks this summer, 118 student researchers participated in the CURI program, conducting research across disciplines and working under the direction of 35 faculty members. This year’s projects included work in every department in natural sciences and mathematics, as well as theater, music, Latin American studies, Asian studies, environmental studies, education, sociology/anthropology, and economics.
The symposium consisted of 62 presentations ranging from a “Machine Learning Classification of Somatic Mutations in Cancer Archival Tissues” (more on that project here) to “Qualitative Data Analysis of Visitor Reception Interviews from a Louisiana Historic Site” (more on that project here).
This year, students were able to live and work in person and on campus, an exciting return after the pandemic pushed nearly all of the summer 2020 CURI projects to either be cancelled or conducted remotely. Being on campus, students were able to utilize St. Olaf’s lab facilities, theaters, the Digital Scholarship Center at St. Olaf (DiSCO), and more.
“CURI has been an amazing opportunity not only to develop research skills that will prepare me for graduate education, but to forge strong connections with my faculty mentor and peers as we tackle challenging questions and problems,” says Ben Homan ’22, who worked alongside Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science David Walmsley to research “Hypercyclic Properties of Non-Convolution Operators” (more on that project here).
While students were able to be back on the Hill for research this summer, they weren’t confined to it. Some CURI teams were able to travel across the country to learn more, such as “Cold-water coral proxies for ocean change,” a project advised by Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies and Physics Anne Gothmann that took researchers to Seattle to visit Friday Harbor Laboratories and collect water samples from Washington. Other student research groups conducted interviews with and participated in conferences with experts from around the world.
To find out more about all of this year’s CURI projects, take a look at the directory of projects.