St. Olaf College | News

St. Olaf celebrates summer research and inquiry

This summer, 73 St. Olaf students — guided by 35 faculty members — participated in the CURI program.

As St. Olaf College’s Collaborative Research and Undergraduate Inquiry (CURI) program wrapped up for the summer, students and faculty members filled the Tomson Hall Atrium to share their work with the campus community and local leaders.

Their posters and presentations, illustrated with data and photos, highlighted their work on topics ranging from “Pond Science and Conservation” to “Exploring Race in Co-Housing Developments.”

As the CURI program wrapped up, students and faculty members presented the results of their work in the Tomson Hall Atrium.

Over the course of 10 weeks, 73 St. Olaf students participated in the CURI program, which enables students from all academic disciplines to gain hands-on experience and close guidance from faculty mentors. Eight of these students conducted their work as part of the St. Olaf TRIO McNair Scholars graduate school preparatory program. 

“I think the value of being part of in-depth undergraduate research is that it can help you realize your passions and what you want to do with your future,” says Lori Tran ’21, who worked alongside Assistant Professor of Psychology Jessica Benson this summer on a CURI project examining “Emotional Disclosure on Experiences of Discrimination.”

Thirty-five St. Olaf faculty members, with hundreds of years of experience among them, guided a total of 37 CURI projects this summer.

Students presented their posters, illustrated with data and photos, to campus community members and local leaders.

“It is also exciting to have so many recent faculty additions to the college join the program, including those in Psychology, Classics, and Environmental Studies, as well as longer-serving faculty who mentored summer research for the first time, including those in Spanish and Latino Studies and Women and Gender Studies,” says CURI Director Katherine Tegtmeyer Pak, an associate professor of political science and Asian studies.

An aerial view of students and faculty members sharing their work during the CURI symposium.

While many of the CURI researchers conducted their work on campus this summer, they were far from confined to laboratories. Researchers utilized the Digital Scholarship Center at St. Olaf (DiSCO), a new makerspace dedicated to the creative application of technology in learning, teaching, and research. Their work took them to field sites near Northfield, around the U.S. for interviews, and — in a few cases — across the globe.

“We even had two projects conducted internationally this year, in Italy and Turkey,” Tegtmeyer Pak says.

Learn more about all of this year’s projects in the public directory available on the CURI site.