Over 100 Students Set to Conduct Summer Research at Holy Cross

Photograph Prof. Chris Arrell works with Zhiran Karen Xu ’19 on “Coding against the Wall of Silence: Coding Music for Charlie Chaplin’s Silent Film”

Most college students do not have the opportunity to search for ancient fossils in Arizona, to study the representation of Russian history, literature, and politics in the Moscow metro system, or to conduct intergovernmental analysis of urban development in Worcester. At the College of the Holy Cross, however, students will be working on these research projects and more through this year’s Weiss Summer Research Program.

A record number of 113 students- representing all class years and most academic fields- will be taking part in this year’s program, which starts on June 4th. The Weiss Program includes distinct divisions in the Natural Sciences (68 students participating); the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Arts (37 students); and Economics (8 students).

“Holy Cross’s extensive commitment to undergraduate summer research is unique among our peer institutions,” said Daniel Klinghard, Director of the J.D. Power Center for Liberal Arts in the World, which oversees the Weiss Summer Research Program. He referenced the wide variety of majors represented, the number of students funded, the generosity of funding each student receives, and the time commitment of faculty.

Professor Dan Bitran, who directs the Natural Sciences division of the program as the College’s Science Coordinator, noted that the ability for undergraduate students to work directly with research faculty is a unique feature of the Weiss Program. He said, “Our students are engaged in meaningful original research that may lead to a presentation at a professional regional or national meeting. Some of our students have earned authorship in peer-reviewed journals.”

Summer research often takes students far from Worcester. This summer, two students will travel to Russia for their research, and two to Vietnam. Klinghard noted that past students, for instance, have traveled to unique destinations such as Indonesia, Tunisia, and Puerto Rico to conduct research.

Along with conducting original research, students take part in weekly workshops designed to introduce them to interesting methodological issues, and they are able to apply for funding to present their findings at conferences.

The Weiss Summer Research Program is a key part of the College’s commitment to providing a rich range of experiential learning opportunities to students, said Dean of Experiential Learning and Student Success Loren Cass. The Weiss Program, said Cass, “is a critical facet of our overarching goal of assuring that all Holy Cross students participate in at least one experiential learning opportunity, and hopefully several, during their time at Holy Cross.”

Cass also noted that the opportunity is available to all students, regardless of financial background. “The students are paid a stipend for their work and are provided with housing,” said Cass, “so that money is not a barrier to pursuing research.” Students are also eligible to apply for a range of funding opportunities to buy equipment and books, and travel.

To learn more about the program, please visit https://www.holycross.edu/academics/research/student-research/summer-research.

Helping Students Navigate the Publishing World

Megan Sawicki works on “Researching Latin American Art through RTTP” during Summer Research.

Holy Cross students have a lot to say about their research. From the College Honors Program to the Weiss Summer Research Program to advanced seminars, students are doing important research that contributes to bigger scholarly conversations. Many of them publish their ideas in journals, ensuring that their ideas have a reach beyond campus.

But the world of publishing can be mystifying. How do journals decide what to publish? Who participates in peer review? And what journals accept submissions from undergraduates?

To aid students in understanding the process of publication, the J.D. Power Center, in collaboration with CrossWorks—the Holy Cross Libraries’ publishing service—have launched a Student Publishing website. The site links to a number of journals that feature undergraduate research, as well as a range of journals published on campus. It also features a resource guide (created by Lisa Villa, the College’s Digital Scholarship Librarian) designed to help students navigate the tricky process of evaluating journal quality and understand how to protect their rights as authors.

The site integrates with CrossWorks to maintain a current list of Holy Cross student publications, providing examples of successful publications—and allowing students to share their work with others on campus. And it includes a form through which students can report their successful publications, and begin the process of publishing to CrossWorks.

The site will expand as students submit more publications, allowing the list of undergraduate journals and examples of student scholarship to grow.

For more information on CrossWorks, go to https://crossworks.holycross.edu/.

Following My Passion to New York


By Hope Garcia ’18

The New York Semester Program, in a few words, is a glimpse into post-grad life or, “the real world,” as us college students call it. The seven of us rode the subway, ate too much pizza, and visited The Met and Central Park. We did normal things anyone living in New York would do, all while balancing full-time internships, a rigorous Holy Cross seminar, and our final capstone projects. It was the busiest semester of my life, but it was also the most fulfilling.

I interned at a small music publicity company in Brooklyn, and found myself in awe of the work I got to do daily. I quickly began to realize, as I sent email pitches, researched new artists, and attended shows, that not only did I enjoy waking up and going to work everyday, I loved it. My love for the work combined with my co-workers’ own passion and dedication to and for the artists we worked for solidified the decision in me. I had found my passion.

It may not have been the straightest or quickest path to the answer, but my semester in New York taught me that no matter your major or your own doubts, there is a way to the finding that thing that makes you excited to get out of bed everyday. After returning to Brooklyn to work at the same publicity company this past summer, I am now in my senior year and have taken on the role of Station Manager at WCHC. The New York Semester Program gave me the skills I will need to succeed in the music business after graduation, but it also gave me hope and motivation to take on my future as a Holy Cross alumna.

To learn more about the New York Semester Program, please visit the program webpage. The next information session for the New York Semester will be held 1/29/2018 at 4PM in Hogan 320.

Stephens ’18 Stands Out in D.C.

For Donnie Stephens ’18, landing an internship at a prominent think-tank wasn’t his original plan when applying to the Washington Semester program. As a Governance Studies research intern at the Brookings Institute, however, Stephens made a big difference.

“I enjoyed it as it was really different compared to what I was considering,” said Stephens. “I was originally thinking working on a (Congressional) committee such as the Financial Services Committee or at the Treasury. I was looking for something which would blend D.C. with my interest in finance. I thought to myself, ‘(Brookings) is a great opportunity to explore something completely different than what I had expected for myself.’ I went with it.”

Stephens worked for two prominent fellows at Brookings, E.J. Dionne and Bill Galston. Dionne, a well-respected journalist, writes a regular op-ed column in the Washington Post. Galston’s work frequently appears in the Wall Street Journal. Stephens’ work not only included reviewing article drafts for fact accuracy and grammar, but also engaging with the authors’ arguments. His Holy Cross education would prove quite useful in these cases, notably in his Economics major.

“(Economics Professor Olena Staveley-O’Carroll) has been a huge influence on me here at Holy Cross,” said Stephens. “What she taught us was how to take numbers and create a narrative out of it, not just to present them, but to string an argument out of it. Data-driven arguments were very important at Brookings. Certainly Bill Galston is a big numbers guy when he writes. Having those exercises to reflect on was very helpful.”

Professor Gary DeAngelis, Director of the Washington Semester Program, said that Stephens had a big impact during his semester in the nation’s capital.

“(Donnie’s) superb research and writing skills made him an invaluable research assistant,” said DeAngelis. “He took full advantage of an extraordinary opportunity to research and analyze public policy at the Brookings Institute, one of America’s premier think-tanks.”

Clara Hendrickson, Research Assistant at the Brookings Institute and Stephen’s supervisor, noted his enthusiasm and ability to analyze complex issues.

“Donnie put his keen analytical skills to work during his time at Brookings,” wrote Hendrickson in an email, “gathering evidence for why voters across the democratic west have been extending their support to populist nativist political parties. Donnie brought a contagious energy and enthusiasm to his work.”

Stephens was able to explore his primary interest with various financial issues, including a proposed border adjustment tax included in tax reform. After graduation, Stephens has looked for positions in both policy and finance. He said that the Washington Semester program gave him invaluable insight that’ll stand out in job interviews, whether at a bank or think-tank.

“When you interview at a bank,” said Stephens, “they expect you to have internships at other banks. They ask, ‘Why finance, why not D.C. or politics?’ I say, ‘I use these policy experiences to broaden my depth of knowledge about the financial industry. I understand broadly how policy impacts the work that you do in this bank.’ I wouldn’t have that breadth of knowledge if it wasn’t for D.C. It’s helping me in very real ways in an industry where you wouldn’t readily think it would.’”

For more information about the Washington Semester program, please visit the program homepage. The next info session for the Washington Semester program will be on January 30th at 4PM in Hogan 401, and applications open on January 31st.

Welcome!

Welcome to the blog for the J.D. Power Center for Liberal Arts in the World at the College of the Holy Cross! The Center helps students identify and pursue opportunities outside of the classroom, and to better articulate the value of these opportunities as part of a Holy Cross education. Some of the programs that J.D. Power Center for Liberal Arts in the World offers include the Academic Internship Program, the Washington and New York Semester Programs, the Donelan Office of Community-Based Learning, the Mock Trial and Moot Court teams, and the Ignite Fund.  On this blog, you’ll find student stories from their program experiences, tips on how to make the most of experiential learning opportunities, and other updates from the J.D. Power Center. Stay tuned!