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.