2014 Honors Summer Research fellows announced

Posted on May 15, 2014 by Janika Carey

Sweet Briar College has announced the recipients of this year’s Honors Summer Research Program fellowships. Between May 26 and July 18, 10 students and 12 professors will collaborate on topics ranging from atmospheric aerosols to teaching Shakespeare in high school to feminist identity and third-wave feminism, among others.

Khirsten Cook ’15 is one of 10 Honors Summer Research fellows selected this year. Khirsten Cook ’15 is one of 10 Honors Summer Research fellows selected this year.

Each year, the Honors Program awards fellowships to a select group of Sweet Briar students to support them in conducting independent research projects under the supervision of a faculty member. The Honors Summer Research Program is an eight-week, on-campus program that brings together students and faculty members from various disciplines.

Participants enjoy a unique academic atmosphere and the opportunity for intensely focused research, as well as a one-on-one working relationship with a faculty mentor — or mentors. The program also includes weekly meetings and presentations by both faculty and students highlighting their ongoing research and methodologies across the academic disciplines.

Among this year’s student researchers is engineering and religion double major Kiera Cavalleri ’15, who will take an interdisciplinary approach to solving the problem of drinking water availability in the developing world. She’ll be working with assistant professor of engineering Bethany Brinkman and associate professor of religion Cathy Gutierrez.

“In order to best approach this problem, two aspects must be addressed: appropriate methods of filtering water and religiously determined social norms that must be observed by aid organizations when looking to implement these methods,” Cavalleri writes in her proposal.

Her research will explore water storage and sand filtration methods to purify water and increase healthy mineral retention to help combat malnutrition. It will also analyze in what ways Protestantism has influenced America’s charity culture and how this may have shaped the way Americans approach aid work.

Khirsten Cook’s project is also interdisciplinary, but combines subjects that are more closely linked: creative writing and art history. They’re also her majors. Under the supervision of Julia Jackson Nichols Professor of English and director of creative writing John Gregory Brown and associate professor of art history Tracy Hamilton, the rising senior will explore the process of ekphrastic writing (the descriptive response to an artistic work) and create a portfolio she can build on during her final year at Sweet Briar.

Other Honors Summer Research Program fellowships went to rising juniors Kathryn Drews and Savanna Klein and to rising seniors Lydia Ethridge, Kathryn Fanta, Verena Joerger, Amy Kvien, Olivia Muchmore and Marta Saul. For a complete list of project descriptions, visit the Honors Program website.