“Insecticides are prevalent in crop cultivation, but the extent to which they are used to prevent pests from inhibiting plant growth might in itself be causing harm to plants.”
So begins the abstract by Mollie Dimise ’17 for her independent study project, “The Effect of Insecticide Introduction and Rhizobia Inoculation on Nitrogen-fixing Bacteria.” Working closely with biology professor Anne Bernhard, Dimise fixated her research on Trifolium—clovers—and found a substantial impact on the growth of bacteria when the insecticides seeped into the soil, which stunted the clovers.
“This could have implications for other plants and crops, as well,” added Dimise, an English and biology double major.
Dimise was one of more than 50 students who presented at the 2016 Summer Research Symposium at Connecticut College. The wide range of topics included the impact of meadows on breeding bird populations in New England; detecting photons more efficiently by using semiconductor theory; and synthesizing chemical compounds for practical uses in medicine.
“The opportunity to conduct research as an undergraduate has such a positive impact on the students,” said Emily Tarsis, lecturer in chemistry and summer research coordinator.
“Students gain proficiency in their field of study, as well as enhanced communication and problem-solving skills. These skills will be extremely useful as they continue their undergraduate studies, and apply to graduate and professional programs.”
Students presented their projects to the campus community using posters that outlined their hypotheses, their research process and their results. Noel Garrett, dean of academic support and director of the Academic Resource Center—which sponsored the event—said “the purpose of the event is to get students comfortable presenting and explaining the work they do.”
The symposium is part of a conference series that will feature student research and experiences at several events throughout the academic year. During Fall Weekend 2016, students who participated in the Connecticut College Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts Research Program (ConnSHARP) will present their summer research at a poster session. Two additional symposia are scheduled for the spring semester and will focus on Study Away/Teach Away experiences.