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Summer Projects Allow Students to Delve Deeper Into Research Interests

Through the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) and various other grants, Pomona students have the opportunity to spend summer studying a topic of personal interest or working closely with a professor. After spending much time in the library, lab and the field, more than 100 student researchers presented their findings at the College’s 20th Annual Summer Research Poster Conference Sept. 6. Here’s a sampling:

  • Michael Carlson ’08 read pirates’ trial records and personal narratives from the 16th to 18th centuries in order to learn about how these swashbucklers constructed their social relationships, divided labor and functioned as instruments of imperialism. His conclusions: At the base of piracy was the unique system of labor oriented around intense cooperative physical labor that forced unity and egalitarianism despite differing functions and hierarchy on board vessels.
  • Kayleigh Kaneshiro ’10 researched the effects of the sodium benzoate on schizophrenics and learned that it increases certain levels of amino acids and enhances NMDA neurotransmissions, ultimately benefiting schizophrenic patients. Her research is intended to direct pharmaceutical companies toward improving the treatments available for these patients.
  • Nathan Gardner ’10 traveled to China, where he conducted interviews and examined the effect of institutional discrimination on the availability of education for migrant children in the big cities. He found that while a general xenophobic attitude is present in places like Beijing and Shanghai, the situation is complicated by poor information dissemination, a national government out of touch with its people and corruption in unexpected places.