Kaplan program launches, summer science cut minimally

Despite budget cuts, the College will still provide significant academic opportunities to students this summer in the form of summer science research and a new program, the Summer Institute in American Foreign Policy. As of last week, 168 students were awarded grants to remain on campus for science research, and roughly 20 students will be on campus for U.S. foreign policy studies this summer, in addition to those conducting research with other departments (“Summer research funding avoids cuts,” March 3).

The Summer Institute, sponsored by the Leadership Studies Program and the Stanley Kaplan Program in American Foreign Policy, is funded by an individual donor. The Institute will give students a chance to study U.S. foreign policy for four weeks, from June 14 to July 9. So far, the Institute has admitted 20 of the 23 students who applied, according to James McAllister, chair of leadership studies and founder of the program.

Students will take classes three days a week for three hours, go on local field trips and have the opportunity to hear guest speakers. The program covers room and board costs for students, and all students will additionally receive a $1000 stipend.

McAllister explained that his idea for the Summer Institute came from a similar institution at Yale, the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy. McAllister began planning a version for the College in January 2009 with Michael MacDonald, professor of international relations, and Paul MacDonald, assistant professor of political science. The three of them hope to foster a unique learning experience for the students in the program. “We’re really valuing this intense interaction and give-and-take between professors,” McAllister said. “We’re looking forward to a bunch of clashing ideas and debates.” The grant has slated the program for a minimum of four years.

Summer science research, on the other hand, is a long-established cornerstone of Div. III academics. As of last week, the funding committee has offered 168 students funding to pursue their projects this year, according to Charles Lovett, professor of chemistry. This summer’s number of approved students marks a decrease from last summer’s 173 and the average of 175 over the last 10 years, according to Lovett. Lovett noted that, initially, budget cuts were going to force the funding committee to only select 150 students. “However, because many students this year applied for less than a full 10-week stipend, we had requests that corresponded to 152 full-time stipends. So we decided to fund them all,” Lovett said.

Lovett said that the funding committee was able to accept all the requests it received directly from Div. III departments, although there were more students who were denied by departments before they reached the funding committee level. Factors such as lab space push departments to cut the applications they put forth to the committee.

Ten weeks is the maximum amount of time students can request for summer science research, and the stipend of $3700 is given along with housing coverage. The chemistry department has the most summer researchers, with 38 students, followed by biology with 36, mathematics and statistics with 32, psychology with 18, physics with 16, geosciences with 13, astronomy with nine and computer science with six.