Div. III summer study jumps 10 percent

At the end of every school year, some students choose to remain on campus to participate in a summer study program at the College. These students work within various departments and in collaboration with professors, and they receive compensation for their work.

This year’s summer study numbers for the Div. I and II programs are similar to those from last year, with about 30 students enrolled as research assistants in the Div. I and Div. II programs combined.

Summer study numbers for the Div. III program have increased about 10 percent from last summer: Approximately 185 students are enrolled.

The goal of the summer study program is to enhance student-faculty collaboration on faculty research projects. Professors apply to work with current first-years, sophomores and juniors.

This summer, the program will run from June 11 though Aug. 18 and provide participating students with a $380 weekly stipend – up to a maximum of $3800 for 10 weeks of full-time work. In addition to a weekly stipend, students will also receive free campus housing for the summer.

With regards to the Div. I and II programs, John Gerry, associate dean of the faculty, said that the summer study program was flourishing in those departments.

“The demand from faculty has grown by about 35 percent over the past several years, and the feedback from faculty and students alike has been quite positive.”

Gerry credited the “win-win arrangement” of the summer study program as the reason for such positive feedback. He said students receive the opportunity to invest themselves in a single research project and learn about the particular subject.

In turn, professors receive full-time help with archival entries, statistical analysis, annotations and other tasks.

In addition to an increase in the number of students participating in Div. III summer research, nearly all projects proposed for the summer of 2012 were able to be funded by the appropriate sponsoring departments.

“There is always some fluctuation in the number of students enrolled, but this summer may be a record for the total number of student in the sciences working on research,” said Tiku Majumder, professor of physics and director of the science center.

Not all students participating in Div. III summer research will necessarily be working in the sciences; some will also be involved in projects in mathematics and statistics.

Majumder also expressed that he is unsurprised by the positive feedback he has received from those previously involved in the summer study program.

Indeed, Majumder believes the program to be an important manifestation of the College’s mission.

“It is a program that reflects core values at Williams – close interaction between students and faculty, the opportunity to get significant, hands-on laboratory experience and the valuable gain of preparation for post-graduate study,” he said.

“The summer promises to be an exciting, productive time for student/faculty research at Williams,” Majumder continued.

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