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Student-Faculty Research

Lionfish

Diving in the Florida Keys at the age of 15, Erin Spencer caught a glimpse of a beautiful fish.

The turtles in the Dell

It was probably the worst day of the summer to trap turtles. The weather was good and the season was right. But Randy Chambers’ Wetland Ecosystems class just happened to pick Sept. 4 for their turtle trapping.

A summer of sequencing

It was the summer that the freshmen ruled the sequencer. Technically, they finished their freshman year and therefore did their summer work as rising sophomores. But never mind quibbles.

students digging in a pit by Brown Hall
Pre-Williamsburg

Mark Kostro stood in the back yard of Brown Hall, looking down at a hole in the ground. Even at a glance, the hole was different from the other features investigated by the students and professional archaeologists.

Mouse and tether

The average American spends about seven hours a day looking at an electronic screen. With this much of a role in our daily lives, our electronic devices must be updated frequently with the newest technology to reflect usage patterns and make the user’s experience more efficient and safe.

Joanna Weeks ’13 drags a canvas flag over the forest floor
Yes, we have more ticks...

Collecting tick specimens is easy—you drag a white piece of canvas over the right piece of ground, then turn it over. Voila—ticks!

Student historians (from left) Jack Middough, Sagra Alvarado, Crosby Enright, Tracey Johnson, Jessie Dzura
Spanish court

Domestic violence. Drug smuggling. Priests hauled into court for scandalous behavior. Welcome to Spain in the 17th century.

Invertebrate love

Spring is in full bloom in William & Mary’s biology labs, with more than 350 undergraduate students spawning marine invertebrates.

A sample of bacteriophage peptides are loaded into a mass spectrometer for analysis
Turning the phage

It was a hard act to follow. What could possibly be a follow-up to a group of freshmen discovering a new form of life and finding new genes in its genome?

Niall Garrahan explores an outcrop in the Foothills
Wide open spaces

The numbers didn’t seem right. “I just didn’t expect the figure to be so big,” says Niall Garrahan ’14. Garrahan was looking at calculations related to the value of land purchased by the City of Boise, Idaho.

Allison Oldham ’13
Adding up CSUMS

For the past five summers, while other students were hitting the beach, William & Mary math majors had been hitting the books and the labs to conduct computational mathematics research.

Lu Ann Homza (center) discusses with her students intricate script handwriting of copies of 15th century Spanish manuscripts.
Into the archives...

The writing is cramped, and ink bleeds through the 400-year-old manuscript. There are letters missing or substituted, strange abbreviations and various words that seem to make no sense.

The female incubates while her mate guards the nest.
Reality show

The nest sits nearly a hundred feet up in a lone loblolly pine in Richmond, where a pair of eagles makes their home along the fall line of Virginia’s longest river. An interesting story unfolds as the eagles star in their own reality show.

Daniel Schwab ’12 conducts research on marine mud snails on the Maine coast.
A rising tide

The William & Mary chapter of the Marine Science Society is only a year old, but has already been honored with the Outstanding Student Section Award from the Marine Technology Society for 2012.

Student presenting at Focus on Undergraduate Research Week
How they spent their vacations

What do horses, movies and math have in common? They’re all subjects of research conducted over the summer by William & Mary undergraduates.

Plugging the last leaks

A pipeline with a leak isn’t very efficient—much of whatever is supposed to be transported will be lost along the way. That’s exactly what’s happening to women as they pursue careers in science.

The hunt for the mystery diarist

When a young doctor’s wife wrote in her diary back in 1902, she couldn’t have known that over a century later, scholars at William & Mary would be reading it—let alone trying to determine her identity.

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AidData partners with climate change center to launch foreign-aid mapping tool

AidData, in partnership with the Strauss Center’s Climate Change and African Political Stability program (CCAPS), has launched an online data portal that enables researchers and policymakers to visualize data on climate change vulnerability, conflict, and aid, and to analyze how these issues intersect in Africa.

ARES will parachute down to above the surface of Mars
Airplane over the Red Planet

William & Mary might become the base for a mission to Mars. The mission is called ARES—the Aerial Regional-scale Environmental Surveyor. Joel Levine explains that the idea is to send an airplane to Mars.

Science, in 3 to 5 minutes

There are the arts, and then there are the sciences. There is literature, language and film, and then there is calculus, physics and experiments.

VIMS grad student Samuel Lake shows off his game with Kristin Kelley
PERFECT combination

Theresa Davenport was having some trouble with a football player. Davenport was explaining to a biology class at Grafton High School about some of the problems that can stem from seawater that is low in oxygen.

Diving into Colonial history

A partnership between the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the Watermen’s Museum in historic Yorktown is giving students at three local schools an opportunity to dive into Colonial history—literally.

Pushing their own boundaries

William & Mary students are pushing the envelope when it comes to undergraduate research. Hundreds of them put their research on display when the College hosted the 18th Annual Undergraduate Science Research Symposium.

All about the algorithms

Sometimes the guys on Team Gold say “worlds.” Other times, they say “finals.” Both terms refer to the World Finals of the Association for Computing Machinery’s International Collegiate Programming Contest (ACM-ICPC) to be held in May in Warsaw, Poland.

From music to dark matter

Ari Cukierman enrolled as a freshman at William & Mary intending to major in music and philosophy. He'll graduate near the top of his class of 2012 as a physics-math double major, with at least one important peer-reviewed paper to his credit.

Geology at the half-century mark

William & Mary’s Department of Geology is celebrating its 50th birthday—not even a tick of the clock in terms of the age of the earth.

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They really drank this stuff?

Geologists at William & Mary are analyzing a possible contributing cause of the deaths at Jamestown Island during the Starving Time of 1609 and 1610—bad drinking water.

Seth Aubin
Cold & Ultracold

A collection of atoms in the basement of Small Hall is a million times colder than outer space. It's one of the coldest spots in the universe, but it's not cold enough. Yet.

Graduate Research Symposium

Jenna Carlson gets ready to exhibit her work at the 10th annual Graduate Research Symposium.

Ecce Homo

Since the late 18th century, scholarship on the study of Jesus has moved from faith-based research to a cultural investigation focused on historical probability.

Whipping the SciClone

Combining the power of 159 computers and 475 individual processors, SciClone, William & Mary’s scientific computing complex, is an important resource for the College and a unique feature for a campus this size.

Teaching through research win

William & Mary’s first freshman phage lab has demonstrated what possibly is the straightest learning curve known to science: zero to co-authorship in a peer-reviewed journal in under three years.

A sense for sensors

They’re everywhere. Tiny sensors designed to track information.

Where the boys aren’t

A paper published in the prestigious online journal Nature Communications reveals the molecular biology behind a certain worm’s ability to break—or at least ignore—the laws of Mendelian genetics.

Early starter

When Mohima Sanyal ’14 would drop a transgenic mouse into the lab’s Y-shaped maze, she had a pretty good idea of how the mouse would react.

A is for aha. AA is for aati.

Linguists will tell you that a language can begin to die in a single generation—if it is not passed down to children.

Dreyfus Scholar

William & Mary’s Elizabeth Harbron is one of six U.S. chemists to be named Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholars.

To harness the wild algae

At first glance, algae seem like ideal candidates for biofuel. After all, each algal organism has at its center a dab of energy-rich oils and sugars. If you get enough algae, you can extract the oil—or ferment the sugar into alcohol—and use it to put a sizeable dent in the world’s thousand barrel per second petroleum consumption.

Got it on eBay…

…and our transmission electron microscope is running just fine, thanks

A double mystery

Rusty blackbirds are threatened across their range--except on the William & Mary campus.

W&M receives $1.2 million for young scientists

The College of William and Mary has been awarded $1.2 million in funding by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), part of a nationwide program to help universities strengthen undergraduate and precollege science education.

Blakey
Work on display

Research informs New York African Burial Ground's visitor center.

Facing Race
Facing race

Analysis of brain waves spurs some deep thinking about how we see others.

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Minor in marine science

New VIMS-W&M cooperative effort is expected to be popular.

Bright Idea
A Bright Idea

Your first fuel cell-powered car just moved a little closer.

GIS
Off the map

GIS data-stitching opens new research horizons.

Changing the World in 6-page increments

The Project on International Peace and Security engages undergraduates in knotty security issues—and teaches them how to write policy briefs.

Ecofashion: We're not only what we wear

We're also who made what we wear and what it's made from. (And other fashion truisms that will keep green the new black.)

SCORS: The scientific approach to solar energy on campus

The idea is to harness the sun to generate electricity, but first the people in SCORS had to know which photovoltaic technology is best to use. And to determine that, they first needed to know more about the weather.

Integrating Sciences

ISC 1 is open and producing science. ISC 2 is under construction. Just wait until we build ISC 3.

A more vivid PLAID

Project-Level Aid, the foreign-aid tracking program based at William and Mary, prepares for launching version 2.0.

Key to a culture

The Middle Eastern Music Ensemble offers a window into a culture that is becoming more and more a part of our own.

Subtleties of subtitles

You, too, can now understand Cuban films, thanks to Anne Marie Stock.

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Evolution of a research initiative

SOMOS-the Student Organization for Medical Outreach and Sustainability-started as an annual trip, but has grown in size, scope and everything else.

fryer
Beginnings: From the fryer into the van

In a corner of the Keck Environmental Field Laboratory sit an old water heater, a plastic holding tank and a few pumps, set up in a purple-painted particleboard frame with the air of an eighth grade science project.

The Museum is a Lab

So how do you put your best face forward when the audience is constantly changing?

We call them GIGs

They're Global Inquiry Groups: Interdisciplinary, international...and they incorporate research.

Fringed!

Student playwrights take their plays and their companies to the New York theatre festival.

En España...y en Español

Our undergraduates conduct research projects in Spain...in Spanish, of course.