Breakfast gives summer researchers food for thought

Most of the 25 students doing projects this year attend and share what they are doing, with mentors, President Sterritt and other academic leaders

June 22, 2021
By Laura Hardin '22
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VPAA Jeffrey Trumbower greets the researchers.

A steaming hot breakfast provided by Sodexo kicked off the first event for the students participating in Saint Michael’s Summer 2021 Research on Thursday, June 17 in the Roy Room of the Dion Student Center. For the next eight weeks, students will conquer and pursue their individual projects while exploring a variety of chosen topics that expand into their future academics and professional lives.

Saint Michael’s President Lorraine Sterritt, Vice President for Academic Affairs Jeffrey Trumbower and Dean of the College Tara Natarajan also attended the event, interacting with students to probe into details the projects that they are starting.

This year the College has 25 summer researchers on the books, and perhaps 20 were able to make this kick-off event. Some Saint Michael’s Fire and Rescue members were on call for the funeral of Fr. Ray Doherty later that day and could not attend. In all, 43 people were at the breakfast including faculty mentors and representatives from the Marketing/Communications and Admissions Office along with Denise Brault from Academic Affairs, who coordinated the event.

lorraine and group

President Lorraine Sterritt and other mentors and students talk about research at the June 17 breakfast. Left to right are Sterritt, Christina Root of English, Dean Tara Natarajan, and researchers on either side of mentor Trish Siplon of political science.

VPAA Trumbower started off the morning event by appreciating the faculty and students in attendance. “These are the go-getters,” he said. These students went through the application process of student research, Trumbower said, only to face the highly beneficial intellectual challenges that develop throughout the summer.

“Go easy on me, it’s only week two,” rising junior, Kai Hines, joked regarding what their research group with biology Professor Ruth Fabian-Fine have come up with so far.


Emily Webster, student researcher, describes her work.

From evaluating environmentalism in German philosopher Martin Heidegger’s writings to researching the functions of the Central American Wandering Spider, students revealed the uniquely diverse research topics that span across all majors and interests. While feasting upon various breakfast foods like bagels, eggs, and sausages, students were actively engaged in hearing each other’s topics as students and their mentors went around the room sharing what they planned to research and what they hope to come out of it.


Azriel Finister, student researcher, presents.

“In July, we look forward to everyone’s results,” said Trumbower.

In the end, students will once again gather as a group to discuss their findings. However, beyond the results that their research produce, most of this summer’s research students hope to gain valuable skills such as research design, problem-solving, and critical thinking, all within a collaborative environment that will help them navigate more intense academic circumstances in their promising futures.


Science faculty mentors for summer research, Professors Adam Weaver, left, and Ruth Fabian-Fine, hear their mentees present.

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