With projects in disciplines ranging from theater to history to science, Maple Scholars is an opportunity for students to conduct research they’re interested in. This year’s applications are currently under review and scholars will be announced in late February or early March.
Students who join the program are paired with a faculty member who serves as a colleague and supervisor for the eight week summer program. The students live together in Coffman Hall and share their research during Friday meetings. The program is open to all students, with opportunities to do research in several fields.
This year, Jan Bender Shetler, professor of history, will be leading a project focused on exploring how international students benefit from SST and what kind of program would best serve their needs.
“Students in this project will be interviewing international students who have gone on SST and those who have done the alternative program,” said Shetler. “They will analyze their results to come up with some recommendations for the program.”
Anna Kurtz Kuk, assistant professor of theater, and Phil Weaver-Stoesz, temporary technical director, will both be leading a project. This project will focus on using performance as a means for training faculty and students in supporting survivors of sexual misconduct. It also aims at creating a community of care and accountability around healthy sexuality.
“The idea of ‘rehearsal’ is common in the theater, but can be expanded into life as we enter into difficult conversations some people may never have had before,” said Weaver-Stoesz. By interviewing students, faculty and community members about their experiences with elements surrounding sexual misconduct, they will create an interactive scenario in which people have difficult conversations, pause, ask for advice and rehearse tools for support.
“Our hope is to eventually develop material that can be put toward the training of sexual misconduct response team members and perhaps later toward awareness and training of others on campus,” said Kuk. “I hope this project is the first steps toward something really useful for our campus community.”
Why should students consider Maple Scholars? Shetler says it is a great experience, looks good on resumes and allows students to forge a close relationship with faculty and other students.
One student, Landon Weldy, a senior, participated in Maple Scholars last summer. He worked with Shetler on a project regarding Latino students and SST. The project Shetler is leading this year is similar to the project Weldy worked on.
“A lower percentage of Latino students go on SST and we wanted to hear from those who had gone if it was valuable for them,” said Weldy.
Weldy said he chose to work on Maple Scholars because it seemed like a great opportunity.
“It’s not everywhere you get the chance to co-lead a research project and present your findings in an attempt to spark some positive change at Goshen,” said Weldy. He recommends the program, saying there are a lot of creative possibilities to work on.
Anja Kenagy, a senior, chose to participate in Maple Scholars because she wanted an opportunity to do physics research in a project she was interested in. She worked with Paul Meyer Reimer, professor of physics, on a project studying the presence and effects of fungal toxins in the diet of infant Tanzanians.
“Specifically, our project looked at the geospatial prevalence of toxins in stores of groundnuts,” said Kenagy. “We started to look for a predictive model of aflatoxin in the food supply based on environmental factors using remote sensing techniques.”
Kenagy said the project gave her the opportunity to learn more research and programming skills. “I learned a lot about mapping, groundnuts and aflatoxins,” said Kenagy. This project is continuing through the year, with the potential to be a project again this summer.
Students who choose to participate in Maple Scholars will live with a community of scholars doing a wide range of disciplinary projects and learning about their work in weekly reporting sessions.
“This is a great opportunity to focus on one collaborative research project and see it to completion,” said Shetler.
“For our project I would say [students] should expect fierce mentorship, creative joy, meaningful work and to step with confidence and grace outside their comfort zone,” said Weaver-Stoesz.
“It’s also great because you get paid to do research and [you get] free housing, which is pretty unique for undergraduates,” said Kenagy.
Kuk recommends the program, saying “It’s an opportunity for a unique collaboration between faculty and students. Not only is it a chance for students to research something of interest, but it is a paid project.”
Students can find more information and apply at www.goshen.edu/academics/maple-scholars/.