While the student traffic across Summit Avenue is much lighter, things are far from quiet on the St. Thomas campus over the summer months. Dozens of Tommies – 44, to be exact – are spending their summer working full time on research thanks to funding from St. Thomas grants, including Young Scholars, Community-based Research and Sustainability Scholars.

The Newsroom caught up with some of these emerging scholars to find out what they’re studying, why they’re so interested in it, and what it’s been like to become dedicated researchers.

Alice Ready

Title: Drone technology in research of physical resources and ancient settlement patterns on St. Clement Island, Croatia

Major: Environmental Studies, GIS

Mentor: Paul Lorah

Grant: Sustainability Scholars

What’s so intriguing about this subject for you?

I am most intrigued by the spatial patterns of varying landscapes.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve found so far in your research?

I’ve learned a lot about how our drone reacts to various conditions out in the field. The drone is able to detect changes in wind speed, light intensity, etc. and adjust the speed at which it shoots photographs.

What has this research opportunity added to your overall academic experience?

It has given me the freedom to pursue my interests while gaining great work experience.

What have been the biggest benefits of getting to work closely with an academic adviser like you have this summer?

The biggest benefits of getting to work closely with an academic adviser is having a professional in the field guide you with difficult questions you may come across through research.

 

Cassie Froese

Title: Hunting for Heroines: The Evolution of Female Agency in Fantasy from Middle Grade to Young Adult

Major: English

Mentor: Heather Bouwman

Grant: Young Scholars

What’s so intriguing about this subject for you?

I find female agency in fantasy intriguing because I grew up reading fantasy novels and found a lot of my identity in the stories I read. I know the same is true for countless young readers today, and so I wanted to dive deeper into the complexities of the characters that serve as role models and influences. Seeing well-written, realistic female characters with agency in their lives is very important to me because those are the characters that the next generation of readers will grow up with.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve found so far in your research?

In reading primary sources, I’m finding that there is often a dichotomy in the way that the presence of magic affects a female character’s agency; either magic is the cause of a female character gaining agency, or it is the catalyst for the use of already existing agency. This has been interesting to explore and analyze from different perspectives, and it becomes even more engaging when I take into account the “strong female character” trope.

What has this research opportunity added to your overall academic experience?

This research opportunity has truly been a blessing; it allows me to take something I’m passionate about in my field of study and bring it to the next level. It has added another layer of depth to my academic experience that I wouldn’t be able to get in a single course, as well as inspired me to pursue further research in the future.

What have been the biggest benefits of getting to work closely with an academic adviser like you have this summer?

The biggest benefit of getting to work closely with my academic adviser is the one-on-one time you have to discuss all the ins and outs of your topic. I already enjoy my research enough as it is, but when I talk with my adviser about which route to explore next, I become even more excited about everything. It’s great to be able to bounce ideas back and forth with someone who is as invested as you are in the topic.

Click here to see what the rest of St. Thomas’ summer scholars are studying.

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