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For Whitman students, a summer of research, connections | Whitman College

It’s the time of year that Whitman students start to wrap up their summer internships or jobs and get ready to head back to Walla Walla for the school year. But many students never left. Instead they spent their summer alongside their professors, doing important research and learning quite a bit in the process.

Each year about 100 Whitman students get paid to conduct collaborative research with faculty during the summer. Faculty collaborators come from nearly every department on campus, from humanities to sciences to the arts.

Some of the research is funded by donations and some by prestigious grants. This year students studied sports-related concussions, Scottish Romantic authors, wastewater in U.S. lakes, and the Walla Walla Foundry. They created new apps, tested drinking water in Walla Walla, and tested ways to help boost attention and learning in infants from low-income families.

Associate professor of French Sarah Hurlburt has been doing summer research with students for more than 10 years. She says it allows her to accomplish a lot more than if she had been working alone.

“Research is a solitary activity and thinking sometimes needs dialogue to reveal its weak spots,” Hurlburt said. “One of the positive aspects for me, working with students in the summer, is that we have the opportunity to have these kinds of conversations. We do the work, and we talk about the work, and in doing the talking, our work is better.”

It’s the second summer sisters Jessie and Nicki Day-Lucore have worked alongside Hurlburt doing research on the Frenchtown Historic Site. The Frenchtown site, just outside of Walla Walla, was a French-Canadian, Native-American mixed community during the 1840s and predated the Whitmans’ arrival in our area.

Jessie and Nicki spent the summer of 2016 researching and writing biographies of the women of…

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