Even as a first-year student, you may get the chance to do research during the academic year or even over the summer. Many students pursue summer research on campus, at other colleges and in government labs. Hamilton has a state-of-the-art science center.

Bryon Banman ’16, Phoebe Greenwald ’16, Andrew Fletcher ’17 and Eric Antczak ’16 in the Taylor Science Center.

A chance to explore: summer research as a rising sophomore

In high school Andrew Fletcher ’17 did research for months on a project about a new kind of solar energy that uses nanoparticles as light absorbers, and he knew he would apply to do research at Hamilton, where he intends to major in chemistry. The chance came earlier than he’d anticipated; he landed a summer research project after his first year.

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Fletcher and three other students worked with Professor of Chemistry Karen Brewer on projects pertaining to rare earth metals and “playing with them with light,” as Fletcher put it. Brewer gave them guidance and oversight, but left it up to them to figure things out, he says. “The chemistry department here, there’s a ton of opportunities for you to just explore chemistry, which I think is the best part about it. We have so many research opportunities,” says Fletcher, who plans to minor in physics and math.

He picked Hamilton in part on the strength of its science program – and because he loved the campus during his two visits. “I felt way more at home and comfortable here than the other places I looked at,” Fletcher says. In his non-science moments, he writes poetry and songs, plays the guitar and studies Italian, among other pursuits.

Alex Thompson '13

A graduate’s progress: study at Yale

Alex Thompson ’13 went from Hamilton College to Yale University to earn a doctorate in chemistry. When he attains that, he wants to work in industry to develop new therapeutic drugs.

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In his first year at Hamilton, Thompson asked if he could work with his bio professor on summer research. The answer was yes, and Thompson had found his academic element. He majored in chemistry, minored in biology and sought out opportunities to conduct research with his professors.

As an undergrad, Thompson spent a summer working at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin and interned at Genentech, a biotech company in San Francisco, among other accomplishments.

“Only at a small school like Hamilton that doesn’t have graduate students can undergraduates have the opportunity to conduct research as freshmen or sophomores,” he says. “When applying for outside internships that are extremely competitive, students who have already had research experiences are much better candidates. I definitely would not have gotten the internship at Genentech if I hadn’t already had so much lab experience working with Hamilton professors.”