Hamilton College has received a 2000 Merck/AAAS Undergraduate Science Research Program (USRP) award. The award of $20,000 per year for three years provides direct support of research by first and second-year students in the biology and chemistry departments. The award was given by the Merck Company Foundation and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Hamilton College has committed to match the funding, to make a total of $40,000 per year.
"We want more opportunities for first year and sophomore students to work with professors and discover that they are able to contribute to the scientific community in a meaningful way," says Hamilton College Chemistry Professor George Shields. Recently Shields took two sophomores to an international meeting where the students presented posters on their research in biochemistry. According to Shields, "These are the kind of students that the MERCK/AAAS award is intended to support. Thanks to MERCK/AAAS we will be able to give more opportunities for students interested in biology, chemistry, and biochemistry to work with professors and to present their work at meetings and through publications." For more information on the program contact Jinnie M. Garrett, chair, Biology, 315-859-4716 or George Shields, chair, Chemistry, 315-859-4723.
The award is intended to encourage graduate education in biology and chemistry through undergraduate research opportunities. In addition, these student research projects will foster cross-disciplinary cooperation among the faculty mentors.
Hamilton is a co-educational, residential liberal arts college of 1,650 students and 175 full-time faculty members offering courses in 24 departments and 14 interdisciplinary programs.
Each science department at Hamilton offers a demanding curriculum of courses that culminates with the Senior Thesis. The Senior Thesis requires each student to investigate a substantive research question. Students must defend their research and conclusions in a public forum, such as departmental oral presentations. Many students also submit their work for publication in scientific journals and present their findings at regional and national conference.