Lucas Harris ’12 has been awarded a Fulbright Grant to Finland. He will spend the 2012-13 academic year working under Dr. Miska Luoto at the University of Helsinki, studying how individual plant species in subarctic Finland will react to climate change.
Harris will use a combination of sampling in the field and computer modeling to predict the future distribution and abundance of these subarctic plants. His research will contribute to a collaborative effort among European countries to assess threats to the European arctic. Finland is a heavily forested country rich in biodiversity.
A dean’s list student, Harris is an environmental studies major at Hamilton. He was selected to serve as a Levitt Center Sustainability Scholar, a program through which Hamilton students give talks to local high schools about the science of global warming.
Harris spent last summer as a research intern at the Edmund Niles Huyck Preserve in Rensselaerville, N.Y., where he conducted research on how the forest might look in the future, combining fieldwork and data analysis with vegetation mapping. This year he was part of a team characterizing the effects of invasive plants on the Hamilton College forests. In 2010 Harris studied field-based research ecology and conservation in South Africa through the Organization for Tropical Studies.
At Hamilton, Harris is a member of the Cycling Team, the Nordic Ski team and the Outing Club, and has been a member of Hamilton Environmental Action Group and Outdoor Track Team.
Upon his return to the U.S. Harris plans to pursue an advanced degree combining his interests in ecology, geography and environmental studies in order to continue research on boreal forests and subarctic regions.
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers fellowships for U.S. graduating college seniors, graduate students, young professionals and artists to study abroad for one academic year. The purpose of the Fulbright Program is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries through the exchange of persons, knowledge and skills. The program is designed to give recent college graduates opportunities for personal development and international experience.
The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by Congress to the Department of State. The U.S. Student Program awards approximately 900 grants annually and currently operates in more than 140 countries worldwide.
Harris, a graduate of Newton North High School, is the son of Kenneth and Theresa Harris of Chestnut Hill, Mass.