Students kept busy as they wrapped up the fall semester and over winter break. Read about what some of them did.

Students present at American Geophysical Union

Maya Weil-Cooley ’24 and Sarah Leibovitz of Amherst College present their research.
Maya Weil-Cooley ’24 and Sarah Leibovitz of Amherst College pose in front of their research poster.

In December, Audrey Alix ’25, Maya Weil-Cooley ’24, and Claire Williams ’25 presented posters at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco.

Alix’s research, conducted with Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Heather Kropp, tested the effectiveness of drone imagery in ecological monitoring. Keying in on a patch of vegetation on Hamilton’s campus, the pair used drone imagery to identify milkweed flowers in order to efficiently monitor phenological changes in the plant.

During her spring semester abroad, Weil-Cooley attended the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. There, she modeled different revegetation tactics in a small, local drainage basin to determine the effectiveness in decreasing erosion and sediment export into the nearby harbor.

Claire Williams ’25 and Jessa Verzosa of Arizona State University present their research at the American Geophysical Union conference.
Claire Williams ’25 (left) and Jessa Verzosa of Arizona State University present their research.

Weil-Cooley worked with Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Aaron Strong, who was on sabbatical in New Zealand, as well as students from Amherst, Middlebury, and Bowdoin colleges.

Williams participated in the Research Opportunities in Rock Deformation Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) through Washington University in St. Louis last summer. Small rock samples, collected during a field session in the Sierras, were twisted and deformed under high pressures and temperatures. The goal of the research, conducted with Jessa Verzosa of Arizona State University, was to analyze the microstructures created under these conditions.

Alternative Break in Philly

Nine students spent part of their winter break working with Maxwell Akuamoah-Boateng ’09 on a community service project in Philadelphia. Akuamoah-Boateng, who serves as the city’s director of operations for community schools, organized the Alternative Break (AXB) trip that focused on youth engagement/urban service. Participants included Hao Shen ’25, Iris Miller-Bottoms ’27, Jessica Parsons ’24, Lilian MacVeagh ’24, Elijah Short ’27, Ananya Patil Rao ’27, Sa Da ’26, Kaveesha Soysa ’26, and Erin Merenich ’27.

Students pose with Maxwell Akuamoah-Boateng ’09
Students pose with Maxwell Akuamoah-Boateng ’09

The students visited four community schools in the area, where they built food pantry shelves and reorganized storage spaces. They also worked with students at an after-school program and answered questions from high schoolers on the transition to college and their own college experience. The Hamilton volunteers learned more about the community school system in Philadelphia by speaking to faculty at each school, as well as from Akuamoah-Boateng. They also spoke with people in the nonprofit industry about their career experiences.

AXB service trips are offered through the Community Outreach and Opportunity Project (COOP).

ROOTS members take home awards from ABRCMS

In November, 14 students, along with Associate Professor of Chemistry Max Majireck and Assistant Professor of Biology Rhea Datta, attended the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Scientists (ABRCMS) in Phoenix. The students, all members of ROOTS, Hamilton’s Society for Students of Color in STEM, included Presentation Award winners Mimosa Van ’26, Sudchananya Udomphan ’26, and Naima Akter ’24. Five students received Travel Awards: Jason Jiang ’24, Brianna “Bri” Padilla ’25, Michelle Zheng ’24, Elise Kwon ’26. and Yuxuan Xu ’26. Other Hamilton attendees included Sarah John ’24, Jorge Perez-Vazquez ’24, Helen Xin ’25, Eliza Gonzalez ’24, Brandon Navarro ’24, and Edwin Mensah-Boateng ’25.

Vasquez Mejia '24 publishes BPC blog

Bipartisan Policy Center
Bipartisan Policy Center

Emile “Em” Vasquez Mejia ’24 published a blog post titled “Changing Border Policies and Apprehensions: What’s the Relationship?” while she was interning with the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) in Washington, D.C., last semester. The BPC partners with Hamilton’s Common Ground program to encourage civil discourse and bring bipartisanship outside the Beltway through robust intellectual exchange and to help develop the next generation of independent thinkers and engaged citizens.


Kudos! is a roundup that highlights noteworthy student news including awards, published scholarly work, presentations at regional or national conferences, upcoming or recent media appearances, and other accolades. To be considered for the next edition, please send pertinent information to pr@hamilton.edu.


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