Bryn Mawr Biology Major Paige Weber
Sophie Drew of Haverford, who is double majoring in biology at Bryn Mawr and Spanish at Haverford.
Bryn Mawr biology major Paige Weber and Haverford student Sophie Drew, who is double majoring in Spanish at Haverford and biology at Bryn Mawr, spent their summer with Assistant Professor Thomas Mozdzer participating in the TIDE project, a large scale research study that practices long-term experimental ecology in the salt marshes of Rowley, Mass. They were interested in litter decomposition rates within salt marshes, as well as how the nitrogen fertilization of two of the creeks affected these rates.
Paige's and Sophie’s research, which they shared at the annual Summer Science Research Poster Session, was part of an initiative known as the Tea Bag Index, or TBI, a worldwide project in which the tea in buried tea bags is being analyzed to measure decay rates in soil.
By testing tea-bag decomposition over a long period of time, they calculated the decomposition rate of litter in the marshes, resulting in data that could be used to track the recovery of the marsh after fertilization.
Each summer since 1989, more than 35 students have received funding to conduct a 10-week science or math research initiative under the guidance of a faculty member. More than 50 percent of science majors at Bryn Mawr conduct mentored, experimental research. In addition to a discovery-based research experience, mentorship, and a poster presentation to the community, scholars take part in professional development workshops.
The summer of 2017 projects covered geology, biology, ecology, math, and more, with research done all around the country, including right on Bryn Mawr’s campus.
Biology major Hemma Murali and biochemistry and molecular biology major Patty I. Sanchez Montejo partnered with Assistant Professor of Biology Joshua Shapiro to study the different species of wild yeast on the trees of Senior Row. They investigated if the environment, soil, or bark, influenced the yeast species on the trees.
Other research conducted this summer focused on tackling environmental issues like waste. Geology major Emily Kampmeyer researched with Assistant Professor of Geology Selby Hearth to discover if coal fly ash could be recycled to create ultramarine blue pigment
The variety in Bryn Mawr's student research represents how students combine knowledge and the College's resources to investigate their interests and gain valuable skills for the future.