Scholarship, Creative Arts and Research Projects
Summer research heats up campus
During the time of year when many college students are relaxing and vacationing, a select few choose to “stay put” on campus, all for the love of research and some one-on-one time with faculty mentors.
The Scholarship, Creative Arts and Research Projects (SCARP) program offers students the opportunity to engage in research with a faculty member during a three-to-10-week period over the summer. After a rigorous application process—which includes recommendations from faculty members—for the 2014 session, 30 students were selected to join 19 faculty mentors from biology, chemistry, engineering, sociology, anthropology, political science, education and social work for a summer of collaborative research. Generous gifts to the College make SCARP possible—including faculty stipends and room and board for students.
Working alongside faculty mentors, participants develop sophisticated research skills and, later, present their findings at a culminating two-day conference, where they are joined by fellow students, faculty and staff members and their friends and families. Students also are encouraged to pursue further opportunities to share their work, such as submitting a paper to a peer-reviewed, scholarly journal or to an academic conference.
Our students are not the only beneficiaries of this collaborative discovery. Faculty members have the opportunity to stay engaged with students who have chosen to spend their summers in research rather than “recreation.”
Project: Robotic Pace Car
Junior mechanical engineering major, Martin Fevre, an international student from France, was thrilled to stay in the United States this past summer to participate in the donor-funded Scholarship and Creative Arts Research Program (SCARP) and to work closely with Dr. Tomas Estrada.
Fevre took over the reins of robotic research project started by upperclassmen: a pace car that uses infrared sensors to stay on a line on an indoor or outdoor track. It is used as a work-out and training tool that allows people to keep up with a certain speed. This project involves, he says, "everything I love." It's not just mechanical engineering that he enjoys, but electrical and computer engineering, as well. And sports: Fevre also is captain of the Blue Jays men's soccer team.
Fevre added that, without the funding he and Estrada received, there's no way an international student like he could have stayed in the States for the whole summer. He says the small class sizes and regular access to academic advisors are an advantage of attending a school the size of Elizabethtown, but working alongside Estrada this summer was a bonus.
"It was a very different environment. It makes me feel confident in what I want to do after my undergraduate career," he said, adding that he hopes to attend graduate school and earn a Ph.D.
At the end of the summer, Fevre shared the results at the SCARP conference—building his communication and presentation skills, too.
"A big part of this project was to be able to present this to a different audience," said Fevre. "We're working to get our research published and to present at a national conference."
Fevre said the pace car is an on-going project. The next step? Creating a smartphone application to go along with it—and to make the car go a bit faster.