Lauren Hitt, an Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Classical Studies student, researched under Professor Jordan Karubian.
The Honors Summer Research Program is an opportunity for students to work with a Tulane professor on a scholarly project for six weeks during the summer. Honors freshmen, sophomores, and juniors in all Schools are welcome to apply, and it is open to students who have no research experience as well as to those who already have some experience with research. Funding includes housing and a stipend, so students can focus on this enhanced academic experience. The program supports six weeks of research on the Tulane campus, supervised by a Tulane faculty member.
This past summer, 25 students from various fields were granted Summer Research funds. Guided by their faculty mentors, Tulane Honors students were researching how oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill influences the plant performance of adult Spartina alterniflora plants; the effects of the stressful event of an arrested parent on young children’s psychological, cognitive, and behavioral adjustment; the effects of lead exposure on cuckoldry rates in northern mockingbirds (Mimus polyglottos) in New Orleans using genetic markers; the application of the work of French psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan to themes in Toni Morrison’s novel Paradise, and many other projects.
Lauren Hitt, a senior Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Classical Studies student, spent her summer researching the effects of lead exposure on reproductive success and extra-pair paternity in the northern mockingbird under Professor Jordan Karubian. Hitt systematically located mockingbird nests in three New Orleans neighborhoods— Uptown, the Marigny, and Lake Vista— and collected blood samples from nestlings once they reached an approximate age of 5-8 days. Hitt notes that an interesting challenge she faced was her sample size being depleted by predators eating the eggs and nestlings. At the end of the six weeks, she remarked, “the most rewarding experience through this project is by far the leadership experience I gained in assembling, organizing, and leading my field team of volunteers for this work. This was my first real experience with a management-style position, and I learned a lot about what I value in a team and in a leader.”
Jump Viriyavaree, a sophomore Chemical Engineering major, was mentored by Professor Noshir Pesika.
Jump Viriyavaree, a sophomore Chemical Engineering student mentored by Professor Noshir Pesika, studied the possibility of altering the structure of polyurethane so it can replicate the sticky properties of gecko’s feet, which allow the lizard to climb walls. Viriyavaree identified gaining 3D designing and printing skills as the most rewarding part of his summer research experience. “With these skills, I can design anything and print it in the lab or the Makerspace. Especially, this skill allows me to print tools that can be used in the lab. For example, I created a silicon wafer alignment by using the 3D printer in the Makerspace.”
The Honors Program at Tulane offers academically-gifted and intellectually curious students of all academic majors unique opportunities for immersion in multi-disciplinary scholarship. The Honors Program embraces the ideal of scholarly engagement as a goal for all high achieving students, and the Honors Summer Research Program is one of many ways students achieve this goal.