A record 50 students displayed their results from 35 research projects at the 18th annual Westmont College Student Research Symposium. Representing 16 different majors, they worked closely with professors on their projects.
While many chemistry, biology, physics and computer science majors prepared posters, so did students in religious studies, English, liberal studies and psychology. This broad representation highlights the college’s commitment to undergraduate research.
Research topics included the trans-mission of blood parasites from female garter snakes to their offspring, variations in light in two-star systems, the effects of charismatic worship on generosity, the role of ethnic identity in prejudice toward immigrants, and improving social behavior in children with autism spectrum disorder.
“One of the hallmarks of Westmont’s academic program consists in the oppor-tunity for undergraduate students to work directly with faculty on research and scholarly projects,” says Warren Rogers, professor of physics, who coordinated the event.
He worked with students on three projects: “Light Variability in the Star System U-Geminorum,” which relied on Westmont’s powerful Keck Telescope; “Analysis Results from the LISA Com-missioning Experiment” at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State, an ongoing project for Rogers and his students; and “The Cosmic Muon Detector Array at Westmont College,” which students built to investigate long-term cosmic muon flux in the Santa Barbara area.
Six of the 50 students presented their major honors projects at the symposium.