Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

First internship, lasting lessons

Brandon Williams ’16

Brandon Williams ’16 harvests sea lettuce on a beach at the southern tip of Biddeford Pool in Maine.

This summer, Brandon Williams ’16 had his first internship. Not only did he gain valuable experience, he also learned lessons about what it means to be a researcher.

Brandon Williams ’16

Brandon Williams ’16 works on the extraction process in the lab at the University of New England.

Williams, a biochemistry major and Community Merit Scholar, spent three months working as a research assistant at the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine, under the direction of Amy Deveau, an associate professor of chemistry at the university, and Kristin Burkholder, an assistant professor of biology.

The team’s research is centered on two types of sea lettuce that are common along the Maine coast. The primary focus of the research involves looking into the antimicrobial effects of sea lettuce extracts upon several clinically relevant pathogens; many types of seaweeds have been shown to exhibit antimicrobial activity.

“The significance of this is that with further research, the extracts from various types of seaweeds may potentially serve an important role in disease prevention and treatment in the future,” said Williams, who plans to go to medical school after graduating from Wheaton.

Looking back over the summer, he notes that the most enjoyable part of the internship was also the most challenging. [Read more...]

Preparation, connection lead to Good Housekeeping internship

Rachel Bowie ’04 with Abigail Matses ’15 at Good Housekeeping in New York City. (Photo by Lawrence J. Whritenour)

Rachel Bowie ’04 with Abigail Matses ’15 at Good Housekeeping in New York City. (Photo by Lawrence J. Whritenour)

There is plenty to be said for being in the right place at the right time—and then being prepared when those two things occur. Abigail Matses ’15 didn’t leave any of this to chance last spring when she attended the Liberal Education And Professional Success (LEAPS) event sponsored by the Wheaton Institute for the Interdisciplinary Humanities (WIIH). Consequently, she landed an editorial internship at Good Housekeeping in New York City.

She listened when her advisor and WIIH co-founder Professor Touba Ghadessi recommended that she pay close attention to the alum speakers discussing their careers at the LEAPS event. Matses saw that one of the presenters would be Rachel Bowie ’04, associate editor of digital editions at Good Housekeeping. So she did her homework.

“I spent the night researching her and the magazine so that I could speak with her after the event. It seemed too good to be true,” said Matses, who is double majoring in art history and studio art with a concentration in graphic design. “When the presentation finished, I found Professor Ghadessi and told her that I was pretty sure Rachel Bowie had my dream job. She whisked across the room and brought Rachel back with her to talk to me. Rachel ended up passing my résumé along and writing me a great recommendation. I will be forever grateful for that.” [Read more...]

A minute with…

Elise Waelder ’16

Page-10-Elise-Waelder1Elise Waelder, who is majoring in studio art with a minor in psychology and is captain of the Wheaton women’s volleyball team, spent part of the summer in Ostional, Costa Rica. She volunteered at a turtle conservation refuge through International Volunteer Headquarters. [Read more...]

Peering into deep space

Mars, NASA grants support student-faculty study of black holes

Wheaton professor Dipankar Maitra, right, with students Ryan Dill ’15 (middle) and John Scarpaci ’17 on the roof of the Mars Center for Science and Technology

Wheaton professor Dipankar Maitra, right, with students Ryan Dill ’15 (middle) and John Scarpaci ’17 on the roof of the Mars Center for Science and Technology

Mysterious and impossibly distant, neutron stars and black holes may hold the key to better understanding the physics of the universe. John Scarpaci ’17 and Ryan Dill ’15 spent the summer peering into this puzzling environment under the guidance of Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy Dipankar Maitra.

After receiving Wheaton’s Mars Faculty/Student Research Grant, Maitra applied to the NASA/Rhode Island Space Grant Consortium for matching funds. The two grants provided a faculty stipend, stipends for two students, and research funds that were used to purchase a computer for data modeling and storage.

Sitting out in space—at least 5,000 or so light years away from Earth—neutron stars and black holes don’t reveal much by themselves. Black holes in particular don’t emit light, so for researchers to study the environments around them, these entities must be seen reacting with objects near them. A common scenario that can be studied occurs in a binary, or two-star, system. [Read more...]