Ibrahim Sakrani '21 at Green Oaks Photo by Submitted

It’s no secret that independent research projects are one of the hallmarks of a Knox education. What may be surprising, however, is how much financial support is available to students pursuing this kind of work.

Since 1995, the Paul K. Richter and Evalyn Elizabeth Cook Richter Memorial Funds, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee, have provided more than $1.3 million to support Knox College students “pursuing projects that foster independence of thought and expression beyond the classic classroom setting.” Grants have paid for student travel to conduct or present research, summer housing and internships, and even the purchase of material and supplies.

For Ibrahim Sakrani ’21, who is pursuing a double major in biology and environmental studies, Richter funding enabled him to purchase “camera traps”—motion-sensing cameras that automatically collect images of wildlife—to study coyotes and bobcats at Green Oaks and assess their population densities.

“I was meant to conduct some sort of field research project while I was abroad in Tanzania last winter; however, I was unable to because of [the pandemic],” said Sakrani. “So, if I had not received Richter funding, I most likely would have had to pursue a different project or used a different technique to estimate populations. Data collection in the winter would not be as doable without the use of camera traps.”

For Anelisa Gamiz ’21, an anthropology and sociology major, Richter funding gave her access to primary source materials she needed for a project analyzing the effect of small-town jury trials on defendants of color. “My project focuses on Galesburg because small towns have fewer people and [less] diversity, meaning a jury composed of the surrounding community cannot be as equal,” she said. “I used a big part of my funding for court transcripts, which are pretty expensive, and I would not have been able to finance that on my own.”

Sakrani and Gamiz are just two of 11 students who received funding during the fall 2020 term. Other projects include:

  • Janki Bhalodi ’21, “Characterizing the Requirement of Upregulated Genes for Proper Regeneration in Stentor Coeruleus”
  • Mussadiq Javed ’20, “Business Analysis at Baroque”
  • Riya Dahal ’21, “Changes in Alpha and Theta Oscillations by Focused-Attention and Open Monitoring Meditation”
  • Loislove Boakye ’21, “The Effects of Different Surgical Techniques on the Healing Process of Wound Closures in Carassius Auratus (Goldfishes)”
  • Keegan Proctor ’21, “Cold Stage SEM Analysis of the GBH-1 Protein Based Hydrogel”
  • Kelly Feng ’21, “Possible Modulation Effects of Bacopa monnieri on EAAT-3 in C6 Glioma Cell Culture”
  • Tina Jeon ’21, “Teachers’ Experience During / After the Pandemic: Comparison of America and South Korea”
  • Madelyn Turner ’21, “Open Studio Project”
  • Melissa Magana ’21, “Recognizing Perceived Care for Hispanic/Latinx Cancer Patients”