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September 18, 2017
At Knox, 89% of students conduct research, independent study, or creative work. A small percentage of those—13 in 2017—go on to complete College Honors.
An internship in India led Nashra Mahmood '17 to look into what factors motivate or deter women from joining trade unions in the country for her Honors project. "The internship gave me an opportunity to act as a translator for a researcher from the London School of Economics. The translating opportunity gave me hands-on experience in conducting qualitative field work and taught me how to connect with potential participants."
Completing an Honors project is arduous, but rewarding. Students must obtain an endorsement from their academic department and complete advanced study under the guidance of an interdisciplinary faculty committee. The project is completed over the course of an academic year, and once complete, students defend their thesis or creative project or have it critiqued before a qualified outside examiner.
The critique is modeled after the dissertation defense of many graduate school programs.
"Being involved in research as an undergraduate student is an invaluable experience," commented Diandra Soemardi '17, whose project explored the use of iron as a cheap, abundant, energy-saving, and non-toxic catalyst in chemical reactions. "I learned a new set of skills and gained confidence in the lab. I feel like my research will make a positive contribution to not only the environment, but also the society that we live in."
Emily Rosen's research on health inequalities in Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, led her to examine the influence of food labeling on dietary choices for college students. She has already seen how her Honors project has benefited her in job and medical school applications. "Everyone is impressed that an undergraduate was able to conduct an independent research project that is comparable to a graduate-level project," she said.
Pictured above, Nashra Mahmood '17 at the Galesburg Farmer's Market. Pictured below, Ian Tully '17 checks set dimension for Richard III and Jeremy Schmidt '17 sets up biometric attachments to monitor physiological responses with the assistance of Carly Miller '17.
"Being involved in research as an undergraduate student is an invaluable experience." — Diandra Soemardi '17.
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