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President’s Summer Fellows Travel the Globe

By Public Affairs on March 18, 2015 05:22 PM

Linguistics major Knar Hovakimyan ’16 will travel to Armenia to translate contemporary poetry.

Reed is proud to announce the latest winners of the President’s Summer Fellowship: eight outstanding projects that combine intellectual pursuit, imagination, adventure, personal transformation, and service to the greater good.

Inaugurated by President John R. Kroger, with generous support from trustee Dan Greenberg ’62 and his wife, Susan Steinhauser, the fellowship attracted scores of creative proposals. The winners will be awarded $5,000 each to pursue their projects during summer 2015. Here they describe their projects in their own words.

PSF 15Art Therapy in Florence 

Margaret MacLean ’16, studio art

Art has always been a huge part of how I see and interact with the world, but it wasn’t until I discovered art therapy that I realized how art can create a space of healing and connection. Inspired by my recent experience interning with a recreational therapist, I will spend the summer immersed in art in Florence, Italy, leading art classes for youth with intellectual and developmental challenges at the Cooperativa Barberi. My goals are to assist young people in need, explore a career path in art therapy, develop my ideas as an artist, and strengthen my understanding of Italian language and culture.

 

PSF 15

Nanofluidics and Gene Mapping

Abrar Abidi ’16, physics

The last half-century has phenomenally advanced our scientific understanding of life. In the young field of biological physics, researchers draw on the quantitative skills and experimental methods of the physicist to investigate problems traditionally in the biologist’s arena. I will spend the summer in the lab of Prof.Walter Reisner ’00 at McGill University, in Montreal, Canada, where I will join his research team to help develop a new nanofluidic technology based on the technique of nanoscale dielectrophoresis. The goal of this research will be to drastically improve a decade-old DNA confinement method. Our technology would more easily allow researchers to rapidly map complete genomes from a single cell’s DNA, obviating the many drawbacks of relying on genomic material collected from pools of tens of thousands of cells. The ability to map genomes on a single-cell, single genome basis has key implications for cancer biology. Our approach, which would give us insight into the distribution of genomic information across cell populations, could lead to new treatment paradigms.

 

psfBuilding a Particle Model for Fluids

Qiaoyu Yang ’16, mathematics

The study of fluid motivates an important branch of mathematics—computational fluid dynamics—a flourishing field that interests both mathematicians and physicists. There are several models describing the flow of fluid using differential equations. However, these models, which are based on the Navier-Stokes equation or Boltzmann equation, cannot yield accurate result when particle effect is strong. My project this summer is to test the performance of a probabilistic particle model. I will spend the summer working with Prof. Aleksandar Donev in the Courant Institute at New York University. We will use a method called DSMC to perform particle simulation of chemically reactive mixture of gases, which is one of the cases where traditional models break down. To build up the new model, there are many theoretical difficulties. I will learn, think, and code a lot, which should deepen my understanding of the math involved and hone my mathematical modeling skills.

 

psfContemporary Art in (Formerly) Imperial Space

Orla O’Sullivan ’16, Russian

The State Hermitage Museum, founded by Catherine the Great in 1764, is an exemplar of global visual culture and its influences. The Saint Petersburg-based institution houses nearly 3 million items (dating from pre-antiquity to modernity) within 10 buildings. This summer, I will explore the Hermitage’s collections by interning with the Hermitage Volunteer Service. I will assist staff with research, archival projects, and educational programs throughout the museum—particularly with the museum’s newly acquired contemporary collection. I will also develop a research project examining the curatorial, visual, and spatial organization of modern and contemporary exhibitions. I want to document reception to controversial exhibitions, such as Manifesta 10, which explored themes of queer gender and sexual identities. I am also interested to observe the Hermitage’s newly-renovated General Staff Building, which houses the 19th- to 21st-century collections within a space that marries 19th-century neoclassicism and Soviet classicism and contemporary minimalism, architecturally referencing the museum’s employment of new curatorial strategies.

 

psfPoetry (Past and Now) in the American Southwest

Nathan Martin ’16, English

Salt Lake City, Utah, is my hometown. It’s also where I learned to call myself a poet and a writer. I carried a notebook with me everywhere, writing poems between customers at my grocery job, while backpacking in the desert, while sitting on the salt flats after my first funeral. I went to two open mics a week and hosted a monthly poetry slam in a basement jazz club. Poetry and words were my best connections to other people. I lived for it. Then I moved to Portland and stopped. Now, after seven years, the urge to write poetry has resurfaced through study at Reed and I have some questions to explore. What does poetry mean to me now? Why did I drop it for seven years? And why was writing poetry so important to me for so long? This project is about rewriting my connection to poetry, starting with SLC. I’m taking a road trip back to my hometown and into the desert to search through my roots and answer these questions. At the end, I’ll self-publish a small book of poetry from the trip.

 

psfRevealing Contemporary Armenia through Poetry Translation

Knar Hovakimyan ’16, linguistics

My goal is to translate 10 to 20 contemporary poems from Armenian into English and publish the collection online. I want to do this in Armenia in order to have a chance to work directly with the poets during the translation process and to learn more about the culture and literary history. I recently translated two poems by an Armenian poet, Vahun Hovakimyan, who has agreed to work with me on this project and put me in touch with other poets. Armenia has a rich literary history that comes from a unique perspective, and it would be valuable to have more of this literature available to English speakers. This project would be a way for me to begin introducing Armenian literature to English-speaking communities; in becoming involved with the Armenian literary community and gaining experience in translation, I would be equipped to do future projects like this one, eventually working on translations of classical Armenian works.

 

psfThe Changing Landscape of Livy’s Rome

Haley Tilt ’16, classics 

The Roman historian Livy possessed a unique capacity for creating geographical spaces and populating those spaces with stories, but no one has really succeeded in making an interactive map of Livy's monuments so that students can visualize the Imperial city he describes. To fill this gap, I will build a website that will let students experience Livy’s Rome by taking a virtual stroll through the monuments he describes. I will travel to Rome to photograph the monuments and their surroundings. Then I will return to Reed to design a open-source website integrating my photographs into an interactive map of ancient Rome. My project will provide a useful supplement to students in Hum 110, Roman history, and other classics courses, as well as anyone interested by the unique way ancient Romans interacted with monuments, space, and history.

 

psfThe Green’s Apartment

Elizabeth Groombridge ’16, psychology/theatre

The Green’s place, a rundown college apartment, has some new summer tenants. Gary, Elena, and Tony are bored twenty-somethings spending the summer in Chicago, looking for some fun, or so Tony says anyway. To Phoebe, who lives across the hall, they seem pretty weird—particularly Gary. That doesn’t stop him from being entirely too attractive . . . 

I propose to create a queer, supernatural webseries based on Shakespeare’s comedy As You Like It, which mocks the trend of English pastoralism and showcases the Shakespearean notion of the "Green World.” Playing on this theory of the Green World and attempting to keep the court dynamics, all of the characters from the court in this adaptation will be fae, and the Green World will be the modern human world. As You Like It also explores gender roles by having the female protagonist, Rosalind, disguise herself as a man, Ganymede, and then, as Ganymede, act the part of a woman. Unlike many of Shakespeare’s other gender-disguise plot lines, Rosalind fully embodies the male role, remaining in it even when around those who know her “true” gender. I will further explore this through a genderfluid Rosalind.