Whistle While You Research

Every College Guide book will tell you that at any small liberal arts college in New England (read Middlebury), research opportunities abound. The Middlebury College website itself says that, “Middlebury offers a huge array of research opportunities for undergraduates in all disciplines,” but as a prospective student (interested in Psychology, nonetheless) I always doubted whether or not there were real opportunities for research at any of the colleges I was visiting.

Tour guides and admissions counselors alike would talk about how ‘easy’ it was to do research and I even find myself telling tour group attendees that all they need to do in order to secure some form of research is to  show interest, but how true is all of this? Is it really that easy to work alongside professors and even maybe someday be published in a research periodical before you can legally drink (which would be especially impressive if you lived in Fiji apparently)?

The short answer is: yes. During the Summer here at Midd, for example, over 200 students are doing research work in every science department offered here at Middlebury. To give you an idea of what some of that work includes I did some researching (oh hardy har har) on the Middlebury website and found a section devoted to students who have done summer research at Middlebury. One of the students, Tyler Prince, discusses what his research entailed:

What was your summer research internship?
I spent the summer with another Middlebury Jr. in Professor Mark Spritzer’s lab. Mark’s research entails the effects of hormones, mostly androgens, on spatial memory and neurogenesis. So, throughout the course of 10 weeks, we, as undergraduates, were able to excercise skills such as hours of spatial memory testing and other medical procedures. It was unbelievable getting to exercise skills I may not use again until I’m in medical school. Professor Spritzer’s research is targeted towards the treatment of depression and Alzheimer’s. Through the stimulation of certain neural pathways, clinicians may eventually be able to radically alter the pathophysiology of a host of neurogenerative diseases.

Scientific jargon aside, I never cease to be amazed at the wonderful opportunities offered to Midd Kids in all sorts of academic areas. This summer, in fact, my friend Whitney and I are doing research with our FYS (First Year Seminar) adviser Professor Kimble in the Psychology department, exploring the causes and effects of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). It’s been a great experience thus far and has, at times, made me forget that I’m really just a rising sophomore in college, because I’m working alongside a professor who has been doing really great research work for years.

Sounds like an excerpt from a Princeton Review book, eh?

Until the next rat gets injected with hormones,



Because, honestly, who doesn’t love Ke$ha? :


One Response

  1. I’d also hope that summer research students check out the newly launched MiddLab: http://blogs.middlebury.edu/middlab/

    Tyler and many others are already featured there. Email middlab@middlebury.edu to get yourself on there

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