April 29, 2002

Summer Search For Work

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Once the semester ends, many Cornellians will pack their bags and leave Ithaca in search of diverse summer opportunities throughout the United States and around the world.

To pursue academic interests outside of Cornell, many students take advantage of summer research opportunities through other universities. Lee Ann Richter ’03 will spend her summer in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains doing research for a professor from the University of California. Richter learned about the professor while searching for research opportunities on various West Coast universities’ websites.

“I really wanted to find an unusual program that involved the outdoors, research and the West Coast,” Richter said.

Richter will work at various testing sites in the White Mountains, which lie along the border of California and Nevada. As a research assistant, she will study the physiological effects of extreme environments on small mammals, she said.

“I like to make sure my summers expose me to knew fields,” Richter said. “Although I am interested in practicing medicine, I want to have the experience of research. I like to use the summers as an excuse to try things that I may not be able to fit into my coursework at Cornell.”

As a Human Biology, Health and Society major in the College of Human Ecology, Richter’s summer research plans do not apply directly to her studies at Cornell.

“Although this research is quite different from my major, I am excited to extend my knowledge of biology from humans to small mammals,” she said.

Although she has been to Washington’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, Richter looks forward to spending time in California.

“I am eager to spend time on the west coast in such a remote area,” she said. “It will be interesting to see how I am able to cope with the altitude!”

Many Cornell programs allow students to explore foreign places. For instance, Kevin Mills ’02 will spend his summer participating in an archaeology dig that Cornell runs in Greece.

Mills and other students will work with Prof. John Coleman, classics, to excavate the ancient town of Halai, which is near Theologos, a small tourist town about two hours from Athens. According to Mills, Coleman has been excavating Halai for several decades.

“The ruins are from Neolithic, Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods, and I’ll be doing various jobs on the site, [such as] digging and cataloguing,” Mills said.

Mills will leave for Greece on June 6 and work at the archaeological site until July 21.

“You start working early in the morning and stop around midday because it gets too hot to work after then,” he said. “The rest of the day is spent sleeping, swimming, [and] going to Theologos.”

Although he is not an archaeology major, Mills decided to participate in the dig after learning about the experience from past participants.

“Since the dig covers my airplane ticket, gives me a tent and provides me with food, I thought this was a great opportunity,” Mills said, adding that it represents a “graduation present, summer vacation and job.”

Alexandra Lewin ’04 also plans to travel abroad this summer through a Cornell program. From May 17 to June 4, Lewin and ten other students will travel to Hungary and Slovakia on an agribusiness fellowship trip.

“The trip is designed to show us how [Hungary and Slovakia’s] agricultural systems work and how they are different from the U.S. food systems,” she said. “I hope to learn about this and see a new part of the world.”

Coordinated by Profs. Brent Gloy and Loren Tauer, applied economics and management, the two-week trip will take the students to various sites around the Hungary and Slovakia, from agricultural institutions to wineries, according to Lewin.

“We have a goose liver tasting at some point and visits to various dairy farms,” she said. “We are also staying in Vienna [for two days] because we

will be landing there.”

As an international agriculture and natural resources major, Lewin predicts that her experience abroad will relate to her studies at Cornell. The trip will also benefit her as she is considering a career in food distribution and planning in the developing world.

“I think this trip will allow me to meet a lot of interesting and important people, and I will learn about agriculture from the business end,” Lewin said.

Many students also take advantage of opportunities to take courses outside of University lecture halls. This summer, Heather Northup ’03 will travel to Argentina with Prof. Suzanne Kay, earth and atmospheric sciences, to participate in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences 417, Geologic Field Mapping in Argentina.

According to the course description, “the course consists of lectures in Buenos Aires and field exercises in Sierras Pampeanas, Precordillera and

Main Cordillera of the Argentine Andes.”

Using previously learned field-methods, students will explore the structures in the area and map them, according to Northup. This course fulfills a field-work requirement that she must complete for her major, Science of Earth Systems.

“I really look forward to this program, meeting new people and studying with them, seeing the Andes and the elaborate geological structures that are there,” Northup said. “It’s always interesting to see real-life examples of things you learn in class.”

The program begins on July 8 and ends on Aug. 1. According to the course description, students will stay at the University of Buenos Aires, in hotels during travel periods and in tents during the bulk of the field exercises. Although the bulk of Northup’s time will consist of completing the course, she plans to sightsee as well.

“I might stay a few extra days to sightsee around Buenos Aires if I can,” she said.

As summer nears, many students plan to use their time away from Cornell to pursue opportunities that will take them far from Ithaca.

Archived article by Stephanie Hankin