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W&L Students Win SSIR Grants

Seven Washington and Lee University seniors are pursuing research projects over the summer after winning Student Summer Independent Research (SSIR) grants from the University.

Now in its fifth year, the SSIR program complements the University’s R.E. Lee Scholars program, established in 1960. The SSIR grants underwrite students’ independent research and creative projects, with faculty serving as mentors.

“While the R.E. Lee Scholars program supports collaborative research in which students participate in and contribute to the research projects of their faculty mentors, SSIR grants are designed for more solo efforts,” said Hank Dobin, dean of the College at W&L. “The Lee Scholars’ model works well in the sciences, and SSIR is designed to focus in the humanities and arts. They allow us to support students during the summer before their senior years to pursue original projects.”

The grants-up to $3,100 each for four to 10 weeks of work-cover travel and living expenses, as well as other costs associated with the recipients’ projects. The program is funded by the College and the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics.

This year’s winners and their topics:

• Henri Hammond-Paul, English major, Nyack, N.Y.: Researching an honors thesis in English focusing on the works of Henry David Thoreau, especially considering how people in the 21st century can contextualize Thoreau’s ideas to inform their lives.

• MaKenzie Hatfield, archaeology/anthropology and geology double major, Charleston, W.Va.: Conducting soil analysis to benefit the archaeological research being conducted at Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest.

• Kuan Si, mathematics major, Guiyang City, China: Understanding the proof in the paper written by Diego Marques, “On the Intersection of Two Distinct k-generalized Fibonacci Sequences,” and analyzing the intersection of the Fibonacci sequence with the Tetranacci, the Pentanacci sequences and so on. Based on this, he plans to propose a conjecture and prove it.

• Chris Washnock, religion and Spanish double major, Greer, S.C.: Exploring the institutional and historical effects on selfhood and soteriology, a dual philosophical and sociological exercise.

• Morten Wendelbo, global politics major, Aabybro, Denmark: Examining and comparing the emergence of the Washington Consensus and the more amorphous Beijing Consensus, which are the foreign-policy approaches of the U.S. and China, respectively, toward the developing world.

• Stephen Wilson, politics and studio art major, Columbia, S.C.: Using photography to capture the dynamics of personal belief at Glasgow Presbyterian Church and how this affects the entire rural community.

• Carl Wolk, religion major, Danbury, Conn.: Researching an honors thesis to determine the extent to which the economic model of distributism was realized in medieval England.