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Sensational Summer Symposium

September 7th, 2014 apcook15

Every once in a while, I can pay attention long enough to stop thinking about the latest episode of Doctor Who or my upcoming 1/2 marathon and talk about something more grown-up instead; this, ladies and gentlemen, is one of those rare times. I stopped over the other day at the annual Holy Cross Summer Research Symposium to check out what some of my fellow Crusaders had spent their summers doing, and let me tell you: if you think YOU had a productive summer, prepare for an ego check! I like to think I’ve got enough brain cells to maintain average conversation, but it was all I could do to process the AMAZING work some of my peers had conducted over the last few months. Hailing from every imaginable subject and major, the research on display ranged from potential cancer cures to the societal role of decapitation in Shakespearean drama (I didn’t even know one existed, so thank heavens a brighter soul than mine was able to figure it out). Best of all, many of the presenting scholars were some very good friends, so here today I rounded up a collection of them, to give them all the just credit they deserve!

Only just back from a year of studying abroad at the Universidad de Palma, Spain, Mr. Martin Florimon ’15 wasted no time at all and dived right into a summer research position with the Autism Speaks organization in New York City.
Martin1Focusing his study on the lower diagnosis rate of Hispanic/Latino children with Autism, Martin proposed several explanations and even solutions for this deficit. The world of psychology will only grow brighter once Martin walks across the Fitton Field stage next May!

Next up, Ms. Meaghan McGeary ’16, who took a break from pounding the pavement around Mt. St. James with the Holy Cross Running Club and set up shop at the Lupus Center of Excellence in Pittsburgh, PA, for the summer. Meaghan1Working with a team of forerunner scientists and brand new computer technology, Meaghan conducted tests aimed at identifying early cellular indicators of lupus and other autoimmune diseases. I always knew Meaghan was science minded as soon as, on literally the first day of running club practice, she took me through the stages of anaerobic respiration our legs were undergoing as we ran up College Street.  I’m still just trying to figure out what anaerobic means.



Next, someone who wore TWO employment hats over the summer, my fellow HC summer tour guide Ms. Jersey Burns ’16. While I came to know her as a great summer tour guide for the Admissions department (and fellow Game of Thrones fanatic), she spent her mornings in an entirely different setting.Jersey1Working with a team of peers, Jersey was engaged in – ready for this? – simulating the repair of cigarette-damaged lungs through the growth of stem cells in one of HC’s bio labs. I know she’s not keen on the spotlight, but seriously Jersey… that’s pretty cool.

One of my longest-known friends, who I met eons ago way back on the first day of high school, Mr. Vannak Khin ’15.

After spending last semester abroad in Vietnam, Vannak gained entry into the Mellon program and conducted research for an additional five weeks there. His presentation focused on the daily struggle of small, non-corporate businesses to maintain an existence in the Vietnamese special economic zone on the Cambodian border. Ms. O’Neil would be proud, Vannak.



And lastly, the OTHER new occupant of Williams 506B, HC XC senior Mr. Joe Seebode ’15.


With all due respect to the other presenters of the day, in terms of the one position I myself wouldn’t have minded occupying, Joe here had the winning lottery ticket. He spent his summer on the beaches of the Bald Head Island Conservatory in North Carolina, assisting nesting sea turtles. For someone who’s heading into the field of marine biology after graduation, Joe probably couldn’t have had a better hands-on experience than this one.

Holy Cross is known for a myraid of things, from athletics to community service, but events like this Symposium serve as great reminders that, above all else, this is one of the strongest academic schools around. None of these scholars were forced or pressured into doing the work they did; they chose it out of deep passion, and all of it was on display that afternoon. Just walking around the posters, I could practically feel myself becoming more and more smrt!!!



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