photos by Dan Bretl '07
Did you know that the average Sarah Lawrence first-year does laundry three times per month, but the average senior only visits the washers and dryers twice a month?
“Where Does SLC Do Laundry?,” a study conducted by a group of statistics students, was just one of many research projects presented at the biannual Poster Session, a staple event of the Division of Natural Science and Mathematics. More than 100 science and math students and faculty attended the December event.
Just as professional scientists dialogue with their colleagues through poster presentations, students have the opportunity to learn about one another’s work and share their own scientific findings. For example, the laundry researchers explained to visitors that they were surprised by their results: They had expected to find the greatest distinction in habits between male and female students, but instead discovered that a student’s class year was the greatest indicator of how often she or he did laundry.
Fifty-seven posters were on view at the Poster Session, covering topics as diverse as liver regeneration (for a biology course), the mechanics of death (for a physics course), and the ecological consequences of toxic waste disposal (for an environmental chemistry course). Presenting students stood near their colorful displays and eagerly answered questions about their projects.
Physics faculty member Scott Calvin started the Poster Session five years ago for physics students. Since then, the event has grown steadily, in number of students and posters presented, as well as in breadth of disciplines represented. Many students return to participate year after year. Once Calvin overheard a student say, “This is my favorite time of year.”
“Poster conferences are a great way for science students to communicate their ideas to the larger community,” says Calvin.
First-year Jenny Fitzpatrick ’11 was enthusiastic about displaying her poster, which looked at the effect of global dimming—when clouds reflect the sun’s rays back to space—on global warming. The project was part of her environmental chemistry class.
She said, “This is a great way to see what everyone else is doing, as well as to share my own work.”
—Suzanne Guillette MFA ’05