LEWISBURG, Pa. (July 25, 2023) – Research at Bucknell doesn’t take a summer break. More than 250 Bucknell students are spending their summer conducting experiments, delving into archives and exploring creative questions to make meaningful discoveries.
Bucknell’s Office of Undergraduate Fellowships and Research connects students with programs both within the University and with external organizations that advance what they’ve learned in the classroom and enable them to develop new skill sets that will benefit their future studies and careers.
Two such programs – Bucknell’s Emerging Scholars Summer Research, Scholarship & Creavity Program and the Bucknell Program for Undergraduate Research – create and nurture a collaborative community of research scholars on campus for eight to 10 weeks each summer. Bucknell removes financial barriers to participation by providing free campus housing and a stipend to cover students’ living expenses so students can fully immerse themselves in their research.
“Bucknell makes a significant investment in supporting undergraduate research and ensuring that there is support for students’ scholarly interests,” says Margaret Marr, director of Undergraduate Fellowships and Research. “Students develop meaningful, lifelong relationships with their research mentors while learning valuable, transferable skills, like teamwork and communication.”
Throughout the summer, the Office of Undergraduate Fellowships and Research organizes weekly gatherings for researchers and mentors. These community-building events enhance students’ social networks while demonstrating the value of interdisciplinary collaboration. “Having an opportunity to discuss their work with a person in a different discipline can bring a new perspective and spark an idea that helps to advance their work,” Marr says. “They are investigating things others have never investigated before, which means they’ll inevitably encounter obstacles they’ll need to overcome. Every employer I’ve ever met likes to hire problem-solvers.”
Meet one of these problem-solvers.
During the fall 2022 semester, Brooke Corpuz ’26 had only been on campus for a few weeks, when Marr visited her Residential College to encourage students to conduct summer research. “I had assumed those types of programs were for science majors,” Corpuz says. “When I learned that they included humanities projects, I thought, ‘I should really take advantage of this.’ It’s kind of crazy that an idea I generated is invested in. I feel so grateful.”
As an Emerging Scholar, Corpuz is working to understand how novelists avoid cultural appropriation and stereotyping in their portrayal of diverse characters. They are conducting a literary review under the guidance of Professor Chase Gregory, English, to study how authors approach the inclusion of various identities – spanning race, culture, gender and sexuality – and intend to create an online guide for aspiring writers at Bucknell on how to be thoughtfully inclusive.
“I think novels, when done well, are empathy machines,” Corpuz says. “They help you understand other people, their experiences and their identities.”
Through their research, Corpuz is developing best practices that authors can adapt to strengthen their language, knowledge and empathy. These include: examining their internal biases by asking why they want to include this identity in their work; being in community with the kinds of people they are writing about; reading books written by authors who have that identity; receiving criticism from members of that community.
To help them better understand the challenges authors face when writing from a perspective other than their own, Corpuz is simultaneously writing a novel whose main character is a trans man. What Corpuz is uncovering in their own writing process is enhancing their research – and vice versa. “I think the key is getting people to be humble, and say, I don’t know about this experience but I want to understand so I can learn and write better,” says Corpuz, who is a Posse Scholar from Clarksburg, Md. “I think that’s a good universal lesson for everyone.”
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Photo credit: Emily Paine, Bucknell University