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Women in Science Project
6243 Parker House, 2nd floor
(Located in a two-story white frame house)
Hanover, NH
Phone: (603) 646-3690
Email: WISP@Dartmouth.EDU

Project Descriptions

  • Good project descriptions invite interested students to seek an interview. Several sentences summarizing the context and the scientific question being pursued are sufficient.
  • Identify some responsibilities the intern will assume, skills and knowledge to be developed, and necessary qualifications (or lack of) for the internship. While her specific responsibilities may be redefined or evolve overtime, this type of description allows a student to better relate a new learning situation to her current knowledge and interests. Many students are willing to pursue areas in which they have little or no familiarity.
  • While the internship program culminates in a science poster symposium with each intern preparing a poster, the project need not be self-contained in the two terms or be an independent project. Many internships are “works in progress” as part of the larger group research effort. Some descriptions layout a range of possible directions; others are more narrowly focused.
  • A description that is overly technical and uses jargon or acronyms without explanations may detract students.
  • Assistant Sponsors: We recommend that you identify graduate students or others on your research team with whom the intern will have the day-to-day contact. It is also good to mention whether you plan to host more than one intern.


Sponsor: Rebecca Irwin
Title: Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
Project Title: The conservation of plant-pollinator interactions
Project Description: Pollination is an essential part of reproduction for most flowering plants. On a world-wide basis, almost 90% of flowering plants rely on insects or other animals for pollination service, and the conservation of native plant-pollinator interactions has both ecological and economic importance. Our lab studies the ecological and evolutionary relationships between plants and pollinators. Students taking part in this WISP project will have the opportunity to study how invasive exotic plants alter the pollination of native plants. Students will work with living organisms as well as pollen and seed samples collected from wild growing plants. During the first part of this internship, students will learn how to (a) develop and experimentally test hypothesis, (b) visualize pollen in multiple different dorms, and (c) quantify seed production. During the second part of this internship, students will use their new skills to develop and test a hypothesis, and will learn how to statistically analyze data. Because this project involves the use of living plants and insects and their tissues, we are looking for students who want a hands-on experience in ecology and who are patient, consistent and enthusiastic. We will accept up to two interns for this project.

Sponsor: Chris Bailey-Kellogg
Title: Assistant Professor of Computer Science
Project Title: Planning and interpreting experiments for protein structure and function
Project Description: How do proteins carry messages into and within cells, how do they help chemical processes happen and how do they perform mechanical work? Many computational problems arise in trying to make sense of the experimental data produced in studying these questions. These computational problems can be made easier — and so can the experimental work — if some additional computation is done up-front to determine the most appropriate experiments for a given study. Our computational lab is working with biologists, chemists and statisticians on integrated approaches in which algorithms "sandwich" experiments, both guiding and experimental choices and interpreting the resulting data. The focus of the WISP project will depend on the interests of the intern, but could range from prediction and analysis of how proteins interact with each other, to development of software for determining how best to mix-and-match fragments of various proteins, to application of simulation techniques for studying how proteins structures flex over time. Since our lab works on computational issues, some background and an interest in computation is expected, although the intern's primary interests and plans could lie in any of the relevant areas.

Sponsor: Dorothy Wallace
Title: Professor, Department of Mathematics
Project Title: Mathematics applications in biology or medicine
Project Description: My research interests are in number theory, especially analytic number theory. I am interested in working with a motivated student who is interested in exploring some of the applications of mathematics to current issues in biology and/or medicine. The intersection of mathematics and biology is a rapidly growing field of interdisciplinary research spanning ecology as well as human biology. The selected intern will have studied mathematics at least through calculus and be open to creative thinking and problem solving beyond this discipline. The direction of the intern's project will evolve from our initial conversations and the interests of the selected intern.

Last Updated: 10/20/10