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Summer Scholars

Would you rather flip hamburgers (or paint houses or mow lawns) or spend a summer on the Roanoke campus using your mind? Would you like to get a package worth $5,700 for feeding your curiousity?  Summer scholars are paid $2,500, receive summer housing (valued at $1,400), and a summer course credit (valued at $1,800).

Roanoke's Summer Scholar Program is designed for serious students who want to use their summers wisely and work one-on-one with faculty. Every year, students compete for selection to receive one of the summer scholarships. Faculty from across the college review student research proposals and decide these prestigious awards.

For Summer Scholars, the experience continues into the fall, as every student presents their project during Family Weekend. A good salary. A mind-expanding summer. A chance to strut your stuff. It all adds up.

Recent Summer Scholars Projects (2015)


  • Benjamin Cowgill. Effects of participation and denominational governance on religiosity among youth and young adults. (Faculty mentor: Ned Wisnefske, Religion/Philosophy)
  • Adam Ferguson. A sense of emotion. (Faculty mentor: Katherine Shortridge, Fine Arts)
  • Abigail Mendez. Honduras: The realities of immigration and the perilous road to the USA (Faculty mentor: José Bañuelos Montes, Modern Languages)
  • Tessa Sydnor. Representing refugee experience: Reading and researching the literature of displacement. (Faculty mentor: Virginia Stewart, English)

Social Sciences

  • Andrew Feeney. Roanoke Economic Index. (Faculty mentor: Michael Enz, Economics) 
  • Alexandra Grant. Aging and brain area measurements with MRI. (Faculty mentor: David Nichols, Psychology)
  • Emma von der Lieth. War on women: A mixed-methods analysis of sexual violence during armed conflict. (Faculty mentor: Jonathan Snow, International Relations)
  • Courtney Yoke. Bringing back the night: Examining whether time away from technology influences well-being and reflection in emerging adults (Faculty mentor: Denise Friedman, Psychology)


  • Danielle Allen. Cloning and expression of PurF from Sulfolobus solfataricus (Faculty mentor: Catherine Sarisky, Biochemistry)
  • Phillip Barbolla. Optimizing course offerings with genetic algorithms and particle swarm optimization. (Faculty mentor: Chris Lee, Mathematics)
  • Theodore Bauer. Post-burn and diversity and abundance in a sandplain forest of northern Vermont: How many years after a burn do ants return? (Faculty mentor: Valerie Banschbach, Environmental Studies)
  • Benjamin Walker. Effects of Atrazine on the development of craniofacial cartilage, skull sutures, and the heart in zebrafish (Danio rerio). (Faculty mentor: Chris Lassiter, Biology)
  • Natalie Wilkinson. Optical music recognition using hidden Markov models. (Faculty mentor: Christopher Smith, Computer Science)

Roanoke students also frequently present their research work at regional and national professional conferences.  Most summer scholars present their work at such conferences in addition to the on-campus Showcase of Experiential Learning.

For more information contact the Director of Undergraduate Research (