Student Research

Independent Studies

Charissa Roberson

"For my honors in the major project, I conducted research on the lives of two men during WWII-- an American army major named Thomas Howie and a French resistance figher named Raymond Robin-- whose stories insersected at the strategic Norman City of Saint-Lô.  My goal is to tell these stories through a live, multimedia production that will incorproate audio recordings, images, and readings.  The production will be bilingual: one half told in English and the other in French with subtitles for each langauge onscreen.

Through conducting research and putting together this production, I gained immense and invaluable experience with the French language; both being able to read and understand French and communicate with people in France enabled me to expand upon my knowledge of the langauge and culture. 

This project has been a dream of mine for almsot three years now.  When I first pitched the idea to Dr. Clifton, my faculty mentor, she wholeheartedly supported my pursuit of the topic.  Working with Dr. Clifton has been such a rewarding experience, as she is always eager to listen and help in any way she can.  One of my favorite parts of studying at Roanoke College has been the opportunity to pursue projects that are close to my heart and to have faculty mentors who are invested in those projects, down to the smallest detail, and are willing to do whatever they can to help us students bring our ideas to fruition."

Edgard Lacayo

Edgard Lacayo with Dr. Flores-Silva

Business Major
Finance Concentration
Latin American and Caribbean Studies Concentration

"The intention of this independent study was to research and analyze the role of the Nicaraguan upper class in the creation of Nicaragua's political culture.  In the first part of this study, I focused on the origins of the country's political and economic system by looking at the colonial era.  I looked at the roles that different social groups playedin the political and economic enivornment of colonial Nicaragua and how these roles set the stage for how the country would develop after independence. 

The second part of this study focused on the presidency of William Walker and the campaign of reforms he instituted.  I analyzed Walker from a liberal perspective and tried to rehabilitate the image of Walker not as an invader but as a progressive liberal reformer who campaigned against elite power and sought to enfranchise lower classes into the national process.  In this part, I also looked at th eimpact of foreing capital in the national process and analyzed it as a crucial ally of the NIcaraguan elite rather than as an interventionist force.

In the third part of this study, I looked at the reconstruction process after the national war of 1856-1857 was over.  I looked at the changes in political and economic trends based on new ideals adopted by Nicaraguan elites.  I looked at how the spirit of unity and cooperation among elites worked to create a conservative order that destined the country to be dependent on an export based economic model."

View the Indepent Study Contract

Summer Scholars

The Summer Scholars Program at Roanoke College is a grant program that enables qualified students to conduct intensive, independent research for eight to twelve weeks during the summer. To qualify, a student must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and must have completed 8 units of credit by the start of the grant period. Each summer scholar works with a faculty mentor who guides the project. Over the course of the summer, students and mentors meet for a series of colloquia to share ideas.

At the conclusion of the program, a day is set aside to showcase the work of the student scholars. In oral presentations, poster sessions, and research exhibits, they present the findings of their summer-long research, on projects that range from polymer synthesis to the culture of bullfighting in Spain. The Summer Scholar award covers activation waiver for one unit of independent study, on-campus housing, and a stipend of $2500.

Learn more about the program.

Examples of Student Research

Student holding a children's book

  • Code Switching: The Impact of Vocabulary Acquisition in the Bilingual Text and Development of Spanish in Young Learners
  • El Legado de la Malinche y la Virgen de Guadalupe: Neuvas Interpretaciones, Viejas Controversias
  • Mexican Maquiladoras on the Texas-Mexican Border
  • Identity in Science Fiction by Hispanic Women
  • Sociopolitics in Gabriel Garcia Marquez's 'One Hundred Years of Solitude'
  • Studies in French Medical Discourse
  • French Baroque Poetics
  • Founder Documents of Mont St. Michel
  • Paleographic Discourse on the Lineages of the Kings of France