Applications for Summer Scholars due soon

Eight to ten students sought across disciplines


Students and faculty are gearing up for one of Baldwin Wallace’s most competitive academic programs of the year: the Summer Scholars program.
Since its conception in 2004, Summer Scholars has invited students of all majors to spend ten weeks of their summer researching topics jointly decided upon by themselves and their faculty research mentors. Once accepted into the organization, students are provided with free on-campus housing, a research budget, and a stipend for their work.
At the end of their ten weeks, the scholars finish out the program by giving short presentations to various BW administrators, including President Robert Helmer, and they often choose to continue their research into the school year.
Applications for the 2018 Summer Scholars will be due Jan. 26, and any student looking to apply must have both a research topic and a faculty research mentor who has agreed to attend the Summer Scholars events. Additionally, all students in the program will be expected to present their research at BW’s Ovation the following spring.
This year, the program is looking to accept eight-to-ten applicants and encourages students of all majors, and of all schools, to consider applying.
“At many places with this sort of program,” said BW Provost Stephen Stahl, “what you end up with is a lot of the hard sciences. At this school, we’re blessed by having good breadth across the disciplines.”
As head of academics at BW, Stahl convenes a committee of faculty from each school who decides which applicants will be given a position in the Summer Scholars program.
He explained how the committee looks for students who will show “academic resilience” when faced with setbacks.
“Things are not going to work right all the way through,” said Stahl.
He elaborated that students able to push through these “crises of confidence” are those the Summer Scholars program is looking for. Since BW’s founding, the idea of an “applied education,” or an education by doing, has served as an adage for the university, and the Summer Scholars program looks to fulfill this.
Senior chemistry and economics double major Laert Fejzullari participated in the Summer Scholars program this past summer. His project, “Does Beauty Matter?” discusses research about whether a CEO’s facial beauty correlates to pay.
Fejzullari conducted his research in conjunction with Dr. Herman Sahni, assistant professor of finance, who has conducted similar research herself. Sahni offered Fejzullari a position working with her for research on the same topic after he took her Advanced Statistical Methods course. He took their research one step further by entering the Summer Scholars program.
Although students in the organization often range from theatre majors to biology majors, Fejzullari quickly formed close relationships with his colleagues during their ten weeks together.
“It really captured the spirit of Baldwin Wallace in that one house,” he said. “We had a common thread of seeking to better ourselves using research and we had a devotion to our fields, which I think brought us all together.”
In March 2018, Fejzullari will present his research at the Eastern Economic Association in downtown Boston. He is also considering presenting in Chicago for the Midwest Economic Association.
Summer Scholars provides a hands-on research experience, which leads many students, like Fejzullari, to continue their research after the program. Summer Scholars can be a benefit to students’ graduate-level studies, while also enabling them to build valuable relationships with knowledgeable faculty in their field of study.