At Franklin & Marshall College, we believe that undergraduate research, with careful mentoring of a faculty supervisor, can be one of a student's most meaningful and significant experiences at F&M, and it shouldn't be a "rare" experience for just a few hand-picked students.
Consistently, more than 50 percent of F&M seniors participate in an independent study or self-designed major, far more than students at other leading national liberal arts colleges, where according to a national survey of college students, only one-third indicate that they do.
At F&M, the cornerstone of the educational experience we offer is students working side-by-side with faculty who want to help them test ideas, not just talk or read about them. These are not experiences students have to wait until graduate school to pursue. It's a core part of what we do.
Beginning with seminars in the College Houses when students first arrive, through the Connections Curriculum that frames their course of study, and the advanced work students will do through graduation, the intimate, intellectual relationship that is developed between our students and our faculty are part of the College's mission of preparing students for life. Our students develop intellectual skills and have real-life experiences that serve them well beyond graduation.
Hackman Summer Research
A centerpiece of faculty and student joint research at Franklin & Marshall is the Hackman Summer Scholars program. The program involves 60 to 70 students working side-by-side each summer with more than 30 faculty members across campus in innovative projects that span the natural sciences, humanities, social sciences and the arts.
The 10-week period of intense research allows for focused attention on a problem and sometimes results in co-authorship of a publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Some students have had as many as six co-authored publications from their F&M research.
Students may be invited by a faculty member to participate in their research or they may seek admission to a faculty research group. It is not uncommon for students to do research with a faculty member for more than one summer and then combine that experience with independent study in the senior year.
This program is funded in part by an endowment created by an alumnus, William Hackman of the Class of 1939, and his wife, Lucille. Funding is also provided by faculty grants from agencies such as the National Science Foundation, Research Corporation, the Petroleum Research Fund, National Institutes of Health and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
F&M Student Discovers Rare Intergalactic Pulsar
A Hackman Scholarship offered F&M senior Jack Madden a chance to make a rare discovery—160,000 light years from Earth. Madden spent much of his summer working with Associate Professor of Astronomy Fronefield Crawford searching for pulsars — rapidly rotating neutron stars the size of New York City. Then he found one. In the quiet astronomy research lab, he noticed something as he combed through data on his computer -- the classic dark line indicative of a pulsar.
F&M junior Emily Hawk, a double major in dance and history worked with Lynn Brooks, Arthur and Katherine Shadek Professor of Humanities and Dance, whose research focuses on the role ballet played in forging American culture in the early 19th century.Read more
Is society drawn to death and destruction? Are humans intrigued by violent undertones? F&M junior Zheng Jin found himself asking these questions as he researched a growing industry called dark tourism -- historic sites linked to death and tragedy.Read more
An F&M professor and his student researcher used the latest tool in archeology, the drone, to capture aerial photos in a survey of abandoned Greek villages that scholars can use for archeological study.Read more