New York nightclubbing and laser accelerators: College funds 10 student summer projects

Every year the College offers funding to support undergraduates who wish to undertake a research project during the Long Vacation. The scheme is competitive and students must submit a research proposal to the Warden and Tutors’ Committee, who judge the applications. Despite the restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, students came up with creative ways to carry out research remotely on a wide range of topics.

This year, 10 students were successful:

  • Connor Aberlé (Year 2, Computer Science and Philosophy)
  • Dylan Adlard (Year 3, Biochemistry)
  • Jan Siuta (Year 2, Physics)
  • Lowenna Renals (Year 2, Medicine)
  • Marcell Szakaly (Year 2, Physics)
  • Mario Stepanik (Year 2, Economics and Management)
  • Radoslaw Grabarczyk (Year 2, Physics)
  • Rodrigo Marlasca Aparicio (Year 2, Mathematics)
  • Romy Williamson (Year 2, Mathematics)
  • Zheng Hong Lieu (Year 3, Philosophy, Politics and Economics)

The projects have ranged from Mario Stepanik’s research into the New York nightclub Studio 54 to Marcell Szakaly’s work on laser accelerators. Some students worked with established research groups on a defined project, while others used the time to design their own independent study. One student, Dylan Adlard, was able to work on furthering understanding of Covid-19 transmission with a research group at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford. A selection of reports from those who took part in the scheme are available to read here.

The students who took part were enthusiastic about the benefits they had gained from taking part in the scheme:

“The project was also of significant personal benefit because it provided an opportunity to learn to programme in Python, to use its powerful data handling libraries, and to develop my skills in scientific data analysis. I am hoping to pursue a DPhil/PhD position relating to computational biochemistry and biomedical informatics, so the importance of these outcomes cannot be understated.”
Dylan Adlard

“It has been an amazing experience to get to learn from the best experts in the fields presented above. Although my internship had to be conducted online, I have gained not only factual knowledge, but also witnessed ways of tackling problems in systematic and incredibly effective ways. […] I am especially grateful for the college grant, because it let me fully focus on this internship, thus letting me contribute in ways significant enough to extend beyond a summer project to co-authoring a paper on this idea.”
Radoslaw Grabarczyk

“Undertaking a summer project has been a valuable experience because it has allowed me to explore a subject not directly on the course syllabus whilst gaining a much better understanding of the research process. It also helped me to make better informed module choices for the next year. I decided that I would like to submit another project as an assessed module, something that I had not really considered before doing the summer project. The content of the projects will be fairly distinct, but I will start the second project with confidence that I have already practised highly relevant skills such as reading academic papers and writing mathematics.”
Romy Williamson

Applications for next year’s Summer Projects scheme open in February 2021.