Honors Summer Research Program explores various fields of study

Each year, the Honors Program awards fellowships to a select group of Sweet Briar students to support them in conducting independent research projects under the supervision of a faculty member.  This past summer was like no other due to COVID but, nonetheless, these students accomplished remarkable research in a variety of areas.

Bijou Barry ’23

Bijou Barry '23“I connected with winegrowers across the region to understand the new age culture of grape growing and winemaking in Virginia. I also utilized environmental ethics to examine philosophical applications to viticultural practices and cultivations in wine growing, the lack of diversity and inclusivity within the wine industry and the effects of ethical thinking in economic endeavors and food systems in the wine industry.” Advisor: August Hardy

Abby Cahill ’21

“My research this summer investigated potential symbiotic agricultural relationships between interplanted mushrooms and vegetable crops. I also explored the roles of mushrooms in soil health, and conduct scoping work on the potential for mushroom cultivation and other types of forest farming on the Sweet Briar campus. Alternative agriculture is a rapidly expanding field, as climate and environmental issues juxtapose an ever-increasing world population teetering atop an industrialized agricultural system. Holistic, creative solutions, such as the ones investigated in this research, have the potential to help alleviate tensions between environment and society and contribute to efforts to achieve food systems sustainability.” Advisor: Lisa Powell

Natalie Carroll ’21

“My project focused on how the Civil Rights Movement was influenced by Cold War communism and why that influence was positive. The goal was to gain a better understanding of not only the positive influence but also why the Civil Rights Movement was influenced by Cold War communism.” Advisor: Dwana Waugh

Nora Florio ’21

“I wanted to explore the symbolism and rituals connected with marriage in the Italian Renaissance beyond the arena of artistic representations. In doing initial background research on marriage practices, I was quite surprised to learn that many of the aspects of matrimony that we usually associate with modern marriage—such as having a ceremony in a church, having witnesses present, and having marriage bands—were completely unnecessary in Italian marriages (and those throughout Catholic Europe) until the mid-16th century, when the Church’s Council of Trent overhauled marriage regulations. This led me to wonder what were the common rituals and symbols associated with a valid marriage in Italy from the beginning of the Renaissance (c. 1400) until the Council of Trent.” Advisors: Lynn Laufenberg, Kimberly Morse-Jones

Ingrid Kalwitz Blanco ’23

“I researched Black firsts, the students that first desegregated schools and their experience. I also researched what happened to former all-Black schools. Specifically, I looked at Chapel Hill’s Lincoln High School and Asheville’s Stephens-Lee High School, with records easily accessible through the Southern Historical Collection and Southern Oral History Program.” Advisor: Dwana Waugh

Lily Peterson ’21

“My project goals were to explore at what level marketing design affects visibility, sales and business success, as well as what trends in design can be considered most successful and how those trends have evolved in the last three decades. I focused on business logos and their color schemes, fonts and overall design. I believe there is value in finding these correlations and psychological preferences for every business willing to try new artistic ideas for visibility and success, but specifically value in benefiting local or starting businesses that may not have the resources for trial-and-error marketing methods. Advisors: Kimberly Morse-Jones, Tim Schauer