Bates College junior Nick Gajarski presents their research Friday during the Mount David Summit at the college in Lewiston. Gajarski’s project is titled A 3D Bioprinted Embryonic Heart Tube Model Using Human iPSC-derived Cardimyocytes to Study HLHS. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — Scores of Bates College students showed off their academic work Friday about everything from “medical gaslighting” to the effects of aging on the wings of bumblebees.

“This is our version of March Madness,” college President Clayton Spencer said. “And guess what? In this room, everyone is a number one seed and everyone is a winner.”

Bates College senior Sophie Martens presents her research Friday during the Mount David Summit at the college in Lewiston. Martens’ project is titled Inpatient Strategies to Reduce Food and Diaper Insecurity in the Pediatric Hospital Medicine Setting: A Quality Improvement Project. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

In its 21st year, the college’s Mount David Summit celebrated student research, art and community-based scholarship on a stunning range of subjects, some of them so esoteric that they’re difficult to comprehend.

Emily Tamkin, a senior from California, tried valiantly but with limited success to explain her research on the computational analysis of rotavirus antivirals that has the potential to help prevent a deadly disease that usually strikes malnourished children.

Rowan Hassman, a senior from Texas, sought with similar results to detail research into ways to prevent staph infections that become resistant to antibiotics.

But not every subject required academic skills that most people don’t possess.


Bates College senior Emily Tamkin presents her research Friday during the Mount David Summit at the college in Lewiston. Tamkin’s project is titled Computational Analysis of Rotavirus Antivirals. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Maya Vernick, a senior from the Boston area, studied how best to get wildflowers to grow in Centennial Field in the Thorncrag Nature Sanctuary in Lewiston.

Recognizing that pollinators such as bees are becoming scarcer, Vernick studied how best to plant patches of wildflowers, discovering which ones worked well and which methods achieved good results. She said that placing black plastic over the soil for five months before planting killed the weeds and gave the flowers a chance to grow.

Claudia Petrie, another senior, told a forum of sociology-related research that her effort to figure out if Bates’ Green Dot program for combating sexual violence was getting the job done.

She found that first-year students liked it but seniors, who had lived with it for four years, felt “the exact opposite.”

Petrie said that for the program to succeed, it needs more faculty and staff involvement, more training opportunities and a requirement that athletes participate. The committee that runs the program, she said, is already considering changes based on her findings.

Avrah Ross, a senior who delved into the lead paint crisis in Lewiston, hopes her work will also lead to changes.


She said the community has a major problem with lead paint, mostly in the older houses downtown, that is “really harmful” to children growing up there, perhaps leading to high levels of special education in Lewiston schools and stunted futures.

Bates College seniors Hannah Braslau and Lucas Clement present their research Friday during the Mount David Summit at the college in Lewiston. Braslau’s project was titled Dolichospermum Abundance and Toxicity Across the Freshwater to Marine Continuum. Clement’s project was titled Competitive Strategies: Using Agent-Based Simulation to Analyze Algal Competition in Sponge Cells. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Jo Stevens and Olivia Demerath, both seniors, worked with Auburn’s transportation committee to figure out where electrical vehicle charging stations could be placed that would qualify for aid. The library and the Maine Turnpike exit offer the best hope for funding, Stevens said, but other sites like Pettengill Park, Lake Auburn, the Auburn airport and the shopping malls are possibilities.

Another senior, Liam Foley, spoke with eight small business owners in the area about how they coped with the pandemic.

“Everyone at some point had to make a shift in how they did their business,” he said, but they generally felt some satisfaction in persevering.

“They felt like they had a duty to provide” for customers and that doing so connected them to “something greater,” Foley said.

Emily DiBartolo explored what she called the “medical gaslighting” of women who suffer from endometriosis, a common and sometimes painful condition. She found that patients often complained that many medical experts did not trust what women told them.

Other topics researched by students included galactic evolution, German literature, reproductive rights in Latin America, dance choreography, ecosystems in the Himalayas and eelgrass in Padilla Bay, Washington.

Taken together, students offered many “new ideas and new ways of seeing the world,” said Malcolm Hill, dean of the faculty.

Bates College students present their research Friday during the Mount David Summit at the college in Lewiston. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

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