The Library, Academic Technology Services, and the Writing Center are offering the following programs for Amherst College students doing research on campus during the summer, as well as other members of the community. All workshops require advance registration; see links in the descriptions below.

Any questions? Please contact Andy Anderson (Academic Technology), Dawn Cadogan (Library), Kristen Greenland (Library), Jessica Kem (Writing Center), or Maureen Manning (SURF).

For a calendar grid with exportable events, click here.


2017 Schedule

Gatherings

The Research Process

Summer Researcher Reception Documenting Your Research with Zotero
Summer Thesis Research Table Productive Habits for Big Writing Projects
Summer Research Poster Session Ethics Discussion Luncheon
  Get the Picture: Finding and Using Images

Analyzing

Communicating

Mapping Geographic Data with ArcGIS Manipulating Images with Adobe Photoshop
Exploring Data with Excel Creating Drawings with Adobe Illustrator
Analyzing Data with Mathematica Interactive Data Visualization on the Web
Scientific Programming with Python More than Word: Scrivener and Other Alternative Writing Apps
Investigating Networks with Gephi Scholarly Communication in Science Luncheon
  Effective Poster Design
  Constructing Posters for High-Impact Communication
  Writing Scientific Papers with LaTeX

 

Gatherings

 

Summer Researcher Reception

Main Quad, near Frost Library

Student researchers are invited to join instructional staff to enjoy some refreshments, talk informally about your projects, and learn about upcoming workshops.

  • Tuesday, June 13, 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

 

Summer Thesis Research Table

Frost Library, Research Tables (first floor)

The Thesis Research Table is a regular meet-up for thesis students to find support from each other & from instructional staff. Each week will focus on an aspect of the research and writing process; topics will be determined by the group. These might be instructional activities, discussions, work sessions, or whatever works for the group. Lunch will be served! Drop in or attend regularly. Email Jessica Kem or Blake Doherty for more information.

  • Thursdays, 12:00 – 1:00 PM, June 15 - August 3

 

Annual Summer Student Research Poster Session

Come to a showcase of original student research from this summer — and bring your own poster if you have one! Student researchers will share works in progress, summer research stories, thesis ideas, and experimental results.

All students, faculty, and staff are welcome. Refreshments and snacks will be provided.

View last Year’s Poster Session Program and “Best of” winners!

  • Friday, September 8, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Please register in advance.


 

The Research Process

 

Documenting Your Research with Zotero

Frost Library, Lane Room

Zotero is a free program that helps you collect, manage, and cite your sources. It's available in all computer labs on campus and you can also install it on your personal computer. Tutorials and documentation are also available. Register to attend a workshop, or contact Kristen Greenland for an individual appointment.

This workshop is repeated four times:

  • Thursday, June 8, 1 PM – 2 PM
  • Monday, June 19, 12 Noon – 1 PM
  • Wednesday, June 28, 12 Noon – 1 PM
  • Tuesday, July 11, 10 AM – 11 AM

 

Productive Habits for Big Writing Projects

Merrill 300B, Keefe Science Library

If you are starting on a long-term writing project such as an honors thesis, you may have good intentions about setting deadlines and staying motivated, but you may also recognize that you've never done this before. Learn practices that will help you start and complete a project you can be proud of while avoiding agony and despair. This workshop will introduce you to strategies for establishing good habits early, for writing more in less time, for addressing procrastination and writer’s block, as well as for restoring creativity and finding joy in your work. Participants should bring their calendars. Taught by Jessica Kem (associate director, Writing Center). Please register in advance.

  • Wednesday, June 14, 3 PM – 4:15 PM

 

Ethics Discussion Luncheon

Powerhouse

Many student researchers are required to take ethics training, formally known as Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). At Amherst College this requirement is fulfilled through online training and through faculty-student discussions. This open discussion will be led by several faculty members who will share their own insights into ethical dilemmas they have encountered, and describe scenarios that student researchers might face. Students will be encouraged to explore ethical questions related to their own research process and consider what to do when presented with an ethical dilemma. This workshop is mandatory for SURF students and strongly encouraged for SRP students. Other summer research students are also encouraged to attend, as well as take the online training.

  • Thursday, June 15, 12 Noon – 1:30 PM

Please register in advance.

 

Get the Picture: Finding and Using Images

Frost Library, Lane Room

Found the perfect image online, but the quality is too poor to use in your paper or presentation? Are images at the heart of your research? This workshop will focus on finding, evaluating, and using high-quality images in a variety of subject areas, including art, historical photography, and popular media. We'll look at museum collections, Amherst College Digital Collections (ACDC), image databases such as ARTstor, and more obscure media resources, and learn the secrets to better Google Image searching. We'll also discuss how to properly credit images in your papers, presentations, and creative projects. Please register, or contact Sara Smith with questions.

  • Wednesday, June 28, 1 PM – 2:30 PM

 

Analyzing

 

Mapping Geographic Data with ArcGIS

Webster 102

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are a set of powerful tools to discover spatial relationships and illuminate your research with intuitive maps:

  • Illustrate historic sites and extract features from old maps
  • Spatially correlate census, economic, and other data
  • Display geologic formations and delineate watersheds
  • Track human, animal, and plant populations
  • Map locations from a GPS receiver

You will learn about:

  • Constructing and Sharing Maps (including with Google Earth)
  • Mapping Named Data (including census data and street addresses)
  • Mapping Coordinate Data (including using a GPS receiver)
  • Mapping Image Data (including scanned maps and satellite data)
  • Extracting Map Features

This workshop is in three parts:

  • Monday through Wednesday, June 5 – 7, 6 PM – 9 PM; light dinner provided at 5:30 PM

(additional meetings may be arranged if there is interest).

Please register in advance.

 

Exploring Data with Excel

Webster 102

Excel is an essential tool for organizing and exploring data from all fields of research. Its flexible tabular format provides a convenient display of data, and it provides many functions for basic statistics, selection, summary, and plotting. In addition, if you understand Excel, you will also be familiar with Google Docs online spreadsheets. If you’ve been a casual user of Excel, there are many capabilities and tricks that you may not be aware of. Come and find out what you’ve been missing. Excel is part of Microsoft Office, which students, faculty, and staff can download for free.

  • Monday, June 12, 6 PM – 8 PM; light dinner provided at 5:30 PM

Please register in advance.

 

Analyzing Data with Mathematica

Webster 102

Mathematica is a multifacted tool for doing mathematics on computer, from algebra and trigonometry through calculus and beyond. It can perform both symbolic and numeric calculations, and it provides numerous mathematical and statistical functions, letting you work with many different data formats, solve equations, and fit data to arbitrary functions. It can also graphically display functions and numerical data in two and three dimensions, allowing visualizations that you can easily manipulate. It is used by mathematicians and statisticians, scientists, engineers, economists, and even game developers. Mathematica can be installed on student-owned computers from the software drive; faculty- and staff-owned computers must obtain a home-use license.

This workshop is in two parts:

  • Tuesday and Wednesday, June 13 – 14, 6 PM – 9 PM; light dinner provided at 5:30 PM

Please register in advance.

 

Scientific Programming with Python

Webster 102

Python is a freely distributable high-level programming language that has become very popular for everything from scripting applications and web-page generation to solving scientific problems. It shares many basic characteristics with languages like Mathematica, Matlab, and Labview, and has an extensive set of numerical and scientific modules. In this class we will use Python to build instructions describing a scientific problem, and solve it using the college computing cluster.

This workshop is in three parts:

  • Monday through Wednesday, June 19 – 21, 6 PM – 9 PM; light dinner provided at 5:30 PM

(additional meetings may be arranged if there is interest).

Please register in advance.

 

Investigating Networks with Gephi

Webster 102

Gephi is a freely distributable tool for exploring and analyzing networks, with or without a geographic component. Related items can be associated with each other with different colors based on their properties, and clusters of connections and other patterns can be easily visualized as you rotate and arrange the network. Terrific for social network analysis, e.g. who’s writing to who, as well as economic analysis, e.g. what one country is selling to others, and even for studying biological networks!

  • Wednesday, July 19, 6 PM – 8 PM; light dinner provided at 5:30 PM

Please register in advance.


 

Communicating

Manipulating Images with Adobe Photoshop

Webster 102

Adobe Photoshop is the industry-standard program for image creation and editing. Images created in Photoshop can be incorporated into other documents such as Word, InDesign, PowerPoint, and Web pages. Using Photoshop you can easily crop and merge photos (e.g., “Photoshop me in!”) and retouch them to create sharper, more vibrant, and blemish-free images. Students can use Photoshop on their own computers with an Adobe Creative Cloud license.

  • Monday, June 26, 6 PM – 8 PM; light dinner provided at 5:30 PM

Please register in advance.

Creating Drawings with Adobe Illustrator

Webster 102

Adobe Illustrator is a superior tool to create diagrams, trace images, and transform the graphical output of other programs such as Excel. Its illustrations can be included in other documents such as Word, InDesign, and PowerPoint. Students can use Illustrator on their own computers with an Adobe Creative Cloud license.

  • Wednesday, June 28, 6 PM – 8 PM; light dinner provided at 5:30 PM

Please register in advance.

 

Interactive Data Visualization on the Web

Webster 102

The World-Wide Web is a set of computer technologies that publish and display information over the Internet in a highly interactive manner. Snazzy, interactive visualizations of information produced by science or the digital humanities are all over the Web and easier to create than ever before. In this example-based course you’ll learn about:

  • Enough Web plumbing (HTML, CSS, SVG) to write your own web pages;
  • A programming language to manipulate your web pages (JavaScript);
  • A visualization library (D3) that will make your data sparkle.

This workshop is in three parts:

  • Monday through Wednesday, July 10 – 12, 6 PM – 9 PM; light dinner provided at 5:30 PM

(additional meetings may be arranged if there is interest).

Please register in advance.

 

More than Word: Scrivener and Other Alternative Writing Apps

Barker Room, A Level, Frost Library

Expand your writing toolkit! This workshop will introduce tools meant to help you write more productively, creatively, and flexibly. We'll begin with an overview of a range of apps, then go more in-depth with Scrivener. Scrivener is writing software that facilitates writing in small pieces, rearranging blocks of text, and integrating the research and writing processes; it may help you write more often, revise and reorganize more easily, and manage your project with more agility and efficiency. Open to students, staff, and faculty. Taught by Jessica Kem, associate director of the Writing Center. Please register in advance.

  • Wednesday, July 12, 3:00 PM – 4:15 PM

 

Scholarly Communication in Science Luncheon

Merrill Lecture Hall 4

A panel of SURF faculty will discuss their own experiences with scientific communication: presenting posters and talks at conferences, submitting papers, and other avenues for sharing research. This discussion will precede the Effective Poster Design workshop, held at 1pm in Merrill 300A. 

  • Friday, July 14, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Please register in advance.

 

Effective Poster Design

Part 1 of the poster design series
Merrill 300A (Keefe Science Library)

Through examples, analysis, and discussion, we will determine what makes a research poster successful. We will discuss visual design and rhetoric, effective use of graphics, and how to engage your audience.

All summer research students are invited to describe their efforts and results at the annual Summer Research Poster Presentation on September 9. This class will help you design and produce a large-format poster that will get your message across here and at many other conferences. This workshop is required for all SURF students, but other Amherst College students are welcome to attend as well.  

 

Constructing Posters for High-Impact Communication

Part 2 of the poster design series
Webster 102

All summer research students are invited to describe their efforts and results at the annual Summer Research Poster Presentation on September 9. This class will help you produce a large-format poster that will get your message across here and at many other conferences.

This workshop will build on the design principles shared in Part 1 to show you how to lay out your poster, including adding text, photos, illustrations, and graphics, and applying special effects. You have two options:

  • Microsoft PowerPoint is a popular program to build computer presentations, and it can also be used to lay out print posters. It is not the best tool for the job but it is more readily available and perhaps more familiar to you. PowerPoint is part of Microsoft Office, which students, faculty, and staff can download for free.
  • Adobe InDesign is the industry standard tool for creating posters as well as newsletters, brochures, and other print media. It is very similar to Photoshop and Illustrator but has other features that make it the best tool for combining text and graphics. Students can use InDesign on their own computers with an Adobe Creative Cloud license.

This workshop is repeated thrice, with different tools:

  • PowerPoint: Monday, July 17, 6 PM – 8 PM or
  • PowerPoint: Tuesday, July 25, 6 PM – 8 PM or
  • InDesign: Wednesday, August 2, 6 PM – 8 PM

Light dinner provided at 5:30 PM before each meeting.

Please register in advance.

 

Writing Scientific Papers with LaTeX

Webster 102

LaTeX is a computer language for the creation of high-quality scientific and technical documents. In addition to structuring your writing in the usual paragraphs and sections, its features include mathematical equation typesetting, bibliographies, and automatic numbering of sections, equations, references, tables, and figures. LaTeX is built upon a lower-level typesetting language called TeX, and is open-source and free to use. It’s available in a number of packages that you can install on your own computer, and is most easily composed using a dedicated editor and interpreter. We recommend the following:

Macintosh: MacTeX + TeXShop
Windows: MikTeX + TexStudio

  • Tuesday, August 1, 6 PM – 8 PM; light dinner provided at 5:30 PM 

Please register in advance.