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).

Student Activities also provides summer programming, usually on Thursday evenings.

For a calendar grid with exportable events, click here.


2018 Schedule

Gatherings

The Research Process

Summer Researcher Reception Ethics Discussion Luncheon
Summer Thesis Research Table Documenting Your Research with Zotero
Summer Research Poster Session Writing While Researching
  Productive Habits for Big Writing Projects

Analyzing

Communicating

Mapping Geographic Data with ArcGIS Poster Review and Feedback
Exploring Data with Excel Manipulating Images with Adobe Photoshop
Analyzing Data with Mathematica Creating Drawings with Adobe Illustrator
Scientific Programming with Python Interactive Data Visualization on the Web
Debugging and Version Control for Programming Scholarly Communication in Science
Investigating Networks with Gephi 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. Hosted by the Library.

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

 

Summer Thesis Research Table

Frost Library, Research Tables (first floor)

The Thesis Research Table is a regular meet-up for students embarking on a thesis project 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. Coffee and donuts will be served! Drop in or attend regularly. Hosted by Jessica Kem (director, Writing Center) and Blake Doherty (research, instruction, and outreach librarian, Frost Library).

  • Wednesdays, 10:30 – 11:30 AM, June 13 - July 25 (excluding July 4)

Please RSVP if you plan to attend the first meeting.

 

Poster Review and Feedback

Webster 102

What’s a poster talk?
A) The same as a lecture
B) A chance to read out loud the words on my poster
C) A short presentation that will captivate your audience

If you chose “C,” you are correct and Susan Daniels, Associate in Public Speaking, looks forward to helping you write and practice an engaging, dynamic poster talk for a non-expert audience. Insomnia cookies provided. You are certain to benefit from this workshop and amaze your friends and other students!

  • Tuesday, September 4, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Please register in advance.

 

Annual Summer Student Research Poster Session

New Science Center, Living Room

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 7, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Please register in advance.


 

The Research Process

 

Ethics Discussion Luncheon

Keefe Campus Center, Friedmann Room

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.

  • Friday, June 8, 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM. Lunch at 11:30 AM, event begins at noon.

Please register in advance.

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.

This workshop is repeated three times:

  • Thursday, June 7, 1 PM – 2 PM
  • Tuesday, June 12, Noon – 1 PM
  • Wednesday, July 11, 3 PM – 4 PM

Register to attend a workshop, or contact Kristen Greenland for an individual appointment.

 

Writing While Researching

Frost 211 (CHI Seminar Room)

Designed for students embarking on a large scholarly project, this workshop will introduce writing techniques for taking effective and versatile notes, processing what you learn as you read, and developing your own ideas in relation to the texts you’re reading. Bring a reading from your project, as we'll practice the techniques together. Taught by Jessica Kem (director, Writing Center).

  • Wednesday, June 13, 1:30 - 3:00 pm

Please register in advance.

 

Productive Habits for Big Writing Projects

Frost 211 (CHI Seminar Room)

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 (director, Writing Center).

  • Friday, June 15, 10:00 am to 11:30 am

Please register in advance.

 

Analyzing

 

Mapping Geographic Data with ArcGIS

Merrill 215

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:

  • Tuesday through Thursday, 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

Merrill 215

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.

There two opportunities to learn Microsoft Excel:

  • Monday, June 11, 6 PM – 8 PM; light dinner provided at 5:30 PM
  • Thursday, June 14, 6 PM – 8 PM

Please register in advance.

 

Analyzing Data with Mathematica

Merrill 215

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 12 – 13, 6 PM – 9 PM; light dinner provided at 5:30 PM

Please register in advance.

 

Scientific Programming with Python

Merrill 215

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 18 – 20, 6 PM – 9 PM; light dinner provided at 5:30 PM

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

 

Debugging and Version Control for Programming

Merrill 215

Want your computer code to be perfect? Start by realizing that you will make mistakes when writing it! In this class you’ll learn how to discover and fix your errors. We will cover basic principles of debugging applicable to any programming language, though examples will use the Python language and its standard debugger pdb. Sometimes you’ll also want to try out new ideas without ruining the code that’s already working. We will therefore learn the basics of using the Git version control system, which makes it easy to fall back to an earlier version of your code if necessary. Git is also an important tool for collaborating with others, so that you can safely experiment with fixing errors in their code and taking it in new directions.

  • Thursday, June 28, 6 PM – 9 PM; light dinner provided at 5:30 PM

Please register in advance.

 

Investigating Networks with Gephi

Merrill 215

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 18, 6 PM – 8 PM; light dinner provided at 5:30 PM

Please register in advance.


 

Communicating

 

 

Manipulating Images with Adobe Photoshop

Merrill 215

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 25, 6 PM – 8 PM; light dinner provided at 5:30 PM

Please register in advance.

 

Creating Drawings with Adobe Illustrator

Merrill 215

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 27, 6 PM – 8 PM; light dinner provided at 5:30 PM

Please register in advance.

 

Interactive Data Visualization on the Web

Merrill 215

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 9 – 11, 6 PM – 9 PM; light dinner provided at 5:30 PM

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

Please register in advance.

 

Scholarly Communication in Science

KEEFE CAMPUS CENTER, FRIEDMANN ROOM

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, starting at 1 PM.

  • Friday, July 13, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Please register in advance.

 

Effective Poster Design

Part 1 of the poster design series
KEEFE CAMPUS CENTER, FRIEDMANN ROOM

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. Led by Kristen Greenland, Science Librarian, and Jessica Kem, Director of the Writing Center.

 

Constructing Posters for High-Impact Communication

Part 2 of the poster design series
Merrill 215

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 16, 6 PM – 8 PM or
  • InDesign: Tuesday, July 17, 6 PM – 8 PM or
  • PowerPoint: Wednesday, July 25, 6 PM – 8 PM

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

Please register in advance.

 

Writing Scientific Papers with LaTeX

Merrill 215

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, July 24, 6 PM – 8 PM; light dinner provided at 5:30 PM

Please register in advance.