Top 10 Scholarship Stories of 2020
Highlighting the wide-ranging impact of our faculty's work
It was a year like no other, and Colby’s faculty continued to produce a remarkable range of work spanning the effects of the pandemic to the intersection of art and artificial intelligence. We’ve put together a selection of stories from the year that showcases their groundbreaking scholarship.
An Invisible Mental Trap
Using a simple but rarely employed method of data collection, Assistant Professor of Psychology Jin Goh is unearthing people’s perceptions of sexual harassment victims and the consequences of those mental images.
For students in Oak Professor of Biological Sciences Judy Stone’s advanced biology course, the evolution of COVID-19 prompted a scientific inquiry into the virus.
Dickinson in Pandemic Days
As we’ve stayed close to home during the pandemic, Associate Professor of English Elizabeth Sagaser reminds us of the lessons offered by the work of Emily Dickinson, whose poetry draws on close examination of the familiar that reveals simple and complex truths that are all around us, if we watch, read, and listen.
Minus the War
History repeating itself? From anti-mask sentiments to an infected U.S. president, GIbson Professor of History Raffael Scheck draws upon his research in European history and politics to discern striking similarities and telling differences between the 1918 Spanish flu and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Road to Recovery
Herbert E. Wadsworth Professor of Economics Michael Donihue’s class employed models rarely used at the undergraduate level to forecast Maine’s economic outlook. Read more about their report and how they think Maine will fare coming out of the pandemic.
Something Doesn’t Compute
Cacophonic Choir, which won Best in Show—Art Gallery at SIGGRAPH 2020, combines AI, marginalized voices, art, and undergraduate programming skills in an interactive art piece, imagined by Assistant Professor of Computer Science Hannen (Hannah) Wolfe.
Spinning the Passion Story
Professor of Art Véronique Plesch, Pulver Family Associate Professor of Jewish Studies David Freidenreich, and Anna Spencer ’16 merged their skills to discover that 13th-century Christians altered the Biblical Passion Story to their own ends in the Beam of the Passion, an 800-year-old painting that retells the story of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion—with a twist.
The Past All Around Us
To be unaware of a landscape’s past “is like studying politics without any history.” Colby Environmental Studies Instructor Abby Pearson is uncovering clues on Mayflower Hill to solve centuries-old mysteries while teaching students to decipher the important themes they reveal.
These Pictures Tell a Story
Tanya Sheehan, the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Art, has taught courses on race and representation throughout her career. Her latest work explores how Americans communicated ideas about race through photography and humor in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Where the Rights Lead
With small-town communities in Alaska facing a number of immense economic threats and changes, Assistant Professor of Economics Jennifer Meredith is working to shed light on one of them: the salmon fishing permit system. Now, she’s working with Colby students to get her critical study to the communities that need it. “This is my research, but these are their lives.”