Commentaries are short articles (around 1000 words) which can address a variety of issues relating to research, mentoring or scholarship. Topics might include a research experience, the social and political implications of a line of research, the application of an academic theory to current events, observations about academic life here at the University of New Hampshire or elsewhere—or something entirely different that the editors have not envisioned. Commentaries are usually focused more on personal experience than are research articles, and may be written by students, faculty or staff at UNH. Graduates of the University are encouraged to look back on their undergraduate research experience and its place in their personal and professional lives.

Looking into the Eye with REAP

My academic and professional interests took root long before I came to the University of New Hampshire (UNH) to study bioengineering. Encouraged by my parents to explore, ask questions, and experiment with my own creative designs as a child, I developed a device named the Micro Sling Shot, built a cell phone charger, and engineered what I referred to as the Smiley Faced Pull Toy, all from household items. My intellectual curiosity included all things science, and I was fascinated with how and why things work as they do. 

How Do Families Try to Survive Yemen’s Brutal War? Following a Spiral of Research to Unexpected Conclusions

To care about an issue, we need to know it exists in the first place. One of my first memories of the University of New Hampshire (UNH) is of sitting in a lecture hall listening intently to a speaker explain why we should care about nuclear proliferation. I left the lecture with a good understanding of why we should care, and I couldn’t help but wish that more of my fellow students had been able to attend and become informed about this important issue. I concluded that one needs to know that an issue exists in order to have any interest in acquiring more information.

Bees, Birds, and Beyond: An Unexpected Journey on the Path to Conservation

I never envisioned I would find myself at the largest entomology conference in the country, six months after I graduated from the University of New Hampshire (UNH), about to meet someone so formative to my career aspirations. But when I think about it, it really was a long time coming.


Down the Rabbit Hole: Searching for Native Scholarship to Better Understand Populism

There’s gotta be more to the story.

Studying Form, Color, and Pictorial Composition in the New England Landscape

It’s early in the morning and the light is just getting good. I pull on my tick-resistant pants and don a pair of rubber boots and a wide-brim hat. As I scramble down the rocks into the ravine, my paint supplies rattle in the pack on my back. I must look ridiculous, but today there’s no one here except me and a friend who is showing me around the woods of his small town. He is leading me to an almost inaccessible spot in a remote mill town in northern New Hampshire.

Keeping an Open Mind: Challenges and Mysteries in Cancer Cell Biology Research

Cancer arises after a series of mutations or other alterations allows cells to bypass their normal growth checkpoints and divide freely in the body. The body aims to prevent tumors from forming by protecting the integrity of its cells’ DNA. One protein, p53, is so vital in this role that it is often referred to as the “guardian of the genome.” In fact, more than half of all human cancers are associated with malfunctions that disrupt p53 function (1).

Thinking Outside the Box: Using Computer Science Skills to Make Sense of the Biology of Life

After finishing my freshman year in the University of New Hampshire's (UNH) computer science program in May 2005, I felt on the fence about where to take my career. My introductory computer science classes had been challenging, rewarding, and fun. But at the same time, I couldn't quite imagine myself writing data structures for a living, or developing algorithms to speed up data transfer along thicker and stronger networking cables.

American and Canadian Protests against Poison Gas after World War I

During the summer of 2015 between my freshman and sophomore years at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), I took part in the Research Experience and Apprenticeship Program (REAP) under the direction of Professor Marion Girard Dorsey, associate professor of history. REAP is a summer award program of the Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research at UNH for highly motivated freshman after their first year. They carry out a research project under the supervision of a UNH faculty member.

Beehavior and Beyond: Realizations in Research

Most people would mistake the small carpenter bee Ceratina calcarata and its relatives for ants with wings, and I won’t pretend that I could tell the difference before I spent a summer researching this particular bee species. We are conditioned to associate bees with three things: black and yellow coloration, honey, and stinging pain. The small carpenter bee species that I studied, however, did not exhibit a single characteristic from that list, which I found shocking, given that they are native to North America and locally abundant.

International Collaboration in Physics Research: A Summer at CERN

During the summer of 2014, after my junior year as a physics major at the University of New Hampshire, I took part in a nine-week Research Experience for Undergraduates sponsored by the University of Michigan and the National Science Foundation. During the program, I lived and worked at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) just outside of Geneva, Switzerland. CERN is home to the largest particle collider in the world, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), and is the world’s leading particle physics laboratory.


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