Undergraduate Research: Science Versus The Soul

This summer, Philip Gasbarro ’14 and Brendan O’Sullivan, associate professor of philosophy, tackled a provocative question: Can the mind fit in to the natural world? After weeks of analysis, the pair plans to submit their research for publication in academic journals and at professional conferences.


“[SURE] allows you to take what you’ve learned in the classroom, what you’ve studied for years here, and to really bring it to life.”
 Philip Gasbarro ’14 

A Summer of Research

While some college students use the summer to relax and recharge, a select group of Stonehill undergraduates were hard at work in campus labs and libraries completing original, publishable research alongside faculty collaborators.

Now in its 18th year, the Stonehill Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) offers students an early opportunity to perform graduate-level research in the social and natural sciences and the humanities. Their hands-on involvement is a significant competitive advantage in graduate and professional school applications as well as in post-college employment opportunities.

Laura Dzgoeva ’14, one of 50 SURE Scholars during the summer of 2013, helped to translate Russian poetry, “I am extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished this summer. It’s kind of helped expand my horizons and taught me things I never would have learned.”

Laura is not alone. SURE participants often characterize the program as one of their favorite and most influential Stonehill experiences.  “It’s really just that intense and that awesome,” agrees Philip Gasbarro ’14, who will submit his philosophy research to peer-reviewed journals.

The program also allows faculty to connect with students and build lasting relationships. Associate Professor of Psychology Christopher Poirier, who was among the 32 Stonehill SURE mentors, appreciates the bonds he developed this summer. “Working with SURE students, we tend to have a lot of conversations about career interests, graduate school plans—and we get to know each other really well.”