Sixth Formers reflect on advanced research projects

Jay Crowther ’23 at Cell Culture Workspace at CHOP via Jay Crowther ’23

From observing gene mutations in labs to tracking the history of fashion, students in summer research programs explore individual topics to expand knowledge, draw new conclusions, and grow as learners and thinkers.

Sixth Former Jay Crowther, whose Advanced Laboratory Research Cooperative in biology involved exploring the effect of overexpression of the EZH1 gene in the neurodevelopment of children, worked in previously confidential research to help “combat issues that plague children around the world.” 

He also learned about a new field of study. 

“My goal, aside from helping the research team, was to determine if [biology] is something I want to pursue down the line in my own future. By the end of my nine weeks, I was able to answer this question,” Crowther said. “My work has without a doubt elevated my passion for biology.”

Cell culture under a microscope – Jay Crowther ’23

Crowther also recommended the Advanced Laboratory Research Cooperative to anyone that enjoys a particular academic subject. 

“If you have a certain affinity or passion for one of the specific sciences at Haverford, you should absolutely begin reaching out to local universities and hospitals to see if they offer any programs or internships that may interest you,” he said.

All of the different work I did in the lab was focused toward a centralized goal: learning.

Colin Kelly ’23

Sixth Former Colin Kelly added that it is important to be persistent with your internship applications. 

“You have to get 20 no’s to get a yes,’” Kelly said, citing his experience before securing a position at Jefferson Health in Cancer Research. Kelly’s research on the effect of Sirtuin 6 on aging pathways affirmed his love for STEM. “I loved it. I had an amazing time working there.”

His work, which focused on previously unresearched discoveries, showed him the importance of learning and gathering information. 

“[All of the different work I did in the lab was] focused toward a centralized goal: learning,” Kelly said. “Other labs and biomedical engineers will use our data.”  

Aside from the research itself, Kelly thinks that the program gave him an opportunity to expand his knowledge and become fluent in the research process.

Cell culture under a microscope – Jay Crowther ’23

Sixth Former Nathan Mirin, a participant in the history department’s Advanced Research Program, also sees his work as an opportunity to grow. Mirin believes his project will improve his essay writing and research skills. He also thinks his plan to set and meet his own deadlines throughout the year will allow him to practice time management, an important skill in both research and life. 

Mirin’s project of tracking the history of fashion through the “Great Male Renunciation” in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries is also a fulfillment of his curiosity. Mirin recognizes that his project is a niche, but when he came across the topic in a book called Dress Codes, he became interested in why the change in fashion occurred and, in oversimplified terms, “fashion got boring.” When afforded the opportunity to conduct research on any topic in history, Mirin chose to fulfill his intellectual curiosity. Mirin says that he often grows interested in a topic and independently pursues research.

“The desire for greater knowledge is not one that is easily satiated. My want to explore niche historical topics is being thoroughly supported by the school through this research program.” 

Author: Ian Rosenzweig '25

Ian Rosenzweig currently serves as Academics Editor and writer. He has also served as the editing director for The Foreign Policy Youth Collaborative, a youth nonprofit organization, for whom he has written content regarding international and domestic policy. His poem "Faithful Return" won the 2022 Berniece L. Fox Classics Writing Contest.