Tag Archives: royce fellowship

2 for 1 Friday: What’s In A Brick?

Christopher Kim ’15 is a Royce Fellow researching glazed bricks dating to the Assyrian Empire, uncovered in the ancient city of Idu (in the present day Iraqi Kurdistan).

Bricks are such ubiquitous objects that they are not normally paid much attention, but archaeologists can discern many useful pieces of information by examining them. For instance, their shape and composition may reveal the time period in which they were made and by extension help to date a settlement. Their quality and design may reveal what structure they were used in (a home, a palace, or perhaps a temple?). Further still, comparing material from different sites can inform the nature, if any, of trade and interaction between different locales.

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2 For 1 Friday: A Breakthrough


Subhradip Sarker ’15 is a Royce Fellow designing and fabricating a chip that wirelessly transmits motor signals from the brain to mechanical systems.

My summer started with the aim to design a wireless transceiver that will transmit motor signals from the brain to external systems. Neural signals are fascinating because they transmit all our sensory data to the brain but at the same time they are complex and hard to decode.

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The Days Between “The Days Between”

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Benjamin Kutner ’14 is a Royce Fellow composing an original opera, “The Days Between,” to be staged at Brown in February 2014.

My summer has been in the key of Db major. The opera I’m composing, called “The Days Between,” has its feet so firmly planted in Db that the note has been stuck in my head for the past three months.

Most of my classmates at Brown have never been to an opera. I’ve found that nearly all of the people my age who’ve ever been to an opera have been music students – further leading to a perception of the art form as highbrow and irrelevant. But this is bittersweet for an aspiring composer. It’s thrilling to bring a new work to Brown, where it may likely be a first encounter with opera for many audience members.

I began the summer with little idea as to how to go about writing an opera. I’d composed music before and written a decent amount of lyrics and poetry, but this summer stared me down with the task of unifying the two in a way I’d never attempted.

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2-for-1 Friday: Determining Our Own Stories

Juhee Kwon ’14 is a Royce Fellow researching Asian American reproductive justice and interview AA women activists. 

I am currently in the Bay Area (living in a Berkeley co-op), researching Asian American reproductive justice and interviewing AA women activists. I had originally formulated an interest in the topic of reproductive justice via the reading of Dorothy Robert’s brilliant historical analysis of Black women’s reproductive oppression in her book, Killing the Black Body. The book remains a personal favorite of mine, not only in the eye-opening natures of her arguments but also her clarity of voice throughout the dense material.

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2-for-1 Friday: No Easy Science

Michael Fernandopulle ’14 is a Royce Fellow working on characterizing a cellular structure known to be essential for the persistence of tuberculosis. 

I remember reading those words about a year ago as I studied the elaborate collage of word magnets on my friend’s refrigerator door.  Some phrases were funny and others nonsensical, but this one stuck out to me as uniquely pithy.  When I read it, I envisioned someone struggling over a problem set at the SciLi, trying to figure out how to attack a challenging set of questions.  I laughed to myself, thinking, “So true.”  I recalled courses such as organic chemistry, genetics, and biochemistry, agreeing that, past a certain point, there really was “no easy science”.

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2-for-1 Friday: The Power Of A Community Conference

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Maggie Smith ’14 is a Royce Fellow living in Kenya researching the power of sports-based community organizations.

My work with U-Tena this summer has been a whirlwind of dance rehearsals, mentoring sessions, and family planning clinics. I have had the opportunity to sit at a table with Kenyan senators and UN officials during a gender based violence workshop, to perform with U-Tena at an Ugandan global health conference, and to explore the oldest settlement in Kenya. But by far the most rewarding experience I had this summer was the opportunity to work with U-Tena in putting on the first community conference that the Viwandani slum has ever had.

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Protecting Wildlife Diversity

Matt Leonard ’14 is a Royce Fellow  working with both The Little Fireface Project in Garut, Indonesia and The Cikananga Wildlife Rescue Center to help the Javan Slow Loris, the world’s only venomous primate. He is focusing on habitat monitoring, behavior observations, and education of local people. Throughout his travels, he is keeping a blog at slowlorismlml.wordpress.com and writing poetry and prose about his adventures. 

Walking through the streets of Cipiganti, a small town near Garut, Indonesia, makes me realize how lucky I have it. Most people in this small town of 300 will never leave. None will go to college, and most will finish school by the age of 15 to begin farming or selling goods locally. Some will leave and make the journey to Garut, the largest city in the area, to work in manufacturing plants, but they make up the minority of the village. The vast majority will be married before 25 and stay in Cipiganti for their whole lives.

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2-for-1 Friday: Urban Gardens Are Complicated, Beautiful

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Daniel O’Donnell ’15 is a Royce Fellow working on ‘Cultivating Hope’ at the John Hope Settlement House in Providence, RI.

 The tomatoes are finally turning from pale green to soft orange and pink. We pick a few cherries every morning when they’re still half orange, because we’re impatient, and the tart sweetness is refreshing. Plump cucumbers dangle from a tipi trellis at perfect toddler height. Bean plants wind through the potatoes and sneak their way onto the chain-link fence. Salad greens have gone to seed. The melons seem to double in size every time I look for them. The popcorn is flowering; dragonflies like to hang out on their tassels. Everyone asks when the cilantro will be ready. Squash vine bores, pale squirming maggots with black heads, squander the squash harvest. It’s okay though, because the plants were too big anyway, and pulling them makes room for the watermelons to fill out the raised bed. I’ve never heard of anyone preferring squash to watermelon anyway. Rabbits are munching on low-hanging sunflower leaves, while their ten-foot-high yellow blooms sag towards the ground like a warm greeting to everyone who walks by. Children steal flowers from the flowerbed. In the classroom, an old fish tank and Dixie cups have been turned into growing spaces. Fall beets, spinach, lettuce, and brassicas have sprouted in the greenhouse.

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2-for-1 Friday: Virtual Communities, Virtual Families

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Tropical North Queensland, where the Daintree Rainforest meets the Great Barrier Reef. Using phylogenetic trees might help understand why these two areas have so much biodiversity.

Mara Freilich ’15 is a Royce Fellow conducting research on the effectiveness of current methods of incorporating phylogenetic information into ecological diversity metrics to infer community assembly processes.

Are ecological communities just random collections of species? If not, what determines which species can live where? Does the environment select which species can survive or do species compete with each other for shared resources? Even more pressing, how are ecosystems changing in response to overfishing, climate change, and introduced species? Increasingly, we are learning that these threats not only endanger species survival, but can also alter community assembly.

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2-for-1 Friday: Research For Social Change

Christine Moon ’15 is a Royce Fellow researching what constitutes a good life at the end-of-life for South Korean elders living in Toronto, Ontario Canada. 

I am interested in examining questions related to life, illness, death and dying among South Korean elders living in Toronto. My overarching question asks, “What constitutes a good life, at the end of life?” I am also interested in questions related to themes of migration, language and communication, and the medicalization of death and dying. These themes are interwoven with changing Confucian ideas of filial duty, both as South Korea becomes more ‘modern,’ and as individuals emigrate from the Korean peninsula to Western nations.

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