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Bethlehem, Pa., August 25, 2010 - Moravian's Michael '11 and Andrew Watson '12 (Whitehall, Pa.) have made a mark this summer as the first siblings to participate in Moravian's SOAR (Student Opportunities for Academic Research) program. And though their research projects seem miles apart (one features writing, the other physics), the Watson brothers share an inquisitive nature and creative flair that suggest many interesting explorations in the years to come. SOAR is a Moravian College program which provides stipends, travel allowances, and research expenses to support students, in any discipline, who are engaged in scholarly or creative activity with faculty members.
Mike, an English major, spent much of his summer wandering the brown fields of the former Bethlehem Steel, finding inspiration for a lyric essay he's writing about community and landscape, under the mentorship of Joyce Hinnefeld, associate professor of English. "It was tons of fun," he said. "I did a lot of reading, which included John Strohmeyer's '45 book Crisis in Bethlehem. Dr. Hinnefeld and I are both working on lyrical essays?which are a kind of middle ground between an essay and a poem. We traded drafts and exchanged critiques," working toward the final pieces. Mike plans to use his summer research as the basis for his senior Honors Project, which Hinnefeld will advise.
Meanwhile, inside a Collier Hall physics lab, Andrew explored cobalt ferrites using M?ssbauer spectroscopy, under the guidance of Kelly Krieble '86, associate professor of physics. The team collaborated with John Snyder '80, physics professor at Cardiff University in Wales. "Dr. Snyder's students are doing complementary research," explained Andrew. "He provided us with samples and we shared our results." Professors Krieble and Snyder will co-author a paper on the findings of the new research, which ultimately could be used to improve power steering technology?with the potential to "increase fuel efficiency by 5%," said Andrew. "Having this kind of experience, especially working with Drs. Krieble and Snyder, will be very helpful when I apply to grad school."
Both Watsons plan post-graduate studies. Mike will pursue an M.F.A. in creative writing with a focus on creative nonfiction. Andrew (who dreams of "visiting someplace beyond Earth") would like to study the structure of the universe, perhaps in London, while working on his Ph.D. in astrophysics.
"Both of us have always been interested in science and quantum theory," added Mike. "In fact, we're both interested in everything."
Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.