As the second semester of my freshman year was coming to an end, I began thinking about summer employment. Beyond the desire to earn a bit of money during the summer months, I knew an unstructured summer would be far too much of a change of pace compared to the academic year.
As I was sending applications to chain stores and local restaurants, I received a call from the Holy Cross Moot Court coach offering me a paid summer research position on campus, funded by the Prelaw program. Without hesitation I kindly accepted the offer, as it presented me with the opportunity to acquire work experience as well as becoming familiar with research at the college level. Currently, I am working on two projects. First, I am preparing briefs for the upcoming Moot Court season. Second, I am working with Professor Sandstrom from the economics department on a paper analyzing President Trump’s executive order to rid the IRS tax code of a law banning churches and other tax exempt organizations from endorsing a political candidate.
As I became acquainted with my life on campus during the summer (during which I, and all of the other researchers, live in the exceedingly nice Williams Hall), I was thoroughly impressed with how many students were partaking in research spanning across the disciplines. My roommate for the summer would return to the room with stories about the mice which he and other neuroscience students were observing. A fellow member of the Moot Court team is conducting self guided English research that will undoubtedly be of graduate school level quality.
All of this is to say that the summer research program is composed of highly dedicated students who have interests that extend beyond the normal school year. These opportunities are open to all students regardless of major and with no minimum GPA for consideration. Many of these students simply inquired as to their favorite professor’s research or showed a particular proclivity towards a section of the class. Holy Cross’s ethos is centered around free inquiry and exploration of all kinds, and the summer is no exception. As a solely undergraduate institution, the professors have no choice but to select students from their small classes for research assistance. As such, my advice is to be unafraid about building a rapport with professors. Ask them what they’re working on (they love to tell you) and if they need assistance, you’ll be the first student they ask.
Spencer Caron '20