John P. Chesick Scholars Program forFirst-Generation/Low-Income Students
Summer Reading and Learning Groups
These small group meetings (no more than 12 students) meet 3 times in July with a faculty member to discuss common readings or topics.
Books are provided at no charge and there is no work involved other than keeping up with the reading assignments or watching the recorded videos. Get to know a faculty member and other first-year Chesick Scholars and get a head-start in finding your voice in a supportive academic setting. Enrollment in these is limited and first-come-first-served.
You will receive an application via email in late June; you can also find the application on the Chesick Scholars Moodle Page; there are spaces to enter your first, second and third choices (if you wish), in case some groups fill up before you apply. Students need to commit to attending all three sessions.
Below are the descriptions for Summer 2022’s reading groups.
Mental Health: Is it all in your head?
Run by Professor Emma Lapsansky-Werner
Meeting Schedule: July 13, 20, 27, from 12-1 p.m. Eastern Time.
Diet, exercise, sleep, "self-care," playtime, "boundaries"—these are part of the balancing act that makes life FUN. In this summer reading series, we will look at some of the current theories about how to take good care of ourselves—especially since settling into college will be both fun AND somewhat stressful. Though we will give serious attention to this very serious issue, we will also find some ways to laugh. We will read and discuss a random collection of short articles and watch various TED talks in addition to reading Daniel Amen’s You, Happier: The 7 Neuroscience Secrets of Feeling Good Based on Your Brain.
Persepolis Volume 1 by Marjane Satrapi
Run by Assistant Professor Nimisha Ladva
Meeting Schedule: July 8, 14, 21 at 11:00 a.m.-12 p.m. Eastern Time.
Books allow us to meet people whose paths we may not cross in real life; here, our selected memoir (in graphic novel form) is about a girl whose life is upended by the Revolution in Iran in 1981. We'll be discussing the impact of religious fundamentalism on Marjane's life, the tension between how she sees herself and how the world sees her, and what it means for her when she realizes that the answers to the big questions in life don't come in neat packages—especially when that means she has to confront the ways her parents are right about some things, but not all things. Our discussions will introduce students to:
- Some of the issues at play in the relationship between the United States and Iran.
- Questions about religious fundamentalism, sexism, and socioeconomic class.
- Strategies to interpret visual culture.
How to do Good/Bad Science
Run by Professor Ben Le
Meeting Schedule: July 7, 14, 21, from 7-8 p.m. Eastern Time.
Following several high profile cases of research fraud and a new understanding of how decisions made by well-intentioned researchers can produce erroneous results, the field of psychology has undergone a revolution over the last 15 years. We'll read and discuss Stuart Ritchie's recent book Science Fictions: How Fraud, Bias, Negligence, and Hype Undermine the Search for Truth to learn about how the process of doing science (in the field of psychology, but applicable to all sciences) has worked, and not worked, in the past and think about ways to change the process for the better by opening science to enhance transparency, promote researcher accountability, and reimagine the relationship between academic incentives and the publishing industry.
Learn more about Stuart Ritchie and about the “Replication Crisis” in psychology.
Invitation to Physics
Run by Assistant Professor Dan Grin
Meeting Schedule: July 29, August 5,12 from 2-3 p.m. Eastern Time.
Whether tackling the world's energy problems, the structure of cells, or the fate of the cosmos, much of the physical reasoning that goes on in the STEM world happens on the back of a napkin. This order-of-magnitude estimation technique is the secret sauce of much physics, and will open gateways to other STEM fields. Participants will watch 3 videos and participate in 3 zoom sessions, during which they'll work together with Prof. Grin to learn about and solve interesting problems that employ this style of physical reasoning.
Students will learn to develop quantitative answers to questions like "How big is a star?", "What is the maximum size of an animal?", "How hard is a cell?", "What is the density of a material?" using a technique called dimensional analysis.