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At LEAP, nearly 300 Mount Holyoke students present about their internships and research experiences. You will hear from future policy makers, activists, entrepeneurs, data scientists, teachers, researchers, and market analysts. Most will tell stories of unmitigated success and transformative learning. Others will share details of unexpected challenges they faced, and how they were required to shift and adapt in response. Students worked in 42 countries in every imaginable field. They will discuss important issues of social justice, relate how they met challenges of communication and expression in new contexts, and talk about how to find and succeed in summer internships.

LEAP is designed to give students who aspire to undertake internships and summer research the opportunity to learn from their peers. It is also for the whole Mount Holyoke community where family, friends, faculty, staff and our alumnae come together to celebrate the work and contributions of the presenters.

We are hugely impressed by students in College 211 and inspired by their individual success and collective learning. Their work in bringing the LEAP Symposium to fruition was exceptional. We thank the faculty, staff, alumnae, donors, and internship and research providers whose contributions have make this event possible.

LEAP presenters: Congratulations.
avatar for Emily Graham

Emily Graham

Chemistry Major
Hydrogen-Bonded Polyaramid Brush Growth on Silica Surfaces
The industry of surface coatings traditionally focuses on attaching polymers to a surface through secondary bonds, but the use of upright covalently-attached polymer brushes opens new doors for the industry. This summer I conducted research in the Boyes Lab at The Colorado School of Mines through their Polymer REU program. I created surface coatings using aramid brushes which imitate Kevlar© to create thermally-durable and self-healing coatings. My research focused on the characterization of the polymer brushes to determine the effect of different functional side chains on growth rate, molecular weight and molecular weight distribution. This internship tested my organic chemistry lab skills while expanding my knowledge of chemical instrumentation and polymer chemistry. In addition to having a successful summer growing polymer brushes, I gained insight on the graduate school experience in Colorado and had an opportunity to further determine the direction of research I hope to pursue.