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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 Shevonne O'Connor

Shevonne O'Connor

Biology Major
Tropical Coral and Coralline Algae Conservation
With the help of Lynk funding, I had the opportunity to work as a research assistant at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute station in Bocas del Toro, Panama. While I was there, I worked with post-doc Maggie Johnson on her ocean acidification projects, doing research in the lab and the field. We worked mainly with coralline algae and coral species. In Panama, and, indeed, all over the world, tropical coral reefs are quickly disappearing from our oceans because of rising ocean acidification and bleaching, with humans directly to blame. The importance of the existence of reef ecosystems can only be likened to that of tropical rain forests. If we are going to save the planet, we need to save our reefs. In my presentation, I will take you on a journey to the Caribbean paradise I called home this summer and show you what it was like to be a research assistant in the tropical research field for the first time.