research team mentor

Principal Investigator
Suzanne Loui, PhD
(Environmental Humanities)
Lecturer in Environmental Studies, Washington University in St. Louis

Research focus for summer 2019

Using skills developed through the humanities, such as critical thinking and writing, familiarity with the connections between and different expressions of culture and nature, we will identify methods and processes for best communicating the research projects at Tyson Research Center to the Washington University and greater St. Louis communities.


Humanities Research Fellows will expand on work started in the summer of 2018, through the Humans of Tyson project.

They will observe and shadow one of the summer science research teams and consider how humans do science and how they think about the science they do, looking at everything from data collection to mentoring to the, sometimes, tedious labor of field work and the humor that evolves from that. They will interview student researchers and faculty mentors and place the field observation data into unique representative expressions of that team’s work. One such product will be interviews crafted for inclusion in the Humans of Tyson page.

Humanities Research Fellows will also explore science writing with guidance from a Washington University science writer, and produce an article for potential publication. Other projects may evolve, such as filming and documenting via a web story for the Tyson website; creating graphic art pieces or signage to educate visitors to Tyson about the science pursued at, and the history of, the site.

Fellows will be expected to have sound humanities skills, such as writing and analytic ability; a keen interest in science; the capacity to work closely with another person, constructing communication projects (with faculty mentoring). You must be willing to immerse yourself in a unique position as a humanities communicator amidst scientific researchers.

research conditions

It is anticipated that humanities fellows will spend approximately 50% of their time indoors, working on projects. They will spend 50% outdoors, in the field with science researchers. Field work will include extended periods in heat, exposure to sun, and common hazards such as ticks and poison ivy.

They will be full members of the Tyson summer research community and will participate in all cross-project training, including that for designing and presentation of a research poster for the WashU undergraduate research symposium in the fall of 2019. They will engage with all Tyson Fellows in the weekly undergraduate colloquium, weekly Tyson summer seminar series, and Thursday evening community dinners.

Team structure and opportunities for independent research

Dr. Loui will be present and available at Tyson Monday through Friday. Humanities fellows will be present Monday through Friday. Initial project planning will require small group discussion; once a plan is established, work can be independent, with additional guidance available when needed.