Learning: Sciences

Fact: Mount Holyoke is known throughout the world for excellence in science. We've got a new $36-million Science Center. We've also got a tradition of proving that women and science belong together.

Grid of five videos

Top video

Associate Professor of Astronomy and Geology Darby Dyar:

"It's really neat to be doing science and have it not just affect us but to affect the international scientific community. That's pretty cool. We have another student next year doing a thesis on interpreting actual data that came from the Mars exploration Rover. It's a pretty darn exciting senior thesis to be doing, because the rest of world is standing by waiting for us to finish."

(Video: the exterior and interior of Kendade Hall, with students working with a variety of scientific instrumentation)

Second row left


"OK, my thesis is: We are taking a very big laser and we are shocking various minerals to see, basically, we're simulating the environment experienced in a very short time/space when a meteorite is ejected from its planet."

Prof. Dyar:

"NASA is very interested in this. This reseach group is funded by about five different NASA grants right now. Most of them having to do with Mars, some of them having broader applications. So Eli's project on shock is one of them. So that's one of the reasons why Eli and another student are going to Belgium this summer."


"I'm going to go wherever interest takes me."

(Video: a student sitting in front of a computer monitor discusses her research project)

Second row right

"I feel certain, at least through my experience, that I would not have gotten later internships in the sciences without having that experience here. Because there's not that many opportunities right after first year, and Mount Holyoke gives you that opportunity. Basically, if a lab hires you you're learning at their expense, because clearly you're not competent, they have to train you. And so by getting your training done here, then it gets done!"

(Video: a diverse group of science students in conversation)

Bottom row left

"I'm working on a project that involves a monopeptide. We're looking at a very small part of the protein . . . I'm looking at these monopeptides . . . that are basically, like, a spring or coil, and this particular peptide that I'm purifying in the machine is part of project that tells us how certain amino acid residues may stabilize the end of the coil.

(Video: student working with various lab tools in the Decatur Lab)

Bottom row right

Professor Darby Dyar:

"We are sort of mineral central, for at least the United States, and maybe for the world. We have probably one of the largest collections of minerals that are completely analyzed of anybody."


"So it's really been a learning experience for me, because I've been able to actually learn a lot through doing this myself, being a geology major. Some of the minerals I never even knew about, so I'm a mineralogy—guess you could say—prodigy, with Darby's large collection here. So I'm going to continue this."

(Video: student with professor talking about and examining mineral samples)

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This transcript is a companion to the Mount Holyoke College Tour, a multimedia site presenting the Mount Holyoke experience through photos, audio clips, and video clips. The corresponding page on the multimedia tour is Sciences. If you have suggestions about how to improve the accessibility of this site, please contact us.