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Mathematics and computational biology major Megan Wheeler ’13 spent five weeks this summer observing hummingbird popula- tions in Claremont, Calif. Te project is the first in a series of studies that may offer

insight into potential human impacts upon the birds, starting with how the use of feeders and plants to attract humming- birds may be affecting the birds’ population and behavior. Wheeler spent several weeks reviewing past research con- ducted on the subject and consulting key faculty members across Te Claremont Colleges, including professors Stephen Adolph and Richard Haskell (biology). She then selected eight natural sites and 16 urban sites to study, keeping half of each type as control sites. She posted and maintained feeders at the other half and conducted timed point counts at each site over the course of five weeks.

Megan Wheeler ’13

Big App-etite It seemed obvious to Chet Corcos ’13: the dining hall menus were online, why not put them in a convenient app? Te summer after his first year, he set out to create such an app—and failed miserably. “Although Apple’s developer tools are

fantastic, they were completely foreign to me, and I did not have much programming experience.” Corcos learned some objective-c (the programming language for Apple prod- ucts) during his sophomore year then with the help of computer science Professor Zach Dodds and Jacob Bandes-Storch ’14, a recent Apple intern, he was able to gain a bet- ter understanding of Apple’s developer tools. Te 5C Menu app, available for Android

and iPhone devices, displays dining hall menus from each undergraduate campus, and app reviewers seem pleased. “A quick and easy way to check out the menus across the campuses...and speedy access to our dining halls!” said John ’79. “It’s about time someone did this! Tank you!” said

Patrick354556. 12 Har vey Mudd College FALL/WINTER 2012 A new app by Chet Corcos ’13 lets students preview the menus of Hoch-Shanahan and other 5-C dining halls. Tis summer, Corcos worked at startup Aura Labs develop-

ing an iPhone app for them. He is working on another app in his free time as well as starting a software contracting business with friends.

“I found it interesting to think about what exactly we’re doing to this species,”

said Wheeler. “By inviting them into our suburbs, how much are we changing their populations and what effect are we having overall?” “[Tis hummingbird study] is

a very important project studying ecologies of the little micro-

environments that we live in but that taken together as a whole form a global picture of how fragile the environment really is,” said Haskell, who is director of HMC’s Center for Environmen- tal Studies, which funded the project. Wheeler did her research during HMC’s Summer Research Program, which engages students in 10 weeks of full-time research.

Student Research


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