Whitman College faculty understand the value of research experiences for undergraduate students. They pride themselves on making these opportunities available for our students, whether that's in the classroom, the laboratory and even beyond campus.

Regardless of major or area of interest, students at Whitman College have many opportunities to partner with faculty members on research that will have an impact on their field. Students often co-author papers with their professors, publishing in leading peer-reviewed journals.

The college showcases student research each spring in the annual Whitman Undergraduate Conference. This daylong celebration of scholarship and creativity is filled with presentations and poster sessions where students can display the knowledge and discoveries made during senior thesis and extracurricular research endeavors. 

The Office of Fellowships & Grants is also available to help students identify and apply for external prestigious awards that offer opportunities to pursue scholarship in the U.S. and abroad. Assistance with apply for external grant funding is provided by the Office of Grants and Foundation Relations.

Explore Research Opportunities

Whitman College offers multiple ways for students to participate in research. Beyond these formal programs, students are also encouraged to reach out to faculty members and ask if they have active projects that could benefit from a student research assistant.

Abshire Student Research Scholar Award

Abshire Scholar Awards are given each semester to student/faculty teams. Students are nominated by Whitman professors having a need for assistance in their scholarly pursuits. Learn more about the Abshire Scholar Award.

Adam Dublin Award

The Adam Dublin Award was established to support scholarly or creative work relating to multiculturalism in the United States or abroad. The award is named for the late Adam Dublin '96 in memory of his positive spirit and his commitment to diversity while a student at Whitman. Learn more about the Adam Dublin Award.

Faculty-Student Summer Research Awards

The purpose of the Faculty-Student Summer Research Scholarship is to make it possible for faculty to collaborate with continuing Whitman students in their professional work, allowing for a rich learning opportunity for students to gain first-hand knowledge of the methods and challenges of sustained scholarly work. These collaborative projects are expected to be of such quality that they might lead to publication, exhibition or performance. Learn more about Faculty-Student Summer Research.

Beckman Scholars

The Beckman Scholars Program is sponsored by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation to provide an in-depth, sustained undergraduate research experience for exceptionally talented, full-time undergraduate students at accredited U.S. four-year colleges and universities. The program supports research for four students (1 or 2 each year) and their pre-approved faculty mentor over two consecutive summers and one academic year. Students may also be invited to attend the Annual Beckman Symposium. Beckman research focuses on students studying in chemistry, BBMB, biology or pre-health. Learn more about Beckman Scholars.

Summer Undergraduate Research Program at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Each year, Whitman students are selected to participate in summer research projects at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington. Students have been supported to work on projects ranging from the molecular evolution of HIV pathogenesis, to cellular markers of Graft vs Host Disease in bone marrow and stem cell recipients, to cell cycle regulation in tumor cells, to efficacy of HPV vaccines. Learn more about the SURP program.

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship at Mayo Clinic

Beginning in summer 2020, two Whitman students will be selected for a summer research opportunity through the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Students will have the opportunity to work on a range of research projects at any of the Mayo Clinic research sites in Rochester Minnesota, Jacksonville, Florida, or Scottsdale, Arizona. Potential research areas include biochemistry and molecular biology, metabolic disease, biomedical engineering and physiology, clinical and translational science, immunology, molecular pharmacology, neuroscience and virology. Learn more about the Mayo SURF program.

Research Stories

  • Learning Together: Grant Funds Summer Research Projects in Walla Walla

    August 27, 2020 • Whitman College students are known for their passion for serving the Walla Walla community. But this summer, more than a dozen students were able to explore community engagement in a new, more holistic model thanks to a community-engaged learning grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

  • Sociologist Caity Collins ’08 Has a Message for Moms: It’s Not Your Fault

    August 14, 2020 • Caity Collins ’08 has spent her career studying families, starting during her time at Whitman College. The sociology major began with a research project with Professor Michelle Janning, looking at the way that divorce was represented in children’s rooms.

  • Whitman-Mayo Partnership Challenges and Fosters Budding Scientists

    August 13, 2020 • As research experiences and internships around the nation were canceled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Assistant Professor Michael Coronado picked up the phone. He wanted to make sure that Whitman College’s first two fellows in the Whitman-Mayo Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program didn’t miss out on the chance to work with Mayo Clinic. So he reached out to DeLisa Fairweather ’87, his mentor and director of Translational Cardiovascular Research at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.

  • Psychology Senior Partners with Professor to Study Attention and Memory

    July 31, 2020 • Professor Matthew Prull has been fascinated by the mental processes associated with aging and memory for as long as he can remember. This summer, Prull teamed up with psychology senior Nikita Adhikari to test theories about the psychological phenomenon known as the attentional boost effect.