Research and Discovery in the Sciences and the Arts

Saint Mary’s women are inquisitive. They ask why. They dig deep. Here, you will have the opportunity to pursue original inquiry and develop a complete new body of knowledge, be it in math, biology or dance. You will be mentored and supported by faculty who respect your ideas and encourage participation, who are energetic and involved in groundbreaking research, and who value your contributions — in the lab, the classroom, the studio, or the theatre.

Small campus, big opportunities

Working on research in the libraryYou will also find that a small campus affords stellar research and internship opportunities. In fact, Saint Mary’s is in the top 25 percent of institutions for the rate of graduates who go on to earn research doctorates. Students here are more engaged in the classroom than in traditional baccalaureate institutions, and they can network with Saint Mary’s alumnae, women who are accomplished researchers, scholars, inventors, creators, artists and entrepreneurs — across the country and the globe. 

With a Saint Mary’s education, you will enter the world with the ability and confidence to investigate problems deeply, to design innovative ways of finding solutions, and to understand the human impact of your discoveries.

Saint Mary’s…Create. Research. Put your mark on your own original body of knowledge.

See Research Videos

  • 97%of seniors say they are prepared to conduct research
  • 98%are satisfied with the amount of contact with faculty
  • 83%felt faculty encouraged them to ask questions and participate in discussions

Summer Research in New Mexico

Share your research

Whether at a conference or right here on campus, students have the opportunity to present their research projects. The Saint Mary's Symposium on campus in the spring allows students the experience of sharing their findings or project with the broader community. Check out some projects here.

Receive funding for your project

Opportunities like the Student Independent Study and Research (SISTAR) program funds research experiences for student-faculty pairs each year for eight weeks during the summer. The student and faculty member may share the same project, or they may do separate projects that complement or support each others’ work. Grants, Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), and other funding like the Marjorie A. Neuhoff science research communities are also available for students. Check out some of the SISTAR projects here.

SISTAR Summer Research

Monica McGrath, class of 2019

Mathematic Modeling

Monica McGrath '19 and assistant professor Jacob Duncan in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science received a SISTAR in the summer of 2017 to work on a project titled, “Modeling Addiction Relapse-Recovery Cycling, Case Study: Alcoholism.”

"The most rewarding part of this project was being able to apply what I have learned through my courses at Saint Mary's to a real-world problem," Monica said. "I had the opportunity to do research in mathematics working with Professor Duncan, who has in-depth knowledge of fast-slow systems. This experience gave me new perspective about the impact that research in mathematics can have."


Photography by Elise deSomer, a bed making itself

English Literature and art double major Elise deSomer '17 and associate professor of art Krista Hoefle conducted a research project titled, "What is it like to be a Thing? Creative Research into OOO (Object-Oriented Ontology)." For Elise's part of the project, she took photographs of objects doing things on their own as a way of capturing their own importance and validity. See more of her work in a gallery here

"A Saint Mary’s education means realizing that my intellect and my ideas are worth something. I think there’s nothing more powerful than realizing that."

– Elise deSomer '17

Read more of Elise's story

Research that propels you forward

Faculty connection


As a student at Saint Mary's, Brianna Kozemzak '17 received one-one-one mentorship from her professors. As a result, she was involved with three research projects and received a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation. Brianna is a first-year PhD student at Stanford University studying biomedical informatics.

Read more of Brianna's story >>


Caitlin Mahoney ’18, gender and women's studies, Alison Tipton ’18, history and philosophy, and Lillian Cronin ’18, history and political science, were accepted to present work at the April 2018 Hoosier Women at Work History Conference in Indianapolis. Their panel is titled, "A Woman's Work is Never Done: How Matriarchs, Midwives, and Mothers Maintain Households and Economies in Rural Indiana."

Summer 2017 Research

"Proteolytic Processing of Mitochondrial Protein OPA1" Catherine McMahon ’18, Chloe Griggs '20, and Jennifer Fishovitz, assistant professor, chemistry

“Development of a Yeast Biosensor for Prednisone Detection”, Kelsey Conkright ’18, Heather Miller ’19, and Don Paetkau associate professor, biology

"Sensing in swarms: flight and echolocation of bats in large swarms in New Mexico”, Morgan Kinniry ’18 and Laura Kloepper, assistant professor, biology

"Just Water? Exploring biological and social determinants of public health in Kathmandu, Nepal”, Emily Castro ’18, Victoria Chandler ’19, Adrian Milos ’19, Julie Weilbaker ’18, Laura Elder, assistant professor, global studies, and Reena Lamichhnae-Khadka, assistant professor, biology

“Development of Novel Paper-Based Devices to Assess the Quality of Water”, Natalie Spica ’18, Reena Lamichhane-Khadka, assistant professor, biology

"Sex-stage-specific floral scent of the endangered plant Canella winterana”, Hanna Makowski ’18, Cassie Majetic, associate professor, biology

“Development of Novel Paper-Based Devices to Assess the Quality of Pharmaceuticals”, Eli Barstis, Catherine Breakfield ’18, Heather DiLallo ’19, Toni Barstis, professor, chemistry, Ian

Bentley, assistant professor, physics

“Validating Paper Analytical Device Analyses of Substandard Pharmaceuticals using Liquid Chromatography with Photodiode Array and Mass Spectroscopy Detection: Omeprazole, Azithromycin and Amoxicilin/Clavulanate”, Kyra Dvorak ’19, Kirstin Favazzo’19, Elizabeth Innis ’19, Sheila Lawler ’19, Christopher J. Dunlap, associate professor, chemistry

"Collaborative Research: Comparison of Communications Across Campus Cultures (The 4C Project): Toward Evidence-Based Customization of Learning Experiences”, Ellen Rabaut ’18, Kathryn Haas, assistant professor, chemistry

"Transporting Cu(1) as Cargo and Using Ci (111) as a Killer Cofactor: Histidine=rich Motifs in Ctr1 and Histatom 5 Cpmtrp; Cu Oxidation State and Reactivity”, Erica Slogar ’19, Alicia Twisselman ’19, Madison Sendzik ’17, Dominic Babbini, visiting assistant professor, chemistry, Kathryn Haas, assistant professor, chemistry

"Digital Archive of E.E. Cummings' Drafts of Poems: A Prototype”, David Carroll, assistant professor, mathematics and computer science, and Aaron Moe, assistant professor, English literature

"Recidivism of Juvenile Delinquents in Iowa’s First District” Emma Foley ’18, Ranjan Rohtagi, assistant professor, mathematics