Having just finished their first year at Centre College, rising sophomores Stephen Thornton and Tim Ablondi are spending their summer conducting research on Sierra Leone with Professor of Anthropology Endre Nyerges.
Studying a 30-by-30-square-mile area in Sierra Leone over a period of 15 years, Thornton and Ablondi are classifying landforms in satellite images with Nyerges. They aim to use these classifications to better understand changes over time in the lives of individuals on the ground.
“We treat these images as historical documents,” Ablondi said. “The overarching goal of our research is to analyze the change over time in the region.”
In Nyerges’ first-year seminar during the previous CentreTerm, the College’s intensive three-week winter term, Ablondi and Thornton learned how to use the software needed to work with satellite images. With this skill set and their personal connection to their faculty mentor, both students gained the unique opportunity to conduct research as undergraduates.
The duo took Nyerges up on his offer to carry out research this summer.
“We agreed to work with Endre because he is a great professor and fun to work with,” Ablondi said. “We are both on a first name basis with him.”
This personal relationship has carried over from the classroom to their research and represents one of the best aspects of Ablondi and Thorton’s summer research project.
“He comes into the lab almost everyday to supervise our research,” Ablondi said. “It is great to have this opportunity to get this close with a faculty member.”
by Kathleen Murphy ’18
July 24, 2017