Kaiz Esmail ’23 is one of 220 Williams students—more than ever before—doing science research on campus this summer. Starting in mid-June, the fully-funded research fellows spend 10 weeks working closely with their professors; here Kaiz harvests bacterial cultures of Streptomyces coelicolor in chemistry professor Amy Gehring’s lab in the new Hopper Science Center. Gehring, who’s chair of the biochemistry program, researches microorganisms in the soil that produce interesting molecules now used in antibiotics, antifungals and anti-cancer drugs, among other medicines.
Activism to Action
Mohammed Memfis ’21 is among the new generation of Williams leaders actively engaged in the issue of climate justice. Their work often “doesn’t look like environmental activism in the traditional sense of conservation or sustainability,” says Nicolas Howe, director of Williams’ Center for Environmental Studies. It involves things like developing equitable climate adaptation policies in California, building regenerative farms serving Washington, D.C.-area food pantries, assisting with path-breaking research into how the state of Florida failed a community whose groundwater was poisoned, or, like Memfis, unpacking what role Atlanta’s highways may play in higher Covid-19 death rates among Black residents.