Last week Falvey Memorial Library hosted a conference featuring this year’s Falvey Scholars. Representatives from our Library and each of the University’s colleges consider senior class Villanova applicants on the basis of outstanding undergraduate research. This selection committee then chooses five students to be distinguished as Falvey Scholars. The competition confers awards for each of the following five disciplines: the liberal arts, science, engineering, nursing and business.
We caught up with Victoria Horn, this year’s winner from the Villanova School of Business, and asked her about her project, entitled “Examining the Experiential Pedestal: The Negative Side of Experiential Consumption.”
CA: First, congratulations on being named a Falvey Scholar—I’m sure it feels great to see all that hard work paying off.
VH: Thank you! But I can’t celebrate just yet — there’s still a lot of hard work to be done since our study is not complete. I can assure you I will still be spending many of my nights in Falvey Library.
CA: What was the first germ of thought that directed you towards your larger research project?
VH: I’ve always had an interest in Consumer Research. Actually, one of my application essays to Villanova was about branding, materialism and the psyche behind needing a product. I’d say I’ve always had a Consumer Research seed planted in me, but Dr. Chaplin’s Buyer Behavior course was the one that really made it blossom. After her class I realized I wanted to pursue a larger, more intense, research project with her outside of a classroom setting.
CA: What’s the most exciting thing you discovered during your research process? Anything that made you feel like you were really onto something unique?
VH: One of my favorite finds was an explanation of how experiences are difficult to compare, and thus tend to be safe from disadvantageous comparisons. The author wrote that it was “literally like comparing apples to oranges.” That description really helped put into perspective how unique my research was going to be since we’re trying to apply a set of standards to something that is inherently unique to each person. I also really loved reading one author’s notion of how materialism was evolving to include more than just traits or values, but extrinsic motivation. Basically, materialism wasn’t just about collecting objects anymore but included people having extrinsic (i.e. need validation from other people) goals and motives. This piece I thought would be vital to our study and it made me feel like my notions weren’t far-fetched.
CA: Where is your favorite spot in our Library, or just on campus generally, to hunker down when you have some serious reading, writing or researching to get done?
VH: The President’s Lounge in Connelly used to be my big go-to for work, but there were many times when it was closed for unknown reasons or there was a function going on inside so I had to go to Falvey instead. I typically do work on the first floor either at one of the tables near the printers or in the 24-hour lounge.
CA: Do you have a research tool you use that you think a lot of people on campus may not know about? A database or a resource you find useful.
VH: I think one of the best things someone can utilize is the [Course] Guide page on Falvey’s website. If you don’t know exactly what database or journal to use, you can just pull that up, click the appropriate subject, find the course/professor you’re taking and you’ll see recommended databases/journals. That page saved me so much time and energy when I first started my research because I really wasn’t sure where to begin my searches.
CA: What’s the best thing you bought this year so far?
VH: I’m a bit of a fitness nut, and I found a Groupon with some friends for 10 kickboxing classes in Ardmore. The classes were amazing and I loved going with some fellow Villanovans. I actually ended up buying more classes from a friend who wasn’t too into them so I can keep going once my work subsides.
CA: Do you have a favorite app? If you don’t use a smart phone you can pretend I meant “appetizer.”
VH: I’m probably one of the only Falvey Scholars that doesn’t have a smart phone. But hopefully I can get my hands on one soon. My favorite appetizer would have to be a spinach and artichoke dip; it’s too good.
Corey Waite Arnold is a writer and intern on the Communication and Publications Team. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University.