2016 Falvey Scholar Meghan Barker is a student of the Institute for Global Interdisciplinary Studies. Her senior project, titled “Bumptious Bodies: Analyzing Pregnant Space in Contemporary Artwork,” was conducted under the mentorship of Sheryl Bowen, PhD, associate professor, area coordinator of organizational communication; Maghan Keita, PhD, professor of history and director of the Institute for Global Interdisciplinary Studies; and Timothy McCall, PhD, assistant professor of art history–and, befitting of any thesis written by an interdisciplinary student, Barker’s project incorporates many fields of study. “Honestly, that’s how I’m wired now,” Barker says of her interdisciplinary training. “After having gone through that major, along with my cohort, that’s just how we think. It’s very challenging for me now to write an English paper and not bring in history and sociology and philosophy.”
Barker’s advisor, Dr. Keita, encouraged Barker to combine her passions of public health issues and artwork. After a gap year, Barker is considering either applying to medical school or nursing schools with DNP programs focused on midwifery–if she were to go onto a PhD program, perhaps medical anthropology or medical humanities–but in her free time, Barker is a painter. She enjoys collage, watercolor, oil, and acrylic painting. Her project is a productive blend of these passions, as she looks at the space of pregnancy through an analysis of contemporary artwork: “I’m looking at how pregnancy is shown in artwork and what that says about how society treats women and how women view themselves.”
Such an undertaking of course entailed a lot of research. Barker is from St. Louis, Missouri–home to caring, genuine people and toasted ravioli–but her second home is probably the Holy Grounds 24-hour lounge in Falvey. She says she just might miss the lounge most of all: “I think a real intellectual community has developed there … it’s all the people who procrastinate and we’re all there at 2 a.m. and there’s this sense of solidarity there. And you get to know so many new people. And I think that I will in some sense miss that even though it was also a very painful experience sometimes when I’m staying up late, chugging down coffee.”
But the 24-hour lounge isn’t the only place in the Library Barker has frequented. “I met with Jutta Seibert [team leader for Academic Integration and subject librarian for history] multiple times to look through artwork and databases. In addition, I utilized multiple books from the Falvey Memorial Library and other institutions via the Interlibrary Loan system.” Barker enjoyed the research and the prospect of more investigation: “Perhaps the most exciting part of this process was discovering discrepancies in the literature and coming to the realization that, even if I cannot fill in the gaps during this project, I have a lifetime to conduct further research if I so choose.”
The Digital Library and Falvey are pleased to announce that all Falvey Scholar Award recipients’ theses will be digitized and made available to the Villanova Community at http://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:180038.
Article by Michelle Callaghan, graduate assistant on the Communication and Service Promotion team. She is currently pursuing her MA in English at Villanova University.
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