Skip Navigation
Falvey Library
You are exploring: Home > Blogs

Falvey Scholars 2023: Becca Jacobson ’23 CLAS

Photo by Andrew McKeough ’19

The Falvey Scholars Program is an annual program established by Falvey Library to recognize outstanding undergraduate research. Now in its 21st year, the program is a collective initiative of the Library and the Center for Research and Fellowships. The recipients of this award are selected from a pool of candidates nominated by Villanova faculty and reviewed by Library staff.

This year, eight students received awards for seven different projects, and their work reflects the breadth and depth of undergraduate research at the University as well as the support the Library, its resources and staff, provide student-scholars.

The blog will introduce our scholars and cover their research in their own words. Look for additional coverage of the Falvey Scholars in the fall issue of Mosaic.

Congratulations to all of our Falvey Scholars, past and present!

Becca Jacobson ’23 CLAS

Title: “Identifying Factors that Promote or Inhibit Disability-Related Discussion in Secondary English Language Arts Classrooms”

Faculty Mentor: Christa Bialka, PhD, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Hometown: Randolph, N.J.

Other Honors: Secondary Education Medallion, Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellowship Grantee, Honors Senior Thesis Distinction

Describe your research in your own words.
I investigated the factors that influence English Language Arts teachers to discuss or refrain from discussing disability with their students through a qualitative, exploratory study via interviews with 13 in-service secondary English Language Arts teachers. My findings concluded that the role of disability representation in curriculum, role of classroom and school culture, and role of personal factors all contribute to teachers’ decisions to discuss disability. Teachers desired more representation in curriculum and professional development that frames disability as a social identity to aid them in facilitating these discussions.

How did Falvey’s resources, databases, and spaces impact your research?
The Falvey Library databases were integral to my research process, and I would not have been able to complete my thesis without using the databases. My thesis included a 13-page literature review—literature I retrieved from Falvey Library’s databases. This review served as the foundation for my research methods, data, and discussion.

I would be remiss to leave out the fact that I wrote the vast majority of my thesis inside the walls of Falvey Library. In fact, I wrote almost all 45 pages of my thesis at the same desk on the third floor of the Library by the windows overlooking Mendel Hall. I am the type of student who needs complete silence in order to concentrate and prefers to limit visual distractions, so the desks on the third floor that have hutches with dividers create an ideal learning environment for me. I always tell people, “I do my best work on the third floor of the Library,” and my thesis certainly is my best work.

How did the Library’s staff impact your research and academic experience?
I came to know how to navigate databases and conduct research efficiently and strategically because of the presentations from the many research librarians from Falvey Library. I also had the privilege of meeting with a research librarian one-on-one during my first semester at Villanova, which I believe was one of the smartest decisions I made, as I used the knowledge I gained from that meeting throughout the next four years.

What’s next for you?
I plan to secure a position teaching English Language Arts at a public high school in Northern New Jersey in the near future. In terms of future education, I plan to pursue a Master’s Degree in Special Education and move on to my Doctorate in Education later on in my career.

Also, this research has certainly inspired me to pursue research in the future. I want to examine disability-related discussion more deeply through transcripts of actual disability-related conversation in classrooms and the critical talk moves that teachers make in order to facilitate them.

Shawn Proctor Shawn Proctor, MFA, is Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Library.



No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment


Last Modified: May 31, 2023

Ask Us: Live Chat
Back to Top