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Falvey Scholars 2023: Madeline Scolio ’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!

Madeline Scolio ’23 CLAS

Title: “Modeling the Relationship Between Surface and Air Temperature and Implications for Urban Sustainability and Well-Being in Philadelphia”

Faculty Mentors: Peleg Kremer, PhD, and Samer Abboud, PhD, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Hometown: Woodstock, Ill.

Other Honors: Alexander von Humboldt Medallion for Excellence in Geography, Cosmas Indicopleustes Medallion for Excellence in Global Interdisciplinary Studies, NSF Supplemental Grant from the National Science Foundation, Presidential Scholarship, Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellowship, Seamus Heaney Honors Program Writing Award

Describe your research in your own words.

Currently, it is common practice to use remotely sensed surface temperature as a proxy for air temperature in studies of urban heat and microclimate. It has been established that surface temperature is not a good proxy for air temperature. Thus my research revolves around creating a spatiotemporal model that related the surface temperature to air temperature in order to improve the quality of temperature data available for Philadelphia. I also worked to highlight human well-being and sustainability issues around the city that could benefit from this improved data.

How did Falvey’s resources, databases, and spaces impact your research?

In the Fall, I struggled with finding an approach to my project that would highlight its broad application in social and scientific domains and interdisciplinary nature. During this time, I met with Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement Jutta Seibert who helped guide my research towards questions of urban sustainability. This meeting was extremely helpful in narrowing down the focus of the geographic information systems (GIS) portion of my thesis while still complementing the more geotechnical question I was investigating. More specifically, she introduced me to Oxford Bibliographies which were extremely useful in building the urban sustainability and human well-being backbone of my project.

How did Falvey’s resources and databases impact your research?

The resources available through the Falvey Library website were critical in facilitating the foundational and explanatory research for my thesis project. I found it helpful to search for similar terms in different databases and compare the results. For example, I searched for literature relating to urban sustainability in both Scopus and JSTOR and got completely different results. This was extremely useful in situating my geotechnical research in a broader context.

Beyond that, I used the website to gain access to journal articles that informed the development of my methods and to gain a comprehensive understanding of a relatively novel field. For example, mobile air temperature monitoring has been conducted on foot, by bike and by car with each method having its own limitations and advantages. Understanding the methods of other researchers was useful in helping weigh the pros and cons of each method and ultimately deciding to collect my data by car. Through the many journals I was able to access through Falvey, I was able to participate in a long history of academic collaboration by building upon the work of other researchers.

What’s next for you?

I am taking a year off to work, travel, apply to graduate school, and spend time with loved ones. After that, I am planning on getting a master’s degree in architecture and urban planning.

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



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Last Modified: June 7, 2023

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