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May 29: Memorial Day, A Brief History

  • Posted by: Alice Bampton
  • Posted Date: May 29, 2017
  • Filed Under: Library News
View of Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery

Today, May 29, is celebrated as Memorial Day. But who or what are we remembering? For many of us this holiday marks the beginning of summer with a three day weekend; we celebrate with picnics, fireworks, trips to the shore or a swimming pool and perhaps by shopping the Memorial Day sales. The three day holiday weekend began with the National Holiday Act of 1971 which ruled that four holidays should be celebrated on Mondays – Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Columbus Day and Veterans Day. The Memorial Day holiday, however, has roots that originated just after the Civil War (1861-1865) when it was called Decoration Day. Before that act, Memorial Day was observed on May 30, especially in the North.

In post-Civil War America, numerous families had relationships with dead or injured soldiers, Union and Confederate, and in some locations women would decorate the soldiers’ graves. In Richmond, Va., women formed the Hollywood Memorial Association of the Ladies of Richmond; they helped to establish the Oakwood Memorial Association. The purpose of these two groups was to decorate the graves, both Union and Confederate, in the Hollywood and Oakwood Cemeteries. The same year, 1865, Confederate veterans organized, but the decoration of graves remained women’s work. A year later, in April 1866, a group of women visited a cemetery in Columbus, Miss, to decorate the graves of Confederate soldiers; unhappy with the neglected nearby graves of Union soldiers, the women also placed flowers on their graves.

On May 5, 1868, Major General John Alexander Logan (1826-1886) and an organization of Union veterans declared that May 30 should be a day on which graves of the Civil War dead should be decorated with flowers. That year, a large ceremony, presided over by General Ulysses S. Grant and various officials, was held at Arlington National Cemetery. At the conclusion of the speeches, members of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) and children from a nearby orphanage for Union veterans’ children placed flowers on the graves of more than 20,000 Civil War soldiers, Union and Confederate, while singing hymns and reciting prayers.

From the 1870s on, some observed the holiday as a commemoration of the Civil War dead and others chose to enjoy themselves. By the 1890s May 30 had become more a popular holiday, less a memorial to the Civil War dead. Congress declared Memorial Day, May 30, a federal holiday in 1889. And so it remained until the National Holiday Act of 1971, passed during the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson. Johnson said, “The bill that we sign today will help Americans to enjoy more fully the country that is their magnificent heritage. It will also aid the work of Government and bring new efficiency to our economy. … This will mean a great deal to our families and our children. It will enable families who live some distance apart to spend more time together. … They will be able to participate in a wider range of recreational and cultural activities.” [Note that there is no mention by President Johnson about commemorating Civil War or other soldiers.]

How will you spend Memorial Day?


Dig Deeper (Falvey’s holdings): 

Faehtz, E.F.M. The National Memorial Day: A record of Ceremonies Over the Graves of the Union Soldiers, May 29 and 30, 1869. (1870)

Foote, Henry Wilder. Memorial Lessons:  A Sermon Preached at King’s Chapel, Boston, on Sunday, May 29th, 1870, with a List of the Sons of the Church Who Entered the Service of the Country(1870)

Harmond, Richard. P. A History of Memorial Day:  Unity, Discord and the Pursuit of Happiness. (2002)

Shepard, I. F. Memorial Day, May 30, 1870, by Ben. I.F. Shepard … at Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, Mo. (1870)


Dig Deeper online:

 Memorial Day History.” U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs.

Berenson, Tessa. “Why Do We Celebrate Memorial Day


Arlington National Cemetery photograph courtesy of pixabay.com.

We are committed to accuracy and will make appropriate corrections. We apologize for any errors and always welcome input about news coverage that warrants correction. Messages can be e-mailed to alice.bampton@villanova.edu or call (610)519-6997.


Foto Friday: A Hidden Gem

  • Posted by: Alice Bampton
  • Posted Date: May 26, 2017
  • Filed Under: Library News

Beauty of Creation resize

The Beauty of Creation

            “The silent earth sings with the voice of its own beauty. You gaze upon the earth and you behold its loveliness, you observe its fecundity, you marvel at its secret powers, how it conceives its seed, and how it may bring forth offspring different from what was sown. As you reflect on these things you long to question the earth. Your research is an asking of the questions. Wondering and awed, you search for the truth, you probe it patiently.

You discover the earth’s springing energy, its amazing beauty, its most excellent potency. But because it could not have such virtue in itself, or by itself, swiftly there flashes into your mind the conviction that not by any possibility of its own can the earth have come to be, but only from the hands of its Creator. This very truth that you have discovered is the earth’s cry of confession, and to praise your Creator you make the earth’s cry your own.”

St. Augustine, Enarratio in Psalmum 144.13

Quoted by Pope John Paul II, Centenary of Gregor Mendel’s Death


This is on the ground, tucked away under plants to the right of the statue of Gregor Mendel near the entrance to Mendel Science Center. Photograph by Alice Bampton, Communication and Marketing Dept.


#ThrowBackThursday: 1985

  • Posted by: Hunter Houtzer
  • Posted Date: May 25, 2017
  • Filed Under: Library News

#TBT to enjoying the warm summer weather in 1985 (and remembering to bring your pillow)!

tbt 1985

The Belle Air (1985) reminds students that “It’s All a Matter of Perspective” with a photo collection including this picture, showcasing the fun and unusual antics of Villanova students (something that has continued into the present).

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The Curious ‘Cat: “Go go gadget…”

Curious 'Cat - imageThis week, the Curious ‘Cat asks Villanovans, “What kitchen gadget would you be?”

Dave Uspal, Library Technology Developer– “Corkscrew.”

Chris Hallberg, Library Technology Developer– “Mason jar because not everyone has one, but when you do, you use it for everything.”

Barbara Quintiliano, Instructional Services Librarian/Team Leader– “Sandwich press.”

Alfred Fry, Science Librarian– “A portable flour sifter.”

Sarah Wingo, Liaison Librarian English & Theatre – “A Wusthof kitchen knife.”

Rob LeBlanc, First Year Experience/Humanities Librarian– “An offset spatula because it’s special and unique with a specific purpose, just like me.”

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Recommended Summer 2017 Reading from English Faculty

  • Posted by: Alice Bampton
  • Posted Date: May 23, 2017
  • Filed Under: Library News

With the longer summer days we have, you may be searching for some good books to read. Each year the Department of English publishes a summer reading list on their blog. We are reprinting it with their permission and in their faculty’s own words. We have inserted links to those books which are in Falvey’s collections.



I’d recommend Colson Whitehead, who just won the Pulitzer for The Underground Railroad.
This semester I read his zombie book, Zone One, with one class, and a selection from Sag Harbor with another, and both were successful.  He is an amazingly talented writer.

Zone One



This summer I’m planning to read two recently published novels:  Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Book of Joan and Omar El Akkad’s American War.  Weird Fiction guru Jeff VanderMeer says of The Book of Joan, a post-apocalyptic riff on Joan of Arc, that the novel employs both “realism and fabulism . . . to “break through the white noise of a consumerist culture that tries to commodify post-apocalyptic fiction, to render it safe.”  The well-received American War imagines a second Civil War that runs from the years 2074 to 2095.

Book of Joan

American War



Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk—a sardonic look at the Dallas Cowboys’ reception for wartime heroes.

Abraham Verghese, Cutting for Stone—a richly textured novel set in Ethiopia, knowingly influenced by the author’s medical background.

Billy Lynn's Long

Cutting for stone

I’ve been recommending Katherine Dunn’s Geek Love as summer reading.  I read it over Christmas break and found it completely absorbing, if also strange, unsettling, and even somewhat repellent.  Dunn creates a family of circus freaks—Arty, who has flippers instead of limbs; Elly and Iphy, a pair of piano-playing Siamese twins; Oly, a hunchbacked albino dwarf and the novel’s principal narrator; sweet Chick, a clairvoyant with kinetic superpowers; and their parents, Al and Crystal Lil Binewski, young carnies in love who intentionally beget this genetically-modified brood to boost flagging ticket sales.  Dunn imbues these liminally human forms with altogether human psychology and domestic intimacy.  It’s one of the best-written works of fiction I’ve read in the last several years.

Geek Love



This summer, I will hope to get through the following:
Philip K. Dick, Ubik – always try to read at least one sci-fi novel a year
Rachel Cusk, Outline – highly rated autobiographical reflections on marriage and divorce, first of a series that has been compared to Knausgaard’s My Struggle
Charles Maturin, Melmouth the Wanderer – early gothic, about a man who sells his soul to the devil and spends the next 150 years wandering the world in search of someone to release him from his pact, enough said
Marcel Proust – Within a Budding Grove (second part of In Search of Lost Time) – the Moncrieff translation, because I like my translations written as close as possible to the period the book was written because the prose of every era has its own rhythms and turns of speech


Within a Budding Grove

I sped through all seven of Lynn Flewelling’s Nightrunner novels, a super fun fantasy series featuring multiple plots (quest, espionage, romance, captivity, adventure) and fully realized queer characters. The series provides hours and hours of cozy diversion, yet it also has much to say about contemporary politics: its most consistent theme concerns how frauds, crooks, and megalomaniacs use xenophobia in their accumulation of power.

Another novel with unforgettable queer characters is Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. It’s a YA [young adult] narrative about two teenage boys in California falling into friendship, negotiating the strain of conflicting feelings, and being as good to one another as they know how. It’s gorgeous. I cried. And I’m waiting eagerly for the sequel, which comes out either this year or early in 2018.

Unlike many in the fantasy genre, N. K. Jemisin’s intricate and extraordinary The Fifth Season (winner of the 2016 Hugo) hinges liberation not on a lone individual’s heroism, but on collective effort and community building. It’s the first in a trilogy. The second, The Obelisk Gate, is, I think, even better than the first, and the final volume, The Stone Sky, comes out August 15th.

For a book that doesn’t divert from but rather predicts the present political moment, Octavia Butler’s 1993 Parable of the Sower is chilling and prophetic. Featuring the victory of a racist presidential candidate promising, as his slogan tells us, to “Make America Great Again”; the privatization of public goods, including water; the tightening of borders; and paramilitary mobs, it’s Butler’s dystopia, at least as much as George Orwell’s 1984, that we should be turning to now for answers on where the United States may be headed.

And–finally, briefly–because I can’t help myself: I just finished Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan quartet, and, wow wow wow, it is as good as everyone says and then some.

Aristotle and Dante

Parable of the Sower

Layli Long Soldier’s WHEREAS is of the best first books of poetry I’ve read in a long time and among the best books I’ve read this year. Long Soldier is a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe. WHEREAS finds the edges where personal and collective experience meet, and uses lexicon and the language of official state documents to think about personal identity and power. If that sounds super dry–it’s not, at all, but allows us to think about how the individual exists in and is defined by the collective or the institutional. There are poems about the poet’s daughter, and poems about genocide, and sitting side by side, the different kinds of poems (some in prose, some lineated) start to become metaphors for each other…




I’ve read two “climate fiction” (aka cli-fi) books recently that were quite engrossing.  The first, Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Water Knife, is an ultra-violent (truly! Be warned!) futuristic novel about drought and its consequences in the Desert Southwest.  The other, Jenni Fagan’s climate change novel The Sunlight Pilgrims, tells the story of a transgender girl attempting to grow up in the midst of a near-future global winter created by climate change.  While I think the novel could have done more to interconnect the two narratives thematically, it is still a compelling and timely read.  This summer, the first books on my list are Omar El Akkad’s new, critically-acclaimed apocalyptic novel, American War, and Charles Brockden Brown’s 1799 novel Arthur Mervyn, which is set during a yellow fever outbreak in Philadelphia in 1793.

The Water Knife

Arthur Mervyn



Along with the rest of you, this summer I’ll be reading Shadow Man by the great American novelist Alan Drew.

I’d also like to recommend two very recent books of poetry (first collections for both poets):

The first is Portrait of the Alcoholic, by Kaveh Akbar. The poems in this book know what it feels like to desire boundless possibility (“If you / could be anything in the world // you would”), and yet remain determined to discover poetry in the world as it is (“It all just means so intensely: bones / on the beach, calls from the bushes, / the scent of edible flowers / floating in from the horizon”). I love this poet.

The other is Whereas, by Layli Long Soldier. Her book’s title borrows from the language of the American government’s 2009 “Apology to the Native Peoples of the United States”; the book itself attends to the insufficiency of such official speech and is always finding ways out, into truths for which our history has had no place: “Things are circling back again. / Sometimes, when in a circle, if I wish to exit, I must leap.” This is an important and beautiful book.

Portrait of the Alcoholic


My summer readings choices:

Mark Doty, The Art of Description (amazing book on reading poetry; every poem he talks about is worth reading again).

Wendy Lesser, Why I Read: The Serious Pleasure of Books (it’s sheer pleasure to read about her pleasure in books; and there is a reading list in the back that includes some of my favorites: Austen, James, Cather, Faulkner, Forster, Bishop, Dickinson, etc.).

Rebecca Read, My Life in Middlemarch (a book about one writer’s love of a book and how particular moments in her life intersected with particular moments in Eliot’s Middlemarch. Of course, then you’ll want to read or reread Middlemarch!).

Henry James, The Golden Bowl (Read ANYTHING and everything by Henry James, and then read it again).

The New York Stories of Edith Wharton (ed. Roxana Robinson: this collection is wonderful. You’ll want to read it straight through for Wharton’s balance of keen social criticism and tenderness toward her characters. The introduction is also wonderful!)

Louise Gluck, The Wild Iris (this book is beautiful poetry, austere and moving and the arc of the book, the way all of the poems fit together, is exquisite).

Golden Bowl

the Wild Iris


One of my favorite books is Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather.  Based on the true lives of two French missionaries to the American Southwest, it celebrates friendship, faith, art and how various cultures affect each other.  I never tire of its simplicity and power.

Death Comes


I recommend Louise Erdrich’s LaRose, which I just finished reading. It is a beautiful and sometimes heart-breaking novel that tells the story of two families as they confront unspeakable loss. Like most of Erdrich’s fiction, it is an expansive story. While the majority of the novel takes place in the early 2000s, the history of boarding schools and Indian Adoption Project haunt its pages.




Libra by Don DeLillo

Who assassinated JFK?  DeLillo embraces fiction to address one of the greatest controversies in American History.  From the point of view of CIA operatives and Oswald himself, we explore the forces and scenarios that “might” have culminated in the death one of America’s beloved leaders and the “setup” of one of history’s most notorious assassins.




Yay to summer reading!  I’m looking forward to reading Swingtime by Zadie Smith, Alan Drew’s new novel, of course, and then re-readingUlysses before teaching it in the fall!


Shadow Man



I’ve enjoyed a number of Richard Russo’s novels as well as his memoir, but I’ve never read  Empire Falls, which is probably his best-known book.  So it’s on my list for this summer.  Russo is noted in part for his unsentimental portraits of small-town American life; Empire Falls, set in Maine, is one of them.  The novel won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2002 (and was then adapted for HBO).


Empire Falls


Sweet Lamb of Heaven by Lydia Millet

This book just came out in paperback, and I haven’t finished it yet, but I’ve read enough to report that it’s a perfect summer book if you like suspenseful page-turners. It was long-listed for the National Book Award and a finalist for the Pulitzer. It starts off with a pregnant wife whose husband does not want the child. After the baby is born, the woman has unexplained auditory hallucinations and the husband moves out of the house. Once she moves out of town, however, he starts hunting her down. The plot feels dangerous and strange but also literary.

The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman

If you love language, nature, and science, you’ll be fascinated by this examination of birds’ intelligence. For example, chickadees have “one of the most sophisticated and exacting systems of communication of any land animal,” with a syntax so powerful that they can let other chickadees know where they are, where food is located, and what predators are near, including how big and how dangerous those enemies are. (FYI, they don’t worry much about humans.) When Thomas Jefferson was tired, his pet mockingbird soothed him to sleep by singing human tunes that were popular at the time. Like this year’s One Book Villanova, The Genius of Birds shows that human intelligence is different from, but not superior to, that of other animals.

Sweet Lamb of Heaven

Genius of Birds


I fell hard this semester for Andrea Levy’s Small Island (2004). It’s a novel about Jamaican immigrants in London during and after WW II (and my London students told me it’s been made into a popular miniseries in the UK). The novel moves its point of view around among characters in ways that draw readers into one worldview, then suddenly leaves us reevaluating what we thought we knew. I find it such an absorbing read that only after I close it do I notice the finely crafted structure – the interrogation of relationships between family and state politics, the beautiful symmetries and figurative arguments that play under the surface.

Small Island

Check out last year’s recommendations!



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Kallie’s Chords: A High Note Playlist

There’s just something about that summertime feeling, a day at the beach, a picnic in the park, quickly eating your favorite ice cream before it melts in the sunshine. It’s hard to define the euphoric sense of the season; however, I tried to do just that in the Spotify playlist below. A crafty compilation of cheery and soothing beats, these songs will keep you grooving all summer long.

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The Curious ‘Cat: “Turn it up!”

Curious 'Cat - imageThis week, the Curious ‘Cat asked Villanovans, “What was the last song you listened to during your summer jam session?”

William Repetto – “Unbelievers by Vampire Weekend.”

Rob LeBlanc, First Year Experience/Humanities Librarian – “Urgent by Foreigner.”

Sarah Wingo, Liaison Librarian for English & Theatre – “The Hamilton soundtrack.”

Marianne Watson, Acquisitions/Licensing Librarian – “Down by Marian Hill.”

Darren Poley, Outreach Librarian/Program Team Leader – “Les Préludes (a symphonic poem) by Franz Liszt featuring the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sir Georg Solti.”

Em McAndrew – “Rat a Tat by Fall Out Boy.”

Mike Sgier, Access Services Specialist – “Disco 2000 by Pulp.”

Sounds like a real hootenanny! For more trendy tracks, be sure to check out the latest installment of Kallie’s Chords. A new playlist will be posted on Monday. Until then, enjoy the weekend,  Nova Nation!

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Learn More About This Year’s Commencement Speaker, Michael R. Bloomberg

  • Posted by: Linda Hauck
  • Posted Date: May 18, 2017
  • Filed Under: Library News

Photograph of Michael Bloomberg

Michael R. Bloomberg, Villanova University’s 2017 Commencement speaker, is a true polymath and unsurpassed doer who has excelled in business and public service arenas.  His personal website offers an excellent biographical time line with news items about current initiatives. For a current interview with Mike Bloomberg watch a recent 60 Minutes interview.

For a fascinating autobiographical account of how he built Bloomberg, L.P., and the Bloomberg Terminal which is a groundbreaking financial information, analytics and trading platform read Bloomberg by Bloomberg.

To date, at least three books have been written about Mike Bloomberg’s three term tenure as mayor of New York City.  Mike Bloomberg:  Money, Power, Politics, written by journalist Joyce Purnick, is a straightforward, balanced chronological biography.  For an anthropological case study of class politics within the context of the Bloomberg administrations west side development plans, read Bloomberg’s New York:  Class and Governance in the Luxury City by Jillian Brash.  For a deep dive into the tensions inherent in urban planning and building initiatives that played out during the Bloomberg years, read Scott Larson’s Building Like Moses with Jacobs in Mind.

Mike Bloomberg’s most recent book, Climate of Hope:  How Cities, Businesses and Citizens Can Save the Planet, coauthored with Carl Pope, former Sierra Club leader, couldn’t be better timed as scientific agreement on the impact of climate change converges, whereas political approaches diverge.  Bloomberg argues that economic imperatives will lead to small scale and local efforts offering the best chances for successfully mitigating climate change without adversely impacting employment, industry and trade.

Mike Bloomberg has been a prolific author of book forwards and contributor to articles about key social issues including education, public health, the arts, environment and better government. (See below.)  The Bloomberg Philanthropies page is where you can learn about his latest initiatives.


Dig Deeper: 

Bloomberg, M.R. (2015). City Century: Why Municipalities Are the Key to Fighting Climate Change. Foreign Affairs 94 (5), pp. 116-124.

Bloomberg, M.R., & Aggarwala, R.T. (2008). Think Locally, Act Globally: How Curbing Global Warming Emissions Can Improve Local Public Health. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 35 (5), pp. 414-423, doi:10.1016.j.amepre.2008.08.029

Bloomberg, M.R., Sachs, J.D., and Small, G.M. (2010). Climate Change Adaptation in New York City: Building a Risk Management Response. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1196, pp. 1-3. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.05415.x

Broad, E. (2012). The Art of Being Unreasonable: Lessons in Unconventional Thinking. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons. Forward by Michael Bloomberg.

Diaz, M. (2013).  Miami Transformed: Rebuilding America One Neighborhood, One City at a Time. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Forward by Michael Bloomberg.

Frieden, T.R., & Bloomberg, M.R. (2007). How to Prevent 100 Million Deaths from Tobacco. The Lancet 369 (9574), pp.1758-1761. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(07)60782-X

Goldsmith, S., & Crawford, W. (2014). The Responsive City: Engaging Communities Through Data Smart Governance. San Francisco: Jossey. Forward by Michael Bloomberg.

Webster, D. W. (2013). Reducing Gun Violence in America: Informing Policy with Evidence and Analysis. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Forward by Michael Bloomberg.

Webster, D.W., & Vernick, J.S. (2016). No Day Shall Erase You: The Story of 9/11 as Told at the National September 11 Memorial Museum. New York: 9/11 Memorial. Forward by Michael Bloomberg.



Linda Hauck resize 2


Linda Hauck is Falvey’s business librarian. Contact information: email-Linda.Hauck@villanova.edu; office-room 222, telephone 610-519-8744.






Bloomberg photograph courtesy of Villanova University. Hauck photograph courtesy of Falvey Memorial Library.


Introducing the Falvey Scholars: Ryan Zalla

Ryan Zalla, who presented a project titled “Economic Policy Uncertainty in Ireland,” comes to Villanova University from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In the fall he will begin his Ph.D. studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He credits the following professors for his success and continued inspiration: Michael Curran, PhD (economics), John Immerwahr, PhD (philosophy), Mark Wilson, PhD (ethics), and Paul Danove, PhD (New Testament Studies). I recently had the opportunity to sit and chat with Ryan, and here are some excerpts of our conversation:

Ryan Zalla DPFRR

Ryan Zalla poses for a photo in the Dugan Polk Family Reading Room.

William Repetto: Why did you choose to attend Villanova?

Ryan Zalla: It was the community. When I first checked out Villanova, it was January, and it was like negative 10 degrees outside. I walked right out. But then I came back for admitted candidates weekend in April, and coming to Villanova and getting screamed at by the ambassadors and Blue Key at six in the morning. That was student passion like I had never seen before. The people at Villanova, they were intelligent, creative, passionate about their faith, about community in general. And that’s what really drew me here.

WR: And what about mathematics and economics? Why did you choose to study those?

RZ: It was really a fascination with how things work, especially with rationality and logic. Math is such a creative major where you take building blocks of stuff and build it on each other, just to make some really beautiful pictures, and economics was a really practical, applied way of applying math to the business world.

WR: Did math play a big role in your research? I ask because it sounds more on the economic side.

RZ: As far as using math in my work to do theory, that’s going to happen a lot. I’ll most likely balance the theoretical and empirical side going forward in my research.

WR: And that’s the case with your present piece?

RZ: This project was mostly empirical, and then the theory was analyzed in the result. So essentially I looked at keywords in newspapers in Ireland over the past 30 years, and these keywords were words such as ‘regulation,’ ‘deficit,’ ‘central bank,’ and where these words appear in newspapers with higher frequency tended to correlate with periods of high uncertainty.

Ryan Zalla Headshot

“Math is such a creative major where you take building blocks of stuff and build it on each other,” according to Zalla.

WR: What’s the most important conclusion to draw from your results?

RZ: This is the idea of it: to see which words elicit certain emotions of anxiety in consumers, investors, and businesses… The important take away from here is that the policymakers and businesspeople have to be aware of what’s being said to the public and how information dispersion can affect the economy.

WR: What are some of your interests outside of academics? What sort of extracurriculars are you involved in?

RZ: The big ones were I was an Eagle Scout in high school. I also did my black belt and played saxophone in the marching band. Then coming to Villanova, I’ve been pretty involved in the Move Above the Influence Group, which promotes non-alcoholic social activities for students. I’ve also been a member of Villanova Ambassadors as well as Honors Ambassadors. I was at one point last year, a member of the dean’s academic reform committee for the College of the Liberal Arts and Sciences. I also started a society last year: the Villanova Society of Actuaries. I’m also an RA.

WR: So what led you to the Falvey Scholars Program?

RZ: I use the Falvey Memorial Library a lot, because Villanova provides access to just about every research article and database out there. I was able to use those a lot to come up with my ideas, do my literature review and complete my project. Dr. Michael Curran noticed that the Falvey Scholars could be a good fit for me, and he forwarded the information.

WR: Then the Falvey Memorial Library has played an important role in your collegiate studies so far?

RZ: I just know that the Falvey Memorial Library is where I did most of my research and has been a very valuable resource along the way… Here at Villanova it’s my favorite place to study. I especially love the new reading room – being there at three in the morning no longer feels as creepy as it once did.

Website photo 2

Article by William Repetto, a graduate assistant in the Communication and Marketing Dept. at the Falvey Memorial Library. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University.




Photographs by Kallie Stahl, Communications and Marketing Dept.



Introducing the Falvey Scholars: Danielle Sens-Castet

Danielle Sens-Castet comes to Villanova from Pearl River, New York. She was selected as a Falvey Scholar on the nomination of two separate projects, one in biology and the other in French and Francophone studies. She credits Professors François Massonnat and Dennis Wykoff for playing an important role in her success. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Sens-Castet about her work in biology, French serial killers, and her plans for the future. You’ll find excerpts of the conversation below.

Sens-Castet poses for a photo in the Dugan Polk Family Reading Room.

Sens-Castet poses for a photo in the Dugan Polk Family Reading Room.

William Repetto: You were nominated for two projects. Congratulations. What can you tell me about your majors and your projects?

Danielle Sens-Castet: My majors are biology and French and Francophone Studies. My French project is looking at serial killer narratives and then my second project, which I did for biology, for my thesis, is about the thymine biosynthesis pathway and the importance of a regulatory factor called THI3 across particular yeast species.

WR: I’m not a science person. Can you explain your biology project to me as a total outsider?

DS-C: THI3 is this thing called a regulatory factor, so it’s able to control these proteins that bind to DNA to either turn on genes or turn off genes, so I look at THI3, which helps control and regulate thymine genes. If you need to make thymine, THI3 binds to this other factor to bind to DNA to then make thymine. If you don’t need to make thymine, then it’s not going to bind. I’m looking at different species because different species have different regulatory systems.

WR: And what has been your favorite part of this kind of work?

DS-C: Working with the people in the lab, I love the people who I’ve worked with. I’ve been fortunate enough to work in this lab that has such great people – Dr. Wyckoff is such a great adviser. We have our lab coordinator, Christine Iosue, and all the undergrads and grad students who work there have been great. I also like looking at the sources first and looking into the background. Definitely Falvey has been useful, especially the website.

Sens-Castet lectures at the Falvey Scholar event.

Sens-Castet lectures at the Falvey Scholars event.

WR: This all sounds very different from your French project. Can you talk a little bit about your work on French crime film?

DS-C: In crime film you think of like maybe gangsters or murder, but some of the films you wouldn’t classify as a crime film… Even when I watched Le Boucher, it’s not that I didn’t think of it as a crime film because there is a serial killer in it, which I didn’t even think of him as being a serial killer, which shows you how well it’s done artistically.

WR: Was Le Boucher the only film you wrote about, then?

DS-C: I picked two more modern films. One is called La Prochaine Fois Je Viserai le Cœur (“Next Time I Will Aim for the Heart”), but the interesting thing is that film was set in the late ’70s, a little bit after Le Boucher. Then I also watched L’Affaire SK1, which is “Serial Killer One.” That was interesting because it was actually based on a real life serial killer called Guy Georges who terrorized Paris during the ’90s.

WR: So what do these two projects add up to for you? What do you think your future holds?

DS-C: I originally thought I wanted to go into the healthcare field or something related to that, but I’m realizing I don’t. So I’m trying to figure out what I want to do, if I can incorporate biology and French together, or at least science and French that would be awesome, or even science and languages.

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Article by William Repetto, a graduate assistant on the Communications and Marketing Team at the Falvey Memorial Library. He is currently pursuing an MA in English at Villanova University.




Photographs by Kallie Stahl and Alice Bampton, Communication and Marketing Dept.



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Last Modified: May 17, 2017