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A Study in Economy: Meet Matthew Fagerstrom, 2019 Falvey Scholar

Matthew Fagerstrom receives the Falvey Scholar Award from Jeehyun “Jee” Davis, Associate University Librarian for Collections and Stewardship.

Matthew Fagerstrom receives the Falvey Scholar Award from Jeehyun “Jee” Davis, Associate University Librarian for Collections and Stewardship.

 

BY SHAWN PROCTOR

This is part 4 of a 6-part series featuring the 2019 Falvey Scholars. Read more about them every Tuesday and in the upcoming issue of Mosaic: the library’s bi-annual publication.

 

Scholarly Stats:

Matthew Fagerstrom ’19 CLAS

Hometown: Hershey, Pa.

Faculty Mentor: Michael Curran, PhD, Assistant Professor, Economics

Research: The Financial Industry in the Era of Fiat Currency: An Empirical Approach

Other Honors: Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellows Summer Program Grant

 

In his own words:

Matthew’s Research:

My research project involved curating a literature review covering developments in the measurement of financial regulation, monetary policy, and the growth of the financial industry.

Following understanding the literature surrounding these topics, I conducted a Vector Autoregression (VAR) and Structural Vector Autoregression analysis using data on financial compensation, monetary policy, financial deregulation, and unionization.

Through my research I found that as the money supply in the economy increases that wages in the financial industry rose faster than wages in the rest of the economy. Between 1973 and 2015 employees in the financial industry saw their wages grow from 80 percent of averages wages to 150 percent.

Today, we assume that money is neutral. This study suggests significant non-neutralities of money due to the persistent relationship between the monetary base and financial variables. Banks need to be aware of how their policies will impact the distribution of jobs and production, and plan monetary interventions accordingly.

 

Matthew’s “Falvey Experience”:

The library was of immeasurable value, especially in writing the literature review. Writing the literature review involved reading and compiling sources from the Matthew Fagerstromcutting edge of the economics discipline, as the topic I researched has not been researched by many other scholars. I accessed almost every journal through the library, as they were restricted by “paywalls,” which made my research efficient.

Moreover, the private study spaces that populate Falvey Memorial Library were oases where my productivity could flourish.

In previous, but related research, Linda Hauck, Academic Librarian for Business and Human Resource Development, assisted me with finding data sources that I carried over into this project.

The Impact on Him:

I learned a great deal about writing literature reviews from this process, and I also learned applications of matrix algebra in the VAR setting. This experience has made me more confident about becoming an academic economist and has given me the confidence to write literature for my graduate-level political science classes.

What’s Next:

I am continuing my Villanova education next year in order to earn a master’s in political science and Government. Beyond that, I plan to pursue a pre-doctoral fellowship then a PhD.

 


Shawn Proctor

Shawn Proctor, MFA, is communications and marketing program manager at Falvey Memorial Library.

 


Researching Hallowed Ground: Meet Jubilee Marshall, 2019 Falvey Scholar

Jubliee wins Falvey Scholar Award

Jubilee Marshall receives the Falvey Scholar Award from Associate University Librarian for Collections and Stewardship Jeehyun “Jee” Davis.

BY SHAWN PROCTOR

This is part 3 of a 6-part series featuring the 2019 Falvey Scholars. Read more about them every Tuesday and in the upcoming issue of Mosaic: the library’s bi-annual publication.

 

Scholarly Stats:

Jubilee Marshall ’19 CLAS

Hometown: Washington, D.C.

Faculty Mentor: Whitney Martinko, PhD, assistant professor of History

Research: Public Health and Urban Space in Philadelphia’s Black Burial Grounds, 1750-1850, presented at the American Historical Association’s 2019 annual meeting and the Organization of American Historians’ 2019 conference

Other Honors: Fulbright U.S. Student Program award winner, Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellowship

In her own words:

Jubilee’s Research:

I began this research project in the fall semester of 2017, in the History department’s Junior Research Seminar, where I conducted a broad literature review to help narrow my topic, and wrote a Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellowship grant application for the summer of 2018.

During the summer, I focused on primary source research, and met with countless historians, archivists, and site managers (including Dr. Aaron Wunsch, Terry Buckalew, Adrienne Whaley, and Dr. Nicole Dressler) to get a sense of the landscape of churches and burials in Philadelphia in the revolutionary period. I spent a lot of time in archives.

Jubilee Marshall

There, I examined newspapers, church records, death records, land deeds, board of health regulations, maps, and other historical documents. In conducting this primary source research, I worked to identify trends and themes and in doing so eventually came to recognize that public health was a major concern for Philadelphians in the era.

Upon the completion of the summer grant period, I then spent the fall semester of my senior year completing supplementary secondary source research to get a broader understanding of how public health and urbanization may have affected black residents of the city from 1750-1850. In the spring semester, I wrote my thesis.

This process, which I’ve undertaken with extensive guidance from my advisor, Dr. Martinko, culminated in a 60-page, two-chapter thesis that I defended and plan to submit for publication.


Jubilee’s
“Falvey Experience”:

I could not have completed this project without Falvey Memorial Library. Much of my research depended on access to online databases, such as JSTOR and Accessible Archives. Over the summer, I met with a research librarian who helped me to navigate the specific databases I was using for my project which allowed me to locate and analyze sources I would not have been able to find on my own.

I checked out countless monographs from Falvey’s own collection, and regularly used EZ-Borrow and Interlibrary Loan to access other relevant texts that were not available in the stacks. Having access to this network of libraries allowed me to incorporate secondary source works that ended up being central to my broader argument. I also learned from the research librarian that I could request microfilm through ILL and view it in the library.

This was very helpful as I relied heavily on church records, many of which have been transferred to microfilm but are not yet available on the web. In addition to these services, I also used the library for my logistical needs. It provided me with a place to work, and with crucial access to a disk drive — my computer does not have one, and local historians frequently sent me CDs full of historical data. Falvey Memorial Library not only enhanced my project but made it possible, providing me with the resources and active guidance necessary to ensure my work would be well-supported.


The Impact on Her:
Jubilee Marshall

I have learned a lot and developed a wide array of skills from my research experience. In addition to learning how to locate, organize, and analyze sources, I have also learned how to navigate physical and digital archives; how to network with other historians in order to tap into existing networks of shared knowledge surrounding my research topic; how to successfully manage a long-term project; what work style best suits my needs and habits; how to apply for grant money; how to think broadly about historical evidence and think creatively about how to answer questions when the answers are not immediately evident in the historical records; how to write a thesis-length paper; and, finally, how to present my information and argument in multiple mediums in a way that is both engaging and convincing.

In addition to these skills, this research experience has also enable me to present my research at professional conferences, including the American Historical Association’s 2019 Annual Meeting and the Organization of American Historian’s 2019 conference, which has given me insight into the world of academia and helped to inform my post-graduate plans.


What’s Next:

Jubilee will work as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in the Czech Republic. Upon completion of her Fulbright year, she intends to pursue a graduate degree in the field of Public History.

 


Shawn Proctor

Shawn Proctor, MFA, is communications and marketing program manager at Falvey Memorial Library.


Biologist, Philosopher, Researcher, Falvey Scholar: Meet Elizabeth “Libby” O’Brien

Elizabeth O'Brien award

Elizabeth “Libby” O’Brien receives the Falvey Scholar Award from Associate University Librarian for Collections and Stewardship Jeehyun “Jee” Davis.

 

BY SHAWN PROCTOR

This is part 2 of a 6-part series featuring the 2019 Falvey Scholars. Read more about them every Tuesday and in the upcoming issue of Mosaic: the library’s bi-annual publication.

 

Scholarly Stats:

Elizabeth “Libby” O’Brien ’19 CLAS

Hometown: Portland, Maine

Faculty Mentor: Samantha Chapman, PhD, associate professor of Biology

Research: Foliar water uptake in ecotonal mangroves which are expanding with climate change

Other Honors: Fulbright U.S. Student Program award winner, will continue her thesis work analyzing mangrove ecology and environmental ethics in the Philippines.

 

In her own words:

Libby’s Research:

While working with Drs. Chapman and Matthew Hayes in a Florida saltmarsh on their research analyzing mangrove ecology in the face of climate change, I began to ponder about an idea that would become my thesis question: “What if mangroves supplement their water needs not from their roots, where they are competing with the marsh species, but through their leaves?”

At Villanova in the fall, the three of us sat down and revisited that question. In our preliminary literature review, we found evidence that a number of plant species use foliar water uptake across ecosystems, particularly where water availability can be limited such as high, mountainous elevations and dry, arid environments.

Mangroves are specialized plants that live in salty water. Due to the high salinity concentration of their soils, they are often under water stress as they need to extract, and filter water out of this salty environment to meet their physiological demands. In short, mangroves are living under pseudo-drought conditions. However, coastal mangroves sometimes encounter sea mist and fog, leading us to believe that they may utilize foliar water uptake in a similar way to other plants living under drought conditions.

Our second research question was “Do different mangrove species exhibit varying degrees of foliar water uptake?”

Elizabeth O'Brien PresentingWe aimed to answer this second question to provide evidence for existing geographic distributions of specific mangroves species and their projected future encroachment patterns.

To test our hypotheses, we built airtight chambers and placed the three different species of mangroves inside of them. We used humidifiers to mimic morning fog enriched with a tracer that could be detected by a machine in the lab after the experiment. Since we sealed off the soil from the rest of the plant, (meaning that the soil was not moistened by the fog), any tracer detected in the leaves of the mangroves would indicate foliar water uptake.

Using statistical analyses, we could identify trends in the data to answer both of our research questions. Once in the lab, we did detect the tracer in all of the species, pointing to some foliar water uptake, but we also discovered problems in our experimentation methods. This meant that while our results were promising, there were a few possibilities as to why they were what they were.

However, the three of us do not take this as a failure. If we had not done the experiment, we would not have known that mangroves exhibit some foliar water uptake; and even if it is impossible to parse out the differences in foliar water uptake across species at this time, we have a solid research process on which to build on moving forward.

Setbacks like this are not only common, they are inevitable. We are currently in the process of re-examining our methods to produce more reliable results. Moreover, I come away with a confidence in my ability as a woman in science moving on to answer the next questions.

 

Libby’s “Falvey Experience”:

In order to begin the development of my research questions, and throughout every subsequent step of my thesis, I needed to be a sponge for information. At first, it was overwhelming to experience a total information overload, but three things kept my project focused and achievable.

The access that Falvey’s online resources provided proved invaluable. The access that I was able to have to high profile academic journals and niche, often international journals, as well as published theses exposed me to the diverse and interdisciplinary research within the realm of mangrove ecology.Libby O'Brien

For the articles that were not immediately available to me, I used interlibrary loan. I was able to develop my experimental design from one article that I got through the interlibrary loan system, a resource that then-research librarian Robin Bowles (now the director of Libraries at Montgomery County Community College) pointed me towards—she was instrumental in my successful thesis completion.

Her knowledge and experience for sifting through endless articles and culling searches gave me papers that addressed my specific questions. I live-chatted with her in one instance which enabled me to get help from the library and keep working.

Finally, Falvey Memorial Library provided me with the space to work and collaborate with my mentors, a contribution that I cannot ignore. The 24-hour access to workspaces, printers, and online resources eliminated many of the obstacles a commuter student like myself might have faced in order to finish my thesis on a deadline.

Over this past year, at the back left square table of the library Holy Grounds, Dr. Chapman, Dr. Hayes, and myself drank endless cups of coffee and discussed how our mangrove foliar water uptake results fit into the larger conversation of coastal climate change.

 

The Impact on Her:

From Florida saltmarshes to Mendel Science Center, climate change challenges our status quo. As a soon to be graduate from a rigorous Augustinian institution, I am equipped with the skills to analyze, engage with, and speak about the processes behind the issues that affect our everyday lives.

My thesis, an investigation into foliar water uptake as a potential water acquisition strategy in mangrove species, offers a contribution to the scientific community in the context of coastal ecosystem ecology, as well as to Villanova University as an example of what a student committed to conducting research can achieve.

From the completion of my thesis, I have learned that the hardest part about research is narrowing the focus of your questions because analyzing the implications in the larger scheme of things comes later. I have learned that I respond well to a mentorship style that gives me the space to try and fail and re-try lab techniques, and that it is essential to take advantage to the resources available.

Falvey Memorial Library facilitated so much of my research success; from that, I have grown to have a passion for asking and answering research questions.

What’s Next:

After my Fulbright U.S. Student experience, I am planning to attend graduate school. I aim to continue this work but also integrate my research in philosophy in the coming years as I pursue a doctorate that blends ecological research with ethical considerations in a project that explores mangrove productivity and success through a lens of anthropogenic influence.

My mentors’ attention to both of these interests throughout this year motivated me to pursue a career that combines science and policy advocacy.


Shawn Proctor

Shawn Proctor, MFA, is communications and marketing program manager at Falvey Memorial Library.


After a Time of War, a Time to Heal: Get to Know Erin Donnelly, 2019 Falvey Scholar

 

 

Erin Donnelly receives the Falvey Scholar Award from Associate University Librarian for Collections and Stewardship Jeehyun "Jee" Davis.

Erin Donnelly receives the Falvey Scholar Award from Associate University Librarian for Collections and Stewardship Jeehyun “Jee” Davis.

 

BY SHAWN PROCTOR

This is part 1 of a 6-part series featuring the 2019 Falvey Scholars. Read more about them every Tuesday and in the upcoming issue of Mosaic: the library’s bi-annual publication.

 

Scholarly Stats:

Erin Donnelly ’19 FCN

Hometown: Havertown, Pa.

Faculty Mentor: Helene J. Moriarty, PhD, ’77 BSN, RN, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN, Diane L. & Robert F. Moritz Endowed Chair in Nursing Research

Research: Wounds of War: Understanding the Dimensions of Moral Injury from a Health Care Perspective, also presented at Ethics of War and Peace Conference in April, 2019.

Other Honors: Presidential Scholar

In her own words:

Erin’s research:

In the nursing and health care community, there is a lack of literature related to the experience of moral injury in veterans—my project seeks to address this knowledge gap.

Moral injury is a psychological injury that results from “transgressions of deeply held moral and ethical beliefs and expectations” and has been documented in history as early as the warrior culture of Ancient Greece.

Through my literature review, I was able to identify prevalence, risk factors, conceptual models, new theoretical frameworks, and interventions that existed around moral injury. However, after meeting with Dr. Mark Wilson, I realized I would be remiss if I did not expand my knowledge of the pastoral, spiritual, philosophical, and ethical discussions surrounding moral injury to understand it more fully from diverse perspectives.

Part of this process involved seeking evidence on the efficacy of interventions designed to support active service members and veterans struggling with moral injury.

 

Erin’s “Falvey Experience”:

The database access provided by Falvey Memorial Library was essential for my complete review of the literature.

Headshot of Erin DonnellySince research on moral injury is in its infancy, I had to search in many disciplines to find emerging literature. I used CINAHL, PubMed, and ProQuest to find the majority of my scholarly sources. I was also able to cite these sources easily by exporting to RefWorks and using the citation links provided by ProQuest. Villanova gave me access to articles from the journals.

On a more personal note, the fourth floor of the library was a quiet and enjoyable location to read articles and review the books I found.

 

The Impact on Her:

I learned more about the care of our U.S. servicemen and women. Moral injury is an experience that requires care from a variety of disciplines, and I was able to explore multidisciplinary literature throughout this process. I have also learned how to take the primary role of responsibility for a project, while consulting regularly with a mentor.

Using this research, I have been able to apply my findings to my practice and assessment during my leadership clinical at the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center in Philadelphia. While taking care of veterans in the ICU, I recognized the importance of holistic care and a comprehensive psychological assessment that incorporates moral injury.

 

What’s Next:

I have accepted a position as a Nurse Resident at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. But, in the long term, this research experience reaffirmed my goal of returning to school for a doctoral degree.


Shawn Proctor

Shawn Proctor, MFA, is communications and marketing program manager at Falvey Memorial Library.


 


Last Modified: June 4, 2019