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Cat in the Stax: Queen Elizabeth II

By Ethan Shea

"Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee"

Image courtesy of History.com (Steve Parsons/Getty Images)

On September 8, 2022, the world learned Queen Elizabeth II had passed away at the age of 96. The death of the Queen marks the end of a 70-year reign that stretched from the era of Winston Churchill to Liz Truss, two British Prime Ministers who were born over 100 years apart.

Here at Falvey Library, there are countless resources that contain an abundance of information on the life of Queen Elizabeth II, and there are a lot more than just dates and statistics.

For example, here are a few interesting facts about the Queen that I was able to find through a quick online search…


  • Did you know that Queen Elizabeth II was actually never expected to become the Queen of England? When Elizabeth was ten years old, her grandfather King George V passed away, leaving the throne to her uncle, Edward VIII. While he was King, Edward fell in love with an American woman named Wallis Simpson, who had already been married twice. As the King of England, Edward was also the head of the Church of England, which did not approve of remarriage. Edward chose Simpson over the crown and abdicated as King of England, handing the title to King George VI, Elizabeth’s father. Suddenly, Elizabeth was next in line to become Queen, and sixteen years later, she ascended to the throne.

  • Queen Elizabeth II was the only head of state to serve during the Second World War. At the age of eighteen she worked as a mechanic for the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service.

  • Elizabeth received an honorary award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) for her role in a short film created for the 2012 Summer Olympic opening ceremonies in London. In the film, Elizabeth plays herself alongside Daniel Craig, who takes on the role of James Bond. Elizabeth (definitely not a stunt double…) even skydives out of a helicopter in this action packed scene!

  • It is a well-known fact that Queen Elizabeth was fond of corgis. In fact, she had over 30 of them during her reign. This New York Times article reports that the royal pups will remain in the family.

Here are a few of the resources on Queen Elizabeth II you can find at Falvey!


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a graduate student in the English Department at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.


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Cat in the Stax: What are you listening 2?

By Ethan Shea

"Woman Listening to Music and Reading"

Nearly a year ago I wrote a “Cat in the Stax” blog titled “What are you listening to?”. At the risk of recycling old ideas one too many times, I’ve decided to bring the topic back for a “What are you listening 2?” if you will. 

This blog is especially fit for this week because nothing pairs with music like dance, and in a matter of days, Villanova will be welcoming a highly acclaimed dance company to our campus. Specifically, on Tuesday, September 13, the Liz Roche Company will put on the first professional dance performance in the John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts. 

"Liz Roche Company"

Photo Credit: José Miguel Jiménez

This performance, titled “Yes and Yes” celebrates the centennial of James Joyce’s Ulysses. The performance will lead the audience through the eighteen episodes of Ulysses, which are based upon Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey.  You can learn more about Joyce’s Ulysses from this blog. 

On another tangentially related note, at the beginning of the year, it’s important to get acquainted with Falvey’s subject guides, so I recommend any and all audiophiles check out the guide dedicated to music. Here, you’ll find contact information for Falvey’s Subject Librarian, Robert LeBlanc, our First-Year Experience and Music Liaison Librarian. Especially if you’re interested in researching music in a more academic sense, Falvey has your back. 

However, at its core, this blog isn’t exactly academic. It’s a brief reflection on the music I’ve been enjoying lately, so without further delay, here are a few recently released albums I’ve been listening to! Don’t be shy, and share your favorite 2022 releases in the comments below!

"Gemini Rights"Gemini Rights – Steve Lacy 

Alternative R&B and pop artist Steve Lacy is a multi-talented musician who got his start as a high schooler by producing viral hits on his iPhone. This sophomore solo album from Lacy is indicative of his eclectic taste. From the latin influence that drives the song “Mercury,” to the lovable, boyish hit “Bad Habit,” Lacy has a little bit of something for everyone. A personal highlight is the song “Amber,” which delivers Lacy’s storytelling skills over a charming piano medley. A crescendo occurs throughout the entirety of the track, culminating in a wailing guitar solo that cries in unison with Lacy’s falsetto ad-libs, perfectly encapsulating the regret this song portrays.

RENAISSANCE – Beyoncé "RENAISSANCE"

I don’t think anyone saw this stylistic shift coming, but per usual, Beyoncé delivered with her latest release “RENAISSANCE.” Almost every song has an irresistible groove, and the transitions from track to track are incredibly smooth, so the party never stops during the album’s 62-minute runtime. In addition to the record’s electronic and funk influences, Beyoncé’s vocal performances, especially on the song “PLASTIC OFF THE SOFA” are top-notch. In spite of what might seem like a chaotic groove, you can tell this album was meticulously crafted, and each vocal inflection is calculated. If you’re looking for music to play at the gym or something to give you an energy boost in the middle of a long work day, I recommend giving this album a listen!

"Upstate"Upstate – Almeda 

I’d like to introduce everyone to Almeda, a band formed five years ago by a group who were undergraduates at Georgetown University at the time. Since then, the band’s members have gone their separate ways, but the music they recorded during their time together has been thoroughly mixed and mastered over the past few years. It wasn’t until recently that Almeda’s debut album, “Upstate,” was finally released after five years in the making. This R&B rock band features Adaeze Eze, an incredibly talented vocalist with a silky voice that glides over a range of catchy tunes. Danny O’Brien is both a guitarist and keyboard player for the band, and Dan Sheehan is featured on the drums.

One of my favorite songs, “Artificial Wings,” is one of the project’s jazzier cuts. It features a groovy bassline performed by bassist Nick Quirk and an impressive tempo change that highlights the band’s ability to perform complex rhythms in unison. If you’re into alternative rock and R&B, or even if you’re a fan of cover music (this album features a jazzy cover of Kendrick Lamar’s hit “Swimming Pools”), check this record out!


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a graduate student in the English Department at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library


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Cat in the Stax: Sometimes we all need a little space…

By Ethan Shea

"NASA Moon Rocket"

(Photo courtesy of CNN & AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

On Monday, Aug. 29, NASA was scheduled to launch the unmanned spacecraft Artemis I. The goal of this Artemis mission is essentially to rehearse and ensure the safety of future missions, including Artemis II and III, the latter of which is scheduled for 2025 and intends to land the first woman on the moon.

"Artemis I Mission Patch"

Artemis I Mission Patch (Photo Courtesy of NASA)

At liftoff, Artemis I will weigh 5.75 million pounds and generate 8.8 million pounds of thrust to launch itself 500 feet directly upward in only seven seconds. After traveling 1.3 million miles, out past the Moon and back to Earth, Artemis I will re-enter Earth’s atmosphere at higher speeds than ever before, 24,500 miles per hour (Mach 32), and eventually splash down safely.

Unfortunately, Monday’s launch was scrubbed due to engine issues and unfavorable weather, but to make up for the lack of anticipated celestial expeditions, this week’s “Cat in the Stax” will point to some stellar resources here at Falvey because sometimes we all need a little space.

For one, Falvey has a robust collection of films, available on DVD and online, related to space exploration. You may want to watch something fictional, such as Gravity or 2001: A Space Odyssey, both available on DVD at Falvey’s West Stacks, or you may prefer something like Apollo 13, a documentary about the “successfully failed” Apollo 13 mission, which did not accomplish its goal but managed to bring its crew back to Earth unharmed despite all odds.

"The Telescopic Tourist's Guide to the Moon"Of course, there are also plenty of books on space available too. If you have access to a telescope, you should check out The Telescopic Tourist’s Guide to the Moon. It’s just like any other tour guide, except it’s designed for another celestial body. This book will guide stargazers through famous locations on the moon, such as where the Apollo missions landed and where well-known movie scenes take place.

If you lean more in the direction of science-fiction, space is a common setting for such literature. One such novel, Duneis currently available in Falvey’s stacks, and it was also recently adapted into a film for the second time. Although this new movie has not yet arrived at Falvey, the original film, released in 1986, is available as a DVD in the stacks.

As of now, there is still a chance that Artemis I will launch on Friday, Sept. 2, but it is not guaranteed. I guess this blog will have to satisfy our astronomical cravings for now.

If you’d like to learn more about the specifics of Artemis I and the planned missions of the Artemis Program, check out NASA’s website here.


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a graduate student in the English Department at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.


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Cat in the Stax: Summer Reading Recap

By Ethan Shea

Person reading book on beach

The cat is back! After a nearly four-month hiatus, I’m excited to return to Falvey’s stacks for another year.

I’m currently mourning the end of a recent beach vacation, so I’m yearning for scenes similar to the photo above more than ever right now. That being said, in part because I don’t want to accept the fact that our break is over, I’ve decided to begin the semester with a brief recap of a few books I read this summer…

"The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo"The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid

I always find myself reading a lot of classic literature, both because I enjoy it and feel like I’m obligated to as an English student. However, this usually leaves me out of the loop of the best contemporary authors simply because I don’t read the latest novels. Thanks to the recommendation of my roommate, who is a much more avid consumer of recently published novels than I am, I decided to read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, something I otherwise would not have gravitated towards on my own. This decision is certainly one I don’t regret.

The story of Evelyn Hugo is told through an interview with Monique Grant, an upcoming journalist who is surprised to learn that she scored an exclusive interview with someone as famous as Evelyn. As the story progresses, readers learn that Evelyn’s story is more closely tied to Monique’s than expected, but the reason why Evelyn chose Monique to tell her life story is something no one expects.

By far the most captivating sequences of the story are the descriptions of Evelyn’s life as a rising movie star and scandalous marriages to seven different men. Luckily, these sections make up a majority of the novel, and they all search for an answer to the question, “Who is the love of Evelyn’s life?”

The author of this novel, Taylor Jenkins Reid, is also the author of several other incredibly popular books such as Daisy Jones and the Six and Malibu Rising.

"A Room with a ViewA Room with a View – E.M. Forster

I returned to my old ways with E.M. Forster’s classic novel A Room with a View. Having been published in 1908, this text takes place in the refined and restrained early 20th century Edwardian Era in England. However, much of the novel takes place during a trip to Italy, making it a great vacation read.

Baedeker in hand, Lucy Honeychurch leaves England to explore Italian art and culture. Before long, she develops complicated and unnerving feelings for a young man named George Emerson, who is of a different upbringing than herself. Throughout the novel, Lucy grapples with her feelings for George and is forced to confront them with greater stakes upon her return home.

I enjoyed this story’s descriptions of scenic destinations in Italy. It made for an entertaining summer read that encouraged me to travel and take on new experiences. I’m just glad I don’t have to deal with spontaneous marriage proposals and keeping up with laborious etiquette during my travels like Lucy does.

"Young Eliot"Young Eliot: From St. Louis to “The Waste Land” – Robert Crawford

This incredible piece of scholarship by Robert Crawford was endlessly informative, and I had a wonderful time reading it, but I will definitely add a disclaimer to it. The book may be a bit too academic for a casual read, so if you’re not a nerd for modernist literature like myself, I’d exercise caution before attempting to conquer this text.

If you do want to learn anything and everything about Thomas Stearns Eliot, this book is for you. One of Crawford’s goals in writing this text was to fill a knowledge gap that has plagued Eliot scholars for years. The main issue is that there is much more material on T.S. Eliot from after 1922 when he published The Waste Land than there is from before. Once this canonical poem launched Eliot to literary stardom, publishers were much more willing to publish his work, leading to there being a lot more material on Eliot after 1922.

Crawford endeavors to overcome this hurdle by providing an in-depth analysis of Eliot’s life from his birth in St. Louis, Mo., until the publication of The Waste Land. Perhaps the most helpful part of this book is the plethora of material Crawford provides that Eliot himself read early in life. Eliot is known as one of the most educated and well-read poets of his time, so for someone interested in studying the texts that made Eliot who he is, this biography is a goldmine.

Thanks to Michael Foight, the Director of Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement, it has also been brought to my attention that the second part of this wonderful biography, Eliot After “The Waste Land,” was recently published. Although I can’t say I’ve read it myself, if it’s anything like its predecessor, it’s certainly worth checking out!


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a graduate student in the English Department at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.


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Photo Friday: Artist Yunuen Cho

Image of artist Yunuen Cho sitting in front of three of her works of art.

Photo courtesy of Yunuen Cho.


Thank you to Artist Yunuen Cho, who featured Falvey Memorial Library’s blog “Cat in the Stax: Appreciating Hispanic Visual Arts,” on her Instagram and website. The blog, published on Sept. 15, 2021, by Ethan Shea, graduate assistant at Falvey Memorial Library, highlighted two of Cho’s paintings, “Food City” and “Cow Community” (both pictured above). To learn more about Cho’s work and to explore more Hispanic visual artists, check out Shea’s blog here.


Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 


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The Final Hurrah: Reflections from a GA

By Jenna Renaud

My two years at Falvey Memorial Library and Villanova have officially come to a close. At the close of last semester, I wrote a similar post reflecting on the changes that Fall 2021 brought; however, now I am faced with a much more daunting task—reflect on the entirety of my GA experience.

tolkien books on map

Jenna’s personal Tolkien collection for celebrating National Hobbit Day

Thinking back to my first day at the Library, I’m struck by how different it is from the end in almost every way. My first day, I came down to almost an entirely empty office. I spent the semester in office only two days a week. My first semester was filled with time spent in the stacks helping Access Services and writing Cat in the Stax each week, discovering my voice and role in the Library. The post that stands out the most from that time was one of my first, talking about how to celebrate National Hobbit Day through Falvey’s collection. This was during a time where the majority of my inspiration came from items laying around my home office—including my husband’s new collection of Tolkien books.

Second semester, I focused on finding new ways to connect with the Villanova community and started the Read with the (Other) Jenna book club. Although short-lived, it was fun to dig deeper into books including Angela’s Ashes and Aftershock. Despite not being in-office with the team, our Zoom meetings were definitely a highlight of every week, discussing everything from Mosaic to upcoming events to the pros and cons of scrapple (don’t ask!).

GAs Jenna & Ethan outside of Falvey

GAs Jenna & Ethan at the Finals Stress Buster event

With the kick-off of the 2021-22 academic year came student workers, another GA, and the return of office work. It was definitely a transition going into the office four days a week, but it was a much needed change of pace. Passing off Cat in the Stax to Ethan, I looked for new recurring blogs to take on, settling on Peek at the Weeks and Weekend Recs. In addition to having another GA to collaborate with, we had student workers in the office again! Kelly showed Ethan and I the ropes for poster deliveries (something I had yet to experience) and Anna and I collaborated on what is to this day my favorite Weekend Recs following the drop of Taylor Swift’s Red (Taylor’s Version) album. The semester flew by and was such a fun experience, getting into the swing of how things were pre-pandemic.

And with that, it was my final semester! Ethan and I had the opportunity to attend more Villanova Theatre performances, including their most recent production, Curtains, which you can read more about here. In addition, Ethan and I took on a new project introducing In Case You Missed Ita YouTube series where each month we broke down the top stories based on social media data. Our Wordle episode was probably my favorite, along with all of the bloopers when we forgot how to talk. The spring semester also brought more in-person events, including one with Lit Fest author Camille Dungy, where I was the point person. My final event of the semester was our baseball-themed stress buster, with everything from soft pretzels to Bundt cakes (Get it? Bunting? Like in baseball?).

Maybe the past two years haven’t been “traditional,” but I wouldn’t change anything! Big thanks to Joanne, Shawn, Kallie, Gina and Ethan for being the best team and taking my graduate student experience to the next level. 168 blog posts later—I’m out!

This isn’t good-bye, it’s just see you later (I definitely need to come back for updated Falvey swag)!


Jenna Renaud is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department.


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Cat in the Stax: Spring 2022 Semester Rewind

By Ethan Shea

"Casette"

For this final ‘Cat in the Stax’ of the semester, I thought it would be fun to replicate the way I ended our winter semester, with some highlights of the blog from the past few months.

Altogether, there were a total of sixteen Cat in the Stax blogs published this semester (counting this one). Out of all of them, it’s hard to choose just a few standouts, but I’ll give it a shot…

"Red Fox"

To begin, one of my favorite blogs to write was actually last week’s piece on our local wildlife. I enjoyed researching the names of birds I see so often but never could identify. Besides, I’ll always take an opportunity to talk about foxes, one of my favorite animals.Wordle

I also had a blast writing “The Benefits of Wordle,” a blog about everyone’s favorite pastime. Wordle has become a part of my daily routine over the past few months, and I know I’m not the only one who has become addicted to this game. Learning that some are advocating for Wordle to be used in the classroom was fascinating and made me feel a bit better about spending so much time contemplating my guesses.

Tracing the Easter Bunny’s roots back to Pennsylvania was a lot of fun too.  This blog coupled with the Groundhog Day piece that was published not too long before Easter showed me just how important small, furry mammals are in Pennsylvania. Out of every Cat in the Stax of the semester, these animals were integral to at least three of them, but maybe that says more about me than it does about our state.

"Curtains Poster"Lastly, I was excited when the ‘Cat in the Stax’ that highlighted Villanova Theatre’s production of Curtains: A Musical Whodunnit was featured on The Yawp: Villanova’s Graduate English Program Blog. You can check out that blog here. I was happy to receive the shoutout, and looking through the past productions that led to Curtains was fun too!

Aside from this semester’s Cat in the Stax blogs, I’d like to bring attention to the return of The Curious Cat blogs this semester, which wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Elijah McDow and the willing participants we always find here at Falvey. Both will be back before long!

Anyways, I’m looking forward to summer vacation and my return to Falvey’s stacks in the fall! Enjoy your well-deserved break, and I’ll see you next semester!


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year graduate student in the English Department and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.

 


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Cat in the Stax: Our Local Wildlife

By Ethan Shea

"Eastern Bluebird"

An Eastern Bluebird perched on a small branch

For this penultimate Cat in the Stax of the academic year, I’d like to take your mind off finals for a brief moment and encourage you to think of something much more relaxing…the great outdoors. Now that the weather is warming up, not only more people, but an increasing number of wildlife can be seen roaming about too. As birds return from their winter vacations, our mornings are full of song and beautifully painted feathers. Not to mention the increased presence of our favorite furry mammals!

Over the past few months, I’ve become a bit of an amateur birdwatcher during my morning runs. Almost every day, I run through Norristown Farm Park, which is about a twenty-minute drive from campus if you’d like to visit yourself. I’ve loved watching different birds migrate through the park recently, and some of my favorites are Eastern Bluebirds, Barn Swallows, and either Downy or Hairy Woodpeckers (I can never tell them apart). I even see some larger birds on occasion, such as the Great Blue Heron and Bald Eagle.

"Red Fox"

A Red Fox stands beside a tree trunk

Regarding the flightless inhabitants of the park, my absolute favorite animal to run into is the Red Fox. I’ve been lucky enough to get pretty close to a few because thankfully, they’re not aggressive. When a fox has to choose between fight or flight, it’s almost always going to choose flight. That being said, they’re still wild animals and should be treated as such.

There are also plenty of White-Tailed Deer and groundhogs around. In fact, this morning I must have scared a groundhog while running through the woods. I watched it scurry away then climb straight up a tree! I’ve always thought groundhogs stayed on…well, the ground, but I learned something new today.

If you’re interested in learning more about our local wildlife, Falvey Library is the place to be! For example, this book by Gerald M. McWilliams, titled The Birds of Pennsylvania, has everything you need to know about birding in our state.

To explore nature for yourself, you need not go much further than our campus. In addition to the scenic walks around our own Villanova neighborhood, just down the road, Haverford College has a great nature trail that is open to the public. I also recommend checking out the Schuylkill River Trail, which currently has about 75 miles of completed trail in different sections. There should be more than enough places to visit along that path!

If you can, try to take some time between exams to relax and enjoy the nature we’re fortunate to be surrounded by. Good luck on finals, Wildcats!


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year graduate student in the English Department and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


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Cat in the Stax: All About Boston

By Ethan Shea

"Boston Marathon Start Sign"

Photo by Sports Illustrated.

Just a couple days ago, on Monday, April 18, the 126th Boston Marathon took over the streets of Massachusetts. This year marked the 50th anniversary of the first official women’s field, when only eight women raced the prestigious marathon. On Monday, over 12,000 women took on the journey from Hopkinton to Boylston Street.

The 126th installment of the Boston Marathon was one of the most exciting in the race’s history, as the leading women, Peres Jepchirchir and Ababel Yeshaneh, went back and forth for the last couple miles until Jepchirchir pulled away to win by just four seconds.

In the men’s field, Evans Chebet earned a decisive victory, finishing in two hours, six minutes, and 51 seconds, only 30 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.

For a complete list of results, check out the official Boston Athletic Association’s website here!

Meb Keflezighi WIns 2014 Boston Marathon

Meb Keflezighi wins the Boston Marathon. Photo by CBS.

There’s so much to be said about Boston and marathon racing in general that someone could fill a book, and luckily for us, many people have. For example, one of the most decorated American marathoners, Meb Keflezighi, is the author of two books, most recently, 26 Marathons, his account of every marathon he’s raced.

Meb Keflezighi famously won the Boston Marathon in 2014, only a year after the bombing. Meb was the first American to win the race in 31 years, and no American has won since. Keflezighi retired from running just three years later.

If you’d like to run Boston yourself, check out Jeff Galloway’s book, Boston Marathon: How to Qualify! It’s full of training plans and advice to help you run your fastest marathon. Galloway’s training methods are beloved by many due to their accessibility. His walk-run method and emphasis on rest days is designed to guide even novice runners to the finish line injury-free.


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year graduate student in the English Department and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.


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Cat in the Stax: The Easter Bunny’s Pennsylvanian Roots

By Ethan Shea

""

Did you know the Easter Bunny has Pennsylvanian roots? As those who celebrate prepare for Easter, here in Pennsylvania, we can rest assured that the Easter Bunny won’t forget to leave plenty of eggs.

According to TIME Magazine, “the Easter Bunny first arrived in America in the 1700s with German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare.”

The Free Library of Philadelphia backs up this claim and expands upon it here: “Georg Franck von Frankenau first wrote about the Alsatian tradition of a Hare bringing Easter eggs in his De ovis paschalibus or About Easter Eggs in 1682, but it was the Pennsylvania Dutch who brought the tradition of the Easter Hare or Oschter Haws to Pennsylvania.”

When it comes to holidays involving small mammals, Pennsylvania reigns supreme. Name another state that both the Easter Bunny and the immortal Punxsutawney Phil can call home! All we need now is a state bat for International Bat Appreciation Day on April 17. If you have any ideas for names, I’d love to see them in the comments!

I know I’m looking forward to a home-cooked meal with my family. Regardless of whether you celebrate Easter, I hope you enjoy a well-deserved break!


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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Last Modified: April 13, 2022