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Examining One of Our Most Vital Resources: Meet Josephine Papotto, 2020 Falvey Scholar

By Shawn Proctor
This is part 4 of a 6-part series featuring the 2020 Falvey Scholars. Read more about them on the blog and in the upcoming issue of Mosaic, the library’s bi-annual publication.

Villanova “Wild Facts”

Josephine Papotto ’20 (Environmental Science, Geography)

Hometown: Moorestown, N.J.

Additional Honors: Rachel Carson Medallion for Academic Excellence in Environmental Science, Phi Beta Kappa

Project Title: “Temporal Variability and Spatial Controls on Sediment Chemistry in Three Puerto Rico Watersheds”

Mentor: Steven Goldsmith, PhD, Associate Professor

In Her Own Words

Her Research:

My research looked at how heavy metals can accumulate in small mountainous river systems in Puerto Rico and how surrounding land use and geology can affect metal concentrations, in terms of which metals are present and to what extent by analyzing two sets of riverbed sediment samples taken from three watersheds in Puerto Rico.
I found that metals can accumulate, and that land use can affect metal concentrations, but that geologic signatures can overpower relationships with land use.

Falvey’s Impact on Her Work:

During my freshman year I went to a demonstration/class led by a member of Falvey’s library staff on how to conduct online research and use Falvey’s online databases effectively and correctly. The skills I took from that lecture influenced the rest of my education at Villanova and greatly facilitated all of the online research I had to conduct for regular classwork and for my senior thesis research. It taught me how to streamline my searching and quickly find the resources that would be most helpful to me.

The Impact on Her:

I spent the first semester of my thesis work doing a literature review and background study of my topic, and Falvey’s online resources and databases were instrumental to that critical part of my research process. They helped me find and access all of the scientific articles I needed to create the foundation of my project. I could either search broadly about my topic and find relevant information, or search for specific articles I needed and find/access them instantly. Additionally, Falvey Library as a physical place always motivated me and helped me focus to complete the online research and reading, data analysis, and writing that I had to do for my project.

What’s Next:

I’m not exactly sure what comes next. I had been lined up for final interviews for two jobs that I was really excited about before Coronavirus hit, but they unfortunately had to be cancelled/postponed. I think I eventually want to go to either grad school for an MS or law school, but I don’t know exactly what direction I want to take my career in yet, so I’m using this time to figure that out!



Last Modified: July 7, 2020

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