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Studying Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and Anxiety: Meet Erica Ferrara, 2019 Falvey Scholar

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

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

BY SHAWN PROCTOR

This is part 5 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:

Erica Ferrara ’19 CLAS (Psychology and Honors major with a Political Science minor)

Hometown: New Rochelle, N.Y.

Faculty Mentor: Deena Weisberg, PhD, Assistant Professor Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Research: Test Anxiety in Elementary School Students in Relation to Standardized Testing

 

In her own words:

Erica’s Research:

I began my research process in the Honors Program Senior Thesis course by committing to the topic of test anxiety in grade school students and enlisting mentors for the project—Dr. Deena Weisberg and Dr. Steven Krauss.

My overall goal was to conduct a comprehensive literature review about the topic, and then to use the information to design my own ideal intervention for combating test anxiety experienced by elementary school students, as well as lay out a proposed study for evaluating this intervention’s efficacy. For the fall, I decided to focus on the literature review, and for the spring I planned to work on my novel intervention proposal.

Falvey Memorial Library’s website provided me with all of the background research articles I needed to download and begin writing as the core basis of my project. My full rough draft for the Fall semester included three main sections: anxiety in general and test anxiety specifically, standardized testing, and previously attempted prevention and intervention methods for test anxiety.Erica Ferrara

For the spring semester, I utilized this literature review as a basis in designing my own original novel intervention to assist elementary school students struggling with symptoms of test anxiety in relation to standardized testing.

My final written draft of my literature review and my own proposal for an intervention combined spans over 80 pages!

 

Erica’s “Falvey Experience”:

Through Falvey Memorial Library I had access to many research articles concerning my selected topic. With such a large online selection, I was able to find all of the information that I needed to become informed about my topic, write a comprehensive literature review, and then form my own thoughts into a novel intervention combining the effective aspects of prior ones I read of in empirical articles.

Many of the articles I included require outside subscriptions if I did not have the Falvey website to work through. In a few cases, I utilized the Interlibrary Loan system set up through our library as well. I genuinely do not know how I would have gathered the sources I needed without the Library’s online system.

In addition, the Library consistently provided a conducive environment in which I was able to complete my work. The 24-hour section of Old Falvey was especially convenient for later nights. Knowing that I always had a quiet place to go to where everyone around me was working hard as well was quite comforting and motivating.

 

The Impact on Her:

This Honors Thesis was the first time I have committed to such a comprehensive task that was largely my own independent research. From this experience, I have learned many valuable research skills that I know I will carry into my future academic work.

I gained the independence and confidence to make my own decisions to truly make this project my own from this freedom and support.

 

What’s Next:

Next year, I will enroll in a psychology clinical research methods master’s program with the ultimate goal of continuing my schooling to eventually earn a doctorate in child clinical psychology.

I aim to become a practitioner as well as to conduct research concerning the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of anxiety and related disorders in young children, in a sense continuing the work that I have started through this thesis project. I aim to contribute to addressing this important problem that is currently growing even more in prevalence in society today.


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


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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.

 


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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.


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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.


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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.


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Falvey Scholar Award Winners: Honoring Rising Research Stars

We are proud to announce that the following students have been selected as our 2019 Falvey Scholar award winners: Jubilee Marshall, Matthew Fagerstrom, Erica Ferrara, Erin Donnelly, Elizabeth O’Brien, and Ritesh Karsalia.

Each winning student will give a short presentation about the content and findings of the research involved in the writing of their thesis or creation of their project report at an event on Friday, April 26, 9:15–11 a.m., in room 205 of Falvey Memorial Library. This event is free and open to the public.

Find the schedule of presentations here.

Falvey Scholars, a collaborative initiative of the Library and the Center for Research and Fellowships, is an annual program that recognizes outstanding undergraduate research at Villanova University. Winners of the Falvey Scholar award are selected from a pool of candidates submitted by a senior Villanova University student or a group of students working on a senior project together with the recommendation of the advisor to the senior thesis or capstone project completed for academic credit.

Falvey Scholars is one of the keynote events of the annual Villanova Spring Research Exposition, a week-long series of events that celebrates the scholarly achievements of Villanova’s researchers and showcases a year’s worth of innovation and creativity.

Digital copies of the winning papers are maintained in Falvey’s Digital Library.


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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.

 


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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.


Website photo 2

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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Introducing the Falvey Scholars: Stephen Purcell

Stephen Purcell comes to Villanova from the Fox Chase neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He attended Holy Ghost Preparatory School in Bensalem. He credits Professors Paul Danove, Alice Dailey and Mark Wilson for nurturing his continued dedication to learning and academics. I recently had the chance to sit and chat with Purcell. Our conversation covered Paradise Lost, the history of ideas, and Purcell’s plans for the future. You will find excerpts of it below.

Purcell lectures at the Falvey Scholar event.

Purcell lectures at the Falvey Scholars event.

William Repetto: What’s your major? Can you tell me more about your project?

Stephen Purcell: I’m an honors English major and, in this project, I am looking at Milton’s Paradise Lost. I’m contextualizing it through the history of ideas, so I’m looking at the ways that language and representation change in the 17th-century when Milton is writing Paradise Lost. I kind of use that to understand how he is dividing before and after the fall.

WR: The history of ideas sounds like a challenging concept to tackle. Can you talk about how you’re going to handle that?

SP: Most basically, before the 17th-century, we felt like we could trust language. We saw it as something that was part of the world. So, for example, we didn’t just decided that this was a table, it literally was a table. In the 17th-century we lost faith in that. We lose faith in the fact that nature is something that we can intuitively understand. When we lose that, we feel we lose a theological connection with God. So when Milton writes Paradise Lost, he uses the fall of humanity as the reason for our distrust of language and the severed or changed relationship with God that we get out of it.

WR: When did you first know that this intensely literary work was what you wanted to do in college?

SP: I liked English since high school when it really got into talking about how texts work, how stories work. That really captured my imagination, and that really told me that I want to be an English major. My interests other than that have been shaped by my interest in stories and how they work culturally.

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

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

WR: Has the library been instrumental in shaping your work? How has becoming a Falvey Scholar helped you?

SP: I’m really proud of the research that I’ve done and the work I put into the thesis. It’s almost certainly going to be my writing sample when I apply to grad school, so it means a lot to me for it to be recognized in this formal way that let’s me show that the library has been helpful for me as a place to think. I make a lot of connections just being in the physical space of the library.

WR: Is the Falvey Memorial Library the first big library community you have been a part of?

SP: When I was really little, I spent a lot of time at the local library, but I think it was high school and college when I rediscovered how much I like reading and working with texts and stories and ideas… Coming to Villanova and getting to work at Falvey has really complemented and aided my intellectual growth.

WR: Now that your time at Villanova is coming to an end, what do you have planned for the future?

SP: I want to be an English professor. Immediately after college, I’m going to spend a year teaching in France as a way to build up my language skills and get some more language experience. This summer I’m going to start working on my graduate school applications and hopefully send them out while I’m in France, so I can come back to a grad program.


 

photograph of william RepettoWilliam Repetto is 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 and Alice Bampton, Communication and Marketing Dept.

 


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Introducing the Falvey Scholars: Emma Max

A New Jersey native, Emma Max came to Villanova to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the College of Nursing. It runs in her blood; “My mother is a cardiology nurse practitioner,” she told me in a recent conversation. She credits Meredith MacKenzie, PhD, RN, ANP-BC, CNE, of the College of Nursing with helping her make the best of these opportunities. We had the chance to talk about 21st century nursing perspectives, her future plans, and even relationships as well. See excerpts of the conversation below.

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

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

William Repetto: Tell me about your project.

Emma Max: My project is “Just in KASE,” which is evaluating nursing students’ knowledge, attitudes, and self-efficacy towards caring for a dying patient… It was a quantitative study and a comparative study.

WR: What makes this work important in the 21st century?

EM: We have a dearth of information in regard to end of life care. We have hospice and palliative nursing; we have hospice and palliative care physicians, and that’s all well and good, but as nursing students, we aren’t getting very much education in it. The two facts of life are that everybody is born and everybody dies. We got the first part covered; we still have issues, but it’s the end of life. As a western society, we don’t like to poke and prod at that. It’s uncomfortable for a lot of people – understandably so.

WR: What’s your favorite part of this work?

EM: I love writing. If I wasn’t a nursing major, I would have gone into English, but I definitely think that the results were the most interesting and the most aggravating part because we’d sit there and they would come in a slow trickle and then a wave would come in every time we sent an email.

Max lectures at the Falvey Scholar event.

Max lectures at the Falvey Scholars event.

WR: What attracted you to Villanova to do this kind of work?

EM: The nursing school, they start pretty early. Most places don’t start you until junior year, but we hit the ground running. I think my first or second semester was intro to nursing, and it was everything: Where do nurses come from? Why do we do what we do? What do the letters after your name mean?

WR: Has the Falvey been instrumental in your Villanova experience?

EM: I spend a lot of time here in the Falvey. My boyfriend and I started going out my sophomore year, and we used to spend all our time together in Falvey. I mean first floor, sitting there, club 24, we would be sitting in the 24-hour lounge, whether it was goofing off or actually doing homework. This library is where my relationship started, so obviously it has a place in my heart. I still spend a lot of time here, especially now that they redid Old Falvey.

WR: What are your plans after graduation? Will you continue researching or go directly to work?

EM: There are these things called nurse residency programs, much like physicians go through their residency programs… It’s in Christiana Care Hospital down in Delaware. It’s a huge academic hospital, which is lovely. I’m in their critical care nursing residency program. It’s awesome; it’s 11 people and me. I do that for about six months, and then I work there for two years, and then I see where life takes me.


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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 and Alice Bampton, Communication and Marketing Dept.

 


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Last Modified: May 16, 2017