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Introducing the Falvey Scholars: Anna Briker

Anna Briker comes to Villanova from nearby Abington, Pennsylvania. Speaking of her time in school growing up, Briker reflected, “I really liked to read; I don’t know what else to say other than I really, really liked to read. I had a lot of really great teachers.” She credits  Aimee Eggler, PhD, assistant professor, Biochemistry Program, here at Villanova for her ability to participate in the Falvey Scholars program. Anna said, “The support of my mentor was really important, and I just appreciated her taking me in and teaching me, and now I’m excited that I get to present and am graduating,” in a recent conversation, which you will find excerpted below.

Briker lectures at the Falvey Scholar event.

Briker lectures at the Falvey Scholars event.

William Repetto: You’re a biochemistry major, and I’m an English major. Can you explain your projects to me in terms that I would understand?

Anna Briker: There are genes in our bodies that produce proteins that can protect us against all sorts of stress, and they are detoxifying, which is a big buzzword now. They can really help prevent disease. We’re studying a protein that activates a system, a protein that is naturally able to take advantage of the detoxifying proteins in our body and activate them. We’re really interested in how the foods that we eat are able to play into this system as well.

WR: And what is the methodology for this kind of work?

AB: We use cells that we grow in the lab and have different experiments. There’s one called a Western Blot. We can also measure the activation of the genes through a cool system that produces light in the same way as a firefly.

WR: You sound really enthusiastic about your work in the lab. Was that your favorite part of the project?

I like to be in lab and be doing things, like pipetting, because it’s really satisfying when you finish something after you’ve physically completed it. I also like, once we have the data, to kind of pull it together into a story, but that’s really difficult.

Briker poses with her certificate for being a Falvey Scholar.

Briker poses with her certificate for being a Falvey Scholar.

WR: Did Falvey play any kind of important role in your work?

AB: Obviously we generate a lot of our own data, so the research data that I’ll be presenting is stuff we have for ourselves, but to understand it, we have to put it in context with what other researchers are doing across the country and sometimes across the world. The library resources played a really big role in allowing access to databases and articles. I think we have over 100 articles as references for this one project.

WR: With all the hands on work and reading, this project must have taken up a lot of your time. Do you find the space for any extracurricular activities?

AB: Growing up, I did ballet, and that was my main extracurricular because I was really involved in it. I was involved in Villanova Student Theatre, but I have since retired. I’m really involved in the Service Learning Community, which is for sophomores, but juniors and seniors can be facilitators.

WR: So what does this all add up to you for you? What’s next after Villlanova?

AB: I’m going to medical school next year. Research definitely influenced my decision, and the interplay of research and developing relationships with people and patients and giving back to the community is something that I thought were really tied up together in the career of a physician. I’ll be going to Northwestern.

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 Alice Bampton, Communication and Marketing Dept.


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Introducing the Falvey Scholars: Kathleen Boyce

Kathleen Boyce comes to Villanova from New Hope, Pennsylvania. She’s a recipient of the St. Catherine of Siena Peace and Justice Research Award. She hopes to attend graduate school in the future, with Princeton University as her first choice. “That’s the dream,” she told me in a recent conversation. You’ll find excerpts from the rest of the conversation below, where we covered her Falvey Scholars project, her other activities on campus, and the role the library has played for her.

Kathleen Boyce lectures at the Falvey Scholar Event.

Kathleen Boyce lectures at the Falvey Scholars Event.

William Repetto: Can you tell me about the project you were nominated for? And what are your majors?

Kathleen Boyce: My project is on the 1936 Berlin Olympics; I am looking at the Olympics from the perspective of the United States boycott movement in the context of US racism at the time. It’s entitled “America’s Youth Go to Nazi Germany: The Movement to Boycott the 1936 Berlin Olympics and the Racial Divide in American Society.” I’m a double major in history and peace and justice studies.

WR: And what did you end up finding out about the United States’ perspective?

KB: I ended up shifting my focus as I began looking in the sources more, and I began seeing how huge this boycott debate was and the way in which US racism was used throughout the debate ­– and the irony of the US saying, “we’re going to boycott the 1936 Olympics because the Nazis are racist,” when in 1936, in Jim Crowe America, a lot of the athletes were experiencing racism at that time.

WR: That sounds like a project that incorporated elements from both of your majors.

KB: It’s definitely interdisciplinary. It was my senior thesis for my history class, but it definitely incorporates issues of racism and social justice and social justice, and I really explore this idea of moral superiority ­– is the US morally superior to Nazi Germany? And how does this boycott debate show whether they are morally superior? So peace and justice is definitely a part of it.

Boyce poses for a photo as a newly inducted Falvey Scholar.

Boyce poses for a photo as a newly inducted Falvey Scholar.

WR: When did you first hear about the Falvey Scholars program? When did you know you wanted to be one?

KB: It’s been a goal of mine for a while. I guess: freshman year. I remember seeing the flyers they hang downstairs with all the topics and thinking, “I’m going to do that.”

WR: How else are you involved on campus?

KB: On campus, I really prioritize my schooling. I’m not super involved, but I am in the academic reform committee, which is a committee that was formed by Dean Lindenmeyr a few years ago to look at academic life within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and how we can improve academic life, whether through the curriculum or just through better marketing. I’ve also done some things with the admissions office; I was a tour guide over the summer when I was doing my research project, and I worked as an ambassador for a while as well.

WR: And how has the library been a part of shaping your Villanova experience?

KB: I do everything here. I live in the library. I’ve been here since 8am this morning, and I’ll be here a long time tonight. I do everything in this library; I was here all summer. Being in the library is my favorite place to be. I love being surrounded by all the books and just walking around the books when I need help. I start every project by going to the Falvey website, and I just look up my topic and see what books we have in the library.

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




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

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Congratulations to Falvey Scholars!

Congratulations to the following Falvey Scholars chosen from among several worthy College of Nursing candidates!  And congratulations to their faculty mentors!

Katie Kline on “What to Know About Home Genetic-Test Kits.” Mentor: Dr. Theresa Capriotti, DO, MSN, RN, CRNP

Katie investigated the growing use of these kits, which can be purchased at local pharmacies as well as online.  The producers of the kits claim that by sending them a DNA sample (taken from saliva or the inside of the cheek) individuals can receive a report on ancestry/paternity, drug reactions, and susceptibility to genetic diseases. However, the results raise more questions than they answer, and the reliability and confidentiality of the testing are also in doubt.

Elizabeth Long on “Nurses’ Perceptions of Human Trafficking in an Urban Emergency Department: A Qualitative Study.” Mentor: Dr. Elizabeth B. Dowdell, RN, PhD, FAAN

Elizabeth interviewed a small sample of ED nurses at a major teaching hospital in Philadelphia to find out their perceptions of patients who present with injuries and who may possibly be victims of domestic violence or human trafficking.  She found that while ED nurses are very aware of the existence of human trafficking in the region, most do not recognize trafficked patients as such when they come for emergency treatment.


Best wishes to our CON students who will be taking exams soon, and congrats to our soon-to-be graduates!

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Last Modified: April 24, 2015