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Honors Program Senior Theses – Now Online!

By Rebecca Oviedo

Each year theses submitted by Villanova’s undergraduate Honors Program graduating class are added to the Villanova Digital Collection in Falvey’s Digital Library. This research becomes part of the permanent records of the University, kept by Villanova University Archives.

These capstone theses represent the culmination of Villanova students’ academic experience and are valuable records of the community’s scholarly output. They also capture the intellectual trends and contemporary issues that were important to students at a particular point in time.

The theses of this year’s senior class of 2020 are no different. The most current pressing issue of systemic racism is discussed across topics centered on education, voting rights, and access to birth control. Vaccines (and the anti-vaccination movement) are studied through the academic lenses of students from the Department of Biology, the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, and the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing. There are submissions in creative writing, and extensive reports on research conducted in campus labs. Several essays touch upon ethics in medicine and public health, and more than one address gender bias and depictions in sports and the media. One Wildcat hypothesized on “Quantifying Jay Wright’s Greatness.”

At the conclusion of this most unusual academic year, each and every Wildcat can be proud of their academic achievements.

 


Rebecca Oviedo is Distinctive Collections Librarian/Archivist at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 


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2020 Falvey Scholars: Lauren Garofalo and Samantha Sandler

 

Lauren Garofalo

Samantha Sandler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Falvey Memorial Library is honored to announce the 2020 Falvey Scholar award winners. Celebrating Villnaova’s Senior Week, we will be showcasing the research of seven seniors each day this week (May 11-16). An annual program, sponsored by Falvey Library and the Center for Research and Fellowships, the Falvey Scholars program recognizes outstanding undergraduate research at Villanova University. The winners of the Falvey Scholar award are selected from a pool of candidates generated by applications 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.

While we are saddened to have canceled this year’s in-person awards ceremony, the health and safety of the community in response to the global outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is paramount. As we cannot gather on campus, the 2020 Falvey Scholars have generously prepared short video presentations on their scholarship. Learn more about Falvey Scholar award winners, Lauren Garofalo and Samantha Sandler, in the clip below, and stay tuned for an in-depth profile on Garofalo and Sandler in the coming weeks.

Falvey Scholars: Lauren Garofalo and Samantha Sandler

Project Title: “Evaluation of a Snake Jaw Robot to Teach Integrated Biology, Mathematics, and Engineering”

Mentor: Dr. Deeksha Seth


Gina's headshotKallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library. Regina Duffy is Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 


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2020 Falvey Scholars: Brett Schratz

Falvey Memorial Library is honored to announce the 2020 Falvey Scholar award winners. Celebrating Villanova’s Senior Week, we will be showcasing the research of seven seniors each day this week (May 11-16). An annual program, sponsored by the Library and the Center for Research and Fellowships, the Falvey Scholars program recognizes outstanding undergraduate research at Villanova University. The winners of the Falvey Scholar award are selected from a pool of candidates generated by applications 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.

While we are saddened to have canceled this year’s in-person awards ceremony, the health and safety of the community in response to the global outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is paramount. As we cannot gather on campus, the 2020 Falvey Scholars have generously prepared short video presentations on their scholarship. Learn more about Falvey Scholar award winner, Brett Schratz, in the clip below, and stay tuned for an in-depth profile on Schratz in the coming weeks.

Falvey Scholar: Brett Schratz

Project Title: “Rawls on “The Hard Question” for LGBTQ Rights: Are Religious Exemptions Just?”

Mentor: Professor Sally Scholz, PhD


Gina's headshotKallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library. Regina Duffy is Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 


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2020 Falvey Scholars: Josephine Papotto

Falvey Memorial Library is honored to announce the 2020 Falvey Scholar award winners. Celebrating Villanova’s Senior Week, we will be showcasing the research of seven seniors each day this week (May 11-16). An annual program, sponsored by the Library and the Center for Research and Fellowships, the Falvey Scholars program recognizes outstanding undergraduate research at Villanova University. The winners of the Falvey Scholar award are selected from a pool of candidates generated by applications 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.

While we are saddened to have canceled this year’s in-person awards ceremony, the health and safety of the community in response to the global outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is paramount. As we cannot gather on campus, the 2020 Falvey Scholars have generously prepared short video presentations on their scholarship. Learn more about Falvey Scholar award winner, Josephine Papotto, in the clip below, and stay tuned for an in-depth profile on Papotto in the coming weeks.

Falvey Scholar: Josephine Papotto

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

Mentor: Associate Professor Steven Goldsmith, PhD


Gina's headshotKallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library. Regina Duffy is Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 


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2020 Falvey Scholars: Gabriella Giordano

Gabriella Giordano photo.

Falvey Memorial Library is honored to announce the 2020 Falvey Scholar award winners. Celebrating Villanova’s Senior Week, we will be showcasing the research of seven seniors each day this week (May 11-16). An annual program, sponsored by the Library and the Center for Research and Fellowships, the Falvey Scholars program recognizes outstanding undergraduate research at Villanova University. The winners of the Falvey Scholar award are selected from a pool of candidates generated by applications 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.

While we are saddened to have canceled this year’s in-person awards ceremony, the health and safety of the community in response to the global outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is paramount. As we cannot gather on campus, the 2020 Falvey Scholars have generously prepared short video presentations on their scholarship. Learn more about Falvey Scholar award winner, Gabriella Giordano, in the clip below, and stay tuned for an in-depth profile on Giordano in the coming weeks.

Falvey Scholar: Gabriella Giordano

Project Title: “Spatial analysis of heavy metals in marsh soils and ribbed mussels (Geukensia demissa) from Plum Island Estuary, MA”

Mentor: Associate Professor Nathaniel Weston, PhD


headshot picture of regina duffyKallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library. Regina Duffy is Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 


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2020 Falvey Scholars: Timothy Long

Timothy Long photo.

Falvey Memorial Library is honored to announce the 2020 Falvey Scholar award winners. Celebrating Villanova’s Senior Week, we will be showcasing the research of seven seniors each day this week (May 11-16). An annual program, sponsored by the Library and the Center for Research and Fellowships, the Falvey Scholars program recognizes outstanding undergraduate research at Villanova University. The winners of the Falvey Scholar award are selected from a pool of candidates generated by applications 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.

While we are saddened to have canceled this year’s in-person awards ceremony, the health and safety of the community in response to the global outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is paramount. As we cannot gather on campus, the 2020 Falvey Scholars have generously prepared short video presentations on their scholarship. Learn more about Falvey Scholar award winner, Timothy Long, in the clip below, and stay tuned for an in-depth profile on Long in the coming weeks.

Falvey Scholar: Timothy Long

Project Title: “Even the Mercy of the Lord Burns: Violence, Distortion, and Grace in Flannery O’Connor, Jacques Maritain, and Karl Barth”

Mentor: Assistant Professor Helena Tomko, DPhil


Gina's headshotKallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library. Regina Duffy is Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 


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2020 Falvey Scholars: Madison Puleo

Madison Puleo photo.Falvey Memorial Library is honored to announce the 2020 Falvey Scholar award winners. Celebrating Villanova’s Senior Week, we will be showcasing the research of seven seniors each day this week (May 11-16). An annual program, sponsored by the Library and the Center for Research and Fellowships, the Falvey Scholars program recognizes outstanding undergraduate research at Villanova University. The winners of the Falvey Scholar award are selected from a pool of candidates generated by applications 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.

While we are saddened to have canceled this year’s in-person awards ceremony, the health and safety of the community in response to the global outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is paramount. As we cannot gather on campus, the 2020 Falvey Scholars have generously prepared short video presentations on their scholarship. Learn more about Falvey Scholar award winner Madison Puleo in the clip below, and stay tuned for an in-depth profile on Puleo in the coming weeks.

Falvey Scholar: Madison Puleo

Project Title: “An Interprofessional Mock Code-Care Transition-Parkinson’s Disease (PD) Patient- Missed, Omitted and Delayed (MOD) Medication Simulation Case Study”

Mentor: Clinical Assistant Nursing Professor Diane Ellis


Gina's headshotKallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library. Regina Duffy is Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 


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Recognize the Work of Villanova Seniors: Falvey Scholar Award Nominations Are Still Being Accepted

The 2019 Falvey Scholar Award Winners.

There’s still time to nominate Villanova seniors for Falvey Scholar Awards! Awards are given each spring to individual or group projects of seniors who have completed exemplary scholarship.

Although all University events are canceled for the remainder of the spring semester, the committee will highlight the 2020 award winners in an alternative format. The deadline for faculty nominations has been extended until Friday, April 3.

Please contact libraryevents@villanova.edu for additional information. Faculty can nominate seniors here. Once nominated, students will be asked to apply in order to be considered for the award using a link on the same page.

View past winner entries in the Villanova University Digital Library.


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

 

 


 


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The Art of the Cell: Meet Ritesh Karsalia, 2019 Falvey Scholar

Ritesh Karsalia, 2019 Falvey Scholar

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

BY SHAWN PROCTOR

This is part 6 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:

Ritesh Karsalia ’19 CLAS (Biology major; Latin American Studies, Spanish Language & Literature minors)

Hometown: Colonia, New Jersey

Faculty Mentor: Anil Bamezai, PhD, Professor, Director Graduate Program

Research: “Investigating the role of ordered (Io) and disordered (Id) phases within the plasma membrane of primary CD4+ helper T lymphocytes in their antigen-specific responses”

 

In his own words:

Ritesh’s Research:

My research process is founded on the scientific method, which has allowed me to conduct empirical experiments to test various immunological hypotheses. The subset of my laboratory group that I’ve focused on has been the spatiotemporal regulation of CD4+ helper T cells in response to foreign antigens.

While my principal investigator has been conducting research in this field for much of his professional career, not much information is known about the dynamic orchestration of cellular membrane-proximal signaling events and how they specifically affect the immune cell’s ability to respond. Therefore, I first began compiling the current scientific literature related to lipid-raft signaling and membrane-proximal CD4+ T cell signaling in order to locate the gaps in the current knowledge base.

My research project ultimately builds upon a series of previous studies that investigates how the order of cellular membranes, regulated by lipids, proteins, and cholesterol situated within regions called lipid-rafts, affects the ability of CD4+ T cells to respond appropriately. There are a few studies that have previously discovered that the order of CD4+ T cell membranes can be disrupted with a cholesterol-derivative, 7-ketocholesterol, leading to a decreased CD4+ response in the presence of a foreign antigen.


“CD4+ T cells are the major regulators of our immune system, and with so much disease history and technological developments in our modern world, I did not think that there were still so many question marks related to CD4+ T cell responses.” –Ritesh Karsalia, 2019 Falvey Scholar


Analyzing these studies allowed me to understand that increased membrane disorder leads to decreased CD4+ T cell response, if the disorder is induced relatively early (within 24 hours of antigen presentation). I then asked the broader questions of 1) whether this process is reversible and 2) how this process mechanistically occurs. Previous investigations had been unable to determine these aspects of this phenomenon, and the answers to these questions would allow scientists to better modulate CD4+ T cell responses though membrane order/disorder.

After asking these questions, I again went through the published scientific literature and looked at previous studies conducted by previous members in my laboratory to look for different biological mechanisms that could be affecting this process. I learned what mechanisms had already been unsuccessfully shown to affect this process and looked at some of the other promising events governing T-cell activation as areas of inquiry.

By reading previous literature that explained how 7-ketocholesterol specifically disrupts the order of lipid-rafts, I was able to hypothesize a potential way to Ritesh Karsalia next to fountainreconstitute the disordered membrane and assess CD4+ T cell response, afterwards.

I started physically performing cell-culture experiments to test my hypotheses. I worked with DO11 BALB/c transgenic mice that were bred in the vivarium in the Mendel Science Center. Since I was primarily focused on analyzing the cellular responses of CD4+ T cells, I harvested the lymph nodes from these cells and appropriately treated these cells to test my hypotheses.

These treatment groups included solutions containing 7-ketocholesterol (to induce disorder) and cholesterol (to reconstitute order). Multiple concentration ranges were used for each treatment group to understand relevant dosage-effects. To gain a better understanding of the biological mechanism(s) affecting membrane-order-based responses, western blots were used to analyze ubiquitination patterns after the T-cells were appropriately treated with 7-ketocholesterol and/or cholesterol and stimulated with a monoclonal antibody.

The expression of CD69, an early activation marker of cell activation that is implicated with CD4+ T cell proliferation, was also analyzed using flow cytometry to understand if the processes governing the expression of this protein were affected by increased membrane disorder. For all the experiments I performed, MTT assays, which measure the metabolic activity of cells, were used to quantify how much proliferation and activation occurred in each treatment group.

 

Ritesh’s “Falvey Experience”:

The Falvey Memorial Library staff and the resources were crucial to the success of my research project. I am extremely grateful for the subscriptions that the Falvey Library provided to a diverse array of online scientific journals.

As my research project was founded upon related previous studies, and a lot of my work focused on filling in the gaps between these works, I was only able to access the hundreds of publications that I have read along the course of my project due to the library’s subscriptions.

These resources were also valuable when I was performing my experimental procedures. For example, I needed to isolate macrophages (which present the foreign antigens to the CD4+ cells) as part of my procedure when setting up my cell cultures to test for the effect of the different treatment groups. My laboratory did not have the kit that would allow me to isolate these macrophages from the lymph nodes of our mice, and the cost of the kit (over $1000) exceeded my budget. Thanks to the subscriptions that Falvey Library provided, I was able to find an alternate procedure which involved harvesting the macrophages from the bone marrow of the mice. This procedure was one which was unfamiliar to my laboratory group, but using the resources that the library provided, I was able to successfully implement the procedure into my experiment.

Additionally, I attended numerous presentations by Robin Bowles, then Falvey’s Nursing and Biology Librarian, when I was participating in the Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellowship for my research project. Robin helped me tremendously when it came to performing targeted searches for publications relevant to my project.Ritesh at the lectern

Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of information known about the spatiotemporal regulation of the cell membrane in the context of CD4+ T cell responses. Early in the summer, I visited Robin in the library – thanks to her help, I was able to gain access to a relatively recent international publication about CD69’s implication in tumor immunity. Through the interlibrary loan system and the help of Robin, I was able to access this publication. This was a very helpful document in persuading me to investigate CD69 expression as a part of my research project. Robin’s presentations also introduced me to Zotero and proper reference management. I have not had much exposure to writing scientific literature before this project, so the resources that the library provided to introduce me to documentation management, in-text citations, and creating an appropriate works cited section were invaluable.

 

 

The Impact on Him:

This project taught me the importance of using past research and inquiry as a guide to understanding the current state of our knowledge base and as a building block to expand upon. After completing my research project, I’ve really come to understand how the work that we, as critical thinkers and investigators, perform is really part of a larger academic collective.

When asking new questions and expanding upon the questions that our colleagues have previously asked, we’re ultimately creating a more comprehensive knowledge base for the future. It was extremely humbling to realize how the work that I performed is directly connected to the work that other international investigators have performed for tens of years.

This experience has influenced my academic goals because it has also taught me how much more information is still out there to be uncovered, and how crucial investigation is towards the advancement of science.

As an aspiring healthcare professional, I was shocked to learn that so many of the processes related to CD4+ T cell signaling are still unknown. CD4+ T cells are the major regulators of our immune system, and with so much disease history and technological developments in our modern world, I did not think that there were still so many question marks related to CD4+ T cell responses.

What’s Next:

This experience has made me more cognizant of the importance of scholarly inquiry and has persuaded me to continue performing research as I advance in medical school and become a physician. The work I will one day be able to perform as a physician will only be possible due to past research, so I hope to continue to contribute to the field and aid in its advancements through further scholarly investigations.

 


 

 

 


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


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“What next?”

Written by Darren G. Poley, Outreach Librarian, Falvey Memorial Library.

There are several consortia who have for many years been trying to promote the idea and utility of digital collections. The concept of course is simple. Either digitize print material in the public domain or archive digital works that are not under copyright to the end of making works more widely available to the scholarly community via the Web. The Digital Library Federation has worked primarily on standards. The D-Lib Alliance has an online journal and runs workshops. The Association of Research Libraries developed the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC®) which for over a decade has been a major advocacy group for policy change. For Catholic Universities there is the Catholic Research Resources Alliance which is working on preserving access to rare Catholic materials. While membership in these various groups is commendable and their work continues to be necessary recently there have been several turn of events that document the change in the milieu of digital libraries.

Our Cultural Commonwealth [PDF] (2006) from the American Council of Learned Societies Commission on Cyberinfrastructure for the Humanities and Social Sciences was meant to map out the horizon for greater collaboration. The Ithaka Report, University Publishing in a Digital Age [PDF], released last year forecasts the changing nature of university publishing due to the digital environment in which we now work. The Open Access mandate passed February 2008 by the Arts and Sciences Faculty at Harvard University is a hotly debated effort using institutional weight to promote an opt-out policy that will cause much that would have been less-accessible to be OA available thereby “disseminating the fruits of its research and scholarship as widely as possible.” Finally published March 2008, the Research Library Publishing Services [PDF] study that assesses the lay of the land on this front, at least among major research libraries in the United States.
These hallmark statements show that eventually all universities will need to look at their efforts and policies concerning the necessity and viability of digital libraries and how they are an increasingly essential means for more than just reformatting old books. The digital library may very well become the vehicle for preserving a larger and richer deposit of current scholarship.


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Last Modified: June 5, 2008