Six seniors, all Honors Program students, presented their thesis research to the Villanova University community in the Falvey first floor lounge, on May 2. The 2008 Falvey Scholars are Nicholas Hollon, Angela S. Allan, Oksana Ogloblinsky, Kelly Mimnaugh, Ryan P. Flynn and Stephanie Trotta.
The Falvey Scholars program was initiated by Joe Lucia, University librarian, six years ago. According to Lucia, “One of the library’s current goals is to recognize and reward exceptional undergraduate research while also involving undergraduate students more directly in the library’s program of intellectual outreach. ... It is an enormous pleasure for me personally to host this event each spring. The intellectual quality of the work being done by our best students is exciting and inspiring.”
Students were introduced by their faculty advisors, thesis second readers or by Edwin Goff, Ph.D., associate dean for Honors Program and Undergraduate Grants and Awards. After completing their presentations and fielding lively question and answer sessions with the audience, the Falvey Scholars received framed certificates recognizing their achievements and Amazon.com gift certificates.
The scholars’ research topics were varied, covering astronomy, literature, philosophy and economics. Hollon, introduced by his advisor, Edward Guinan, Ph.D., presented “Artificial Intelligence in Astrophysics: Using Neural Networks for Variable Star Classification.”
Allan, advised by Jean Lutes, Ph.D., was introduced by her second reader, Marylu Hill, Ph.D., and spoke on “Respons(e)bilities: Katherine Mansfield, D. H. Lawrence, and the Great War.”
Advised by Walter Brogan, Ph.D., Ogloblinsky was introduced by her second reader, John Carvalho, Ph.D. She presented her research on “Aristotle’s Theory of Happiness in the Contemporary Community.”
After a short lunch break, the program continued with Mimnaugh’s work, “Breaking the Silence: The Voice of the Woman Beat Writer in Joyce Johnson’s Minor Characters.” Her advisor was Dr. Lutes, and she was introduced by Dr. Goff.
Advised by Maria Toyoda, Ph.D., Flynn was introduced by Dr. Goff and then by Kishor Thanawala, Ph.D., who announced that Flynn had been awarded the department of economics' best paper prize for his essay, “Modernization and Nationalism: Economic Policy in China’s Ethnic Autonomous Regions.”
The final presenter, Trotta, spoke on “Maximizing the Potential of Microfinance: The Triple Bottom Line and Poverty Alleviation.” Her advisor was Dr. Thanawala.
Each Falvey Scholar’s thesis will be digitized and added to the Villanova Digital Library.
Seniors in the Honors Program present their theses in a series of Honors colloquia during the spring semester, and from these a committee composed of Dr. Goff, Karima Bouchenafa, associate director, Honors, and Jane Morris, director of the Office of Undergraduate Grants and Awards, made the selections, with advisement from Lucia and Darren Poley, Outreach librarian. Joanne Quinn designed the award certificate.
Poley noted that “since there are capstone projects in every college, we hope to scale out the program to be more inclusive.” He plans to work toward this goal over the next academic year, although the program will continue to be restricted to seniors.
Contributed by Alice Bampton; photographs by Laura Hutelmyer and Natalie Tomasco