Studying Millennial Culture: Angela Christaldi ‘17

Christaldi

Christaldi

Millennials are lazy. They’re entitled. They’re narcissistic. At least, that’s what other generations say about them. But what if you give them a chance to speak for themselves?

Angela Christaldi ’17 is spending the summer composing a series of essays on the culture of the millennial generation. The collection, which is being written as part of a Summer Scholars project, is tentatively titled “Fear and Loathing of the Millennial Generation.”

“I applied for the Summer Scholars program because I wanted the opportunity to fully immerse myself in my writing,” Christaldi says. “I want to explore millennial culture through a variety of different lenses such as politics, economics and gender.”

Christaldi draws inspiration from “Slouching Towards Bethlehem,” an influential collection of essays about life in California in the 1960s by Joan Didon. She discovered the book in a class taught by Owen Gilman, Ph.D., professor of English. Dr. Gilman now serves as Christaldi’s mentor for the project.

“Dr. Gilman’s course ‘Rereading the ‘60s’ exposed me to new types of writing, and his knowledge of that type of literature made him a perfect fit to oversee my project,” she says.

“Angela’s project could not be more timely, and she is rather perfectly located to be an essayist on American culture in the summer of 2016 heading toward the election in November,” Gilman says. “Her project will be a lively quest for understanding, a spirited effort to make sense of life in our time by writing.”

During the academic year, Christaldi is a tutor at the Writing Center and managing editor of The Hawk student newspaper. She is also a member of the Women’s Leadership Initiative and a student board member of SJU’s Women’s Center. She has made the dean’s list, studies in the Honors Program, and has been inducted into the Sigma Tau Delta English International Honor Society.

— Jeffrey Martin ’04, ’05 (M.A.)

Office of University Communications

***

Summer Scholars Project Title: “Fear and Loathing of the Millennial Generation”
Mentor: Owen Gilman, Ph.D., professor of English
High School: Sacred Heart High School, Vineland, NJ

Mentoring, Literacy and the School-to-Prison Pipeline: Ciarra Bianculli ’17 & John Goldberg ’17

 

Goldberg (left) & Bianculli

Goldberg (left) & Bianculli

English and secondary education double majors Ciarra Bianculli ’17 and John Goldberg ’17 talked frequently with classmates about the need to improve education for students likelier than their peers to encounter the juvenile justice system. Wanting to make a difference in education for young people facing the school-to-prison pipeline, the two are participating in the Summer Scholars program to find the most effective ways to engage and succeed with at risk learners.

“We are providing one-on-one tutoring and mentoring for at risk youth between the ages of 13 and 17,” says John. “These students typically read one or two grade-levels below what they should, so our goal this summer is to increase literacy through different methods.”

Twice a week, Ciarra and John travel to the Police Athletic League of Norristown, Pennsylvania, a community organization offering education, rehabilitation and detention services to the juvenile justice system.. The scholars also create personalized lesson plans for each of their 12 students with their mentor, Suniti Sharma, Ph.D., associate professor of education.

Dr. Sharma knew that Ciarra and John were serious about the project when she encountered their curiosity about youth prisoner education. As an activist for and researcher of the school-to-prison pipeline, Dr. Sharma is well aware of how rewarding, yet heartbreaking, work with at risk youth can be.

“Once I knew they were very interested and keen to start tutoring, I was excited,” says the first time Summer Scholars mentor. “I knew I was going to be working with two of the best scholars at SJU who were committed to advancing their teacher competencies by becoming social justice activist teachers invested in educational change.”

To ready themselves for the intensity of the project, Ciarra and John participated in an orientation to work with youth prisoners, earned their Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative certification to understand the implications of working with vulnerable populations, and read several books and articles on their topic.

“I applied for the Summer Scholars program with the hope that having this experience would help make me be a better teacher someday,” says Ciarra. “I want to play a part in students’ lives and help show them that learning and education are so important.”

A member of the Phi Sigma Pi Honors Fraternity and Sigma Tau Delta English Honors Society, Ciarra is involved in Make-A-Wish and Relay for Life at SJU. Additionally, she serves as the assistant lifestyle editor for The Hawk student newspaper and as an SJU transfer mentor.

When he isn’t exploring the theoretical and research aspects of education, John is a Hawk Host with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and a member of the SJU Theatre Company.

— Elizabeth Krotulis ’17

Office of University Communications

***

Summer Scholars Project Title: “Mentoring and Literacy for Youth in the School-to-Prison Pipeline”

Mentor: Suniti Sharma, Ph.D., associate professor of education

High Schools: Ciarra attended Saints John Neumann and Maria Goretti High School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

John attended Whippany Park High School, Whippany, New Jersey

Clothing & Social Responsibility: Meghan McDonald ’17

Meghan McDonald '17

Meghan McDonald ’17

“Sustainability and social responsibility within the garment industry are more than desirable objectives,” says Summer Scholar and international business major Meghan McDonald ’17, “this industry is overloaded with issues and puzzled for solutions.”

In pursuit of those solutions, Meghan, who also has minors in Spanish and economics, has been spending the summer exploring issues of corporate social responsibility within clothing companies. She hopes to gain a better understanding the complexities of the industry and assess strategies for encouraging conscientious consumers.

On the consumer side, Meghan’s research is focused mainly on the need for increased awareness among millennials.

“I took interest in this topic after watching a documentary on the apparel industry,” says the scholar, who is a native of Berwyn, Pennsylvania. “My questions continued to develop and I discussed them with my sister, Mary Catherine, who witnessed many issues firsthand when she lived in Southeast Asia teaching English.”

Meghan’s eagerness to learn more about these issues led her to apply for Summer Scholars.

“The Summer Scholars Program is a unique opportunity to explore an academic topic in depth with both independent freedom and guidance from a well-respected professor,” she says.

Meghan is working with João Neiva de Figueiredo, Ph.D., an associate professor of management at Saint Joseph’s who has a background in business economics and teaches courses on topics such as organizational sustainability and global business strategy.

“Along with his incredible knowledge, he brought passion to the subject and took the material further than just theory,” says Meghan. “Dr. Neiva shows the value of a global minded education, while building the necessary business skills and cultural awareness to work in an international setting.”

“Global sourcing in the apparel industry has been fraught with issues of fair treatment of labor,” says Neiva. “Meghan McDonald’s summer research project explores the need both for increased social sustainability awareness among young consumers and for corporate responsibility on the part of producing companies. In particular, she is investigating the evolution of company responses to labor conditions abroad since the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh. This is an important inquiry because we hope findings will help deepen understanding of how consumer responses may encourage companies to address stakeholder needs and increase social responsibility.”

Meghan hopes their research can contribute to the call for better labor standards and more sustainable practices internationally.

She just returned from a semester abroad in Madrid, where, in addition to completing coursework, she was able to continue her weekly service participation. Back at home, Meghan is reengaged with her roles as an active ELS volunteer, a big sister with the Soith Eastern chapter of Big Brother Big Sister, a member of the SJU International Business Society and an intern for Profugo, an international development nonprofit in Ardmore.

— Colleen Sabatino ’11 (M.A.)

Office of University Communications

 * * *

Summer Scholars Project Title: Corporate Social Responsibility: the Effects on Millennial Consumption

Mentor: João Neiva de Figueiredo, Ph.D., associate professor of management

High School: Academy of Notre Dame

Follow @sjuartssciences @haubschool on Twitter to learn about this year’s summer scholars. #SJUSSP

Sleep and Memory: Amelia Brown ‘18

Brown

Brown

If you’ve ever woken up after a bad night’s sleep and been unable to focus on anything throughout the day, you know that sleep has an effect on memory. But how closely are they related?

Biology major Amelia Brown ‘18 is studying the link as part of a Summer Scholars Project. She Is studying the behavior of Caenorhabditis elegans, a species of transparent roundworms, as they experience differing levels of sleep.

The organism was the first multicellular organism to have its whole genome sequenced. “C. elegans are a perfect subject to study because we know so much about them, and it’s easy to note changes in their biology,” Brown says.

She exposes the roundworms to chemicals early in their adult life cycle, noting how they respond. Then, after they sleep, she reintroduces the chemicals and measures how similar the response is depending on how much sleep they got. This method is called imprinting.

Matthew Nelson, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology, is Brown’s mentor for the project. He says that the project has roots in biology’s biggest questions.

“Amelia’s project is addressing one of nature’s greatest biological mysteries: why do animals sleep?” he says. “Long term memories are formed during sleep in more complex animals, like humans, and we propose that this is occurring in C. elegans as well. The worm provides us with an avenue for rapidly understanding how sleep and memory are linked with single cell and molecular resolution.”

Brown says that the Summer Scholars program gives her extra time to do in-depth, focused research.

“During the semester it can be difficult to get procedures done in between classes and work,” she says. “It’s great having the summer to really focus on my research. Even though I am less than a month into my project, I already feel like I’ve learned many new techniques that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise.”

Outside the lab, Brown is a member of the biology club and participates in SJU’s Big Brothers Big Sisters program, where she is a board member. She is also a McNulty Fellow for the summer.

–Jeffrey Martin ’04, ’05 (M.A.)

Office of University Communications

***

Summer Scholars Project Title: Sleep and Memory in Caenorhabditis elegans

Mentor: Matthew D. Nelson, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology

High School: South Broward High School, Hollywood, Florida

How Blackness is Lived: Eric Adjei-Danquah ’17

Adjei-Danquah '17 (right) and Yates

Adjei-Danquah ’17 (right) and Yates

Eric Adjei-Danquah ’17, a rising senior biology major with minors in health care ethics and behavioral neuroscience, loves learning. “I like to learn in a way where I am in control, where I am deeply invested, and where my experience is self-driven,” he says. It’s no surprise, then, that Eric would apply to the Summer Scholars Program.

An aspiring physician, he’s spent much of his time at Saint Joseph’s studying the sciences, and deciding he wanted to step away briefly from pipettes and sterile technique, he elected as a Summer Scholar to work with Assistant Professor of History Brian Yates, Ph.D., whose expertise focuses on identity construction, Ethiopian history, The Oromo, African state building and modern African history.

With Eric’s interest in African culture and the Pan African diaspora in mind, he and Dr. Yates — who taught Eric in Forging the Modern World, HIS 154 — developed his project, which Eric says explores several dynamics, including perceived philosophical and value system differences within the black community, based on country of origin, generational length and self-identity. He’s also looking at the idea of a tangibly distinct culture as a comprehensive black community. Eric is analyzing national data to determine if socioeconomic outcomes and trends of persons considered black match their individual ethnic cultures, identities, philosophies and values.

“I had the pleasure of teaching Eric in my History 154 class for which he wrote an exceptional philosophically centered paper,” says Dr. Yates. “Since then, we’ve tried to connect on a class together, but his schedule precluded that, so I’m glad this project gives us the opportunity to work together again.

“We’re  looking at specific cultural practices, beliefs and values that are helping to answer Eric’s research question, and he is making significant progress,” he adds.

“I’m having fun with this project,” says Eric. “I wake up every day excited to be doing what I’m doing, and about where this work could lead. The Summer Scholar’s program allows me to be an adventurer, an explorer and a true learner,” Eric says.

A fellow of SJU’s Institute of Clinical Bioethics, Eric says he plans to carry the work he produces this summer into a paper analyzing the “legacy of mistrust in the African American community toward the medical profession related to end-of-life issues.”

Before he attends medical school, he would like to do service work in an inner-city, urban community. Eric is also interested in doing post-undergraduate work in philosophy.

A third year returning RA and a captain for the 2020 Student Orientation Team, Eric is involved with several Institute initiatives  and also teaches for the GeoKidsLINKS program. As a first year student, he received a travel grant to present research at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Farms Research Campus. He has also presented at the annual Sigma Xi research symposium and at the American Society for Cell Biology.

–Patricia Allen ’13 (M.A.)

Office of University Communications

***

Summer Scholars Project Title: “How ‘Blackness’ is Lived: An Exploration of Cultural and Economic Experiences Between Africans, African Americans, and Black Americans”

Mentor: Brian Yates, Ph.D., assistant professor of history

High School: Preparatory Charter High School of Mathematics, Science, Technology, and Careers (Prep Charter), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Follow @sjuartssciences @haubschool on Twitter to learn about this year’s summer scholars. #SJUSSP

Soccer Salaries and Stats: Kevin Shank’ 18

160607-Kevin Shank Summer Scholar -003

Kevin Shank ’18

When avid soccer fan and mathematics and computer science major Kevin Shank ’18 learned about the sports marketing minor at SJU, he couldn’t pass it up. Combining his liberal arts degrees with the business-focused minor has allowed him to combine his interests, and inspired him to apply for the summer scholar program. “I wanted to spend my summer doing work that interested me,” he says. “This program gave me the opportunity to create my own project based on my own questions, and search for those answers.”

The questions Kevin decided to raise focus on player contribution in relation to salary. ESPN recently posted an article about salary discrepancy in Major League Soccer. “One interesting fact this article highlights is that two different players in MLS make more per season than the whole roster of 14 different teams,” says Kevin.

Alongside visiting instructor of sports marketing and sports writer Amie Sheridan, Kevin is evaluating the 2015 Major League Soccer season to create player rankings in an unbiased fashion.

“Past scholarly journals have shown through statistics which aspects are most important and strongly correlated with winning teams,” says Kevin. “With that information, and through collecting and organizing the raw data, I will also determine which players are most efficient in terms of salary and predict player/team performances based on recent results.”

“I am extremely impressed with Kevin’s genuine curiosity and work ethic,” says Sheridan. “He is an enthusiastic and smart self-starter, and his project will help to shine light on how Major League Soccer can effectively use data to make strategic roster decisions.”

“I want to enter this field of sports analytics,” he says. “I am hoping that this project will offer a sample of what it is like to analyze Big Data in the sports industry.”

A native of Broomall, Pennsylvania, Kevin is also a member of Saint Joseph’s club Gaelic football team, a leader for the Philadelphia Service Immersion Program, a community partner coordinator for the weekly service site at Our Mother of Sorrows soup kitchen/outreach, an APEX participant and a member of the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega.

— Colleen Sabatino ’11 (M.A.)

Office of University Communications

* * *

Summer Scholars Project Title: “Analyzing Player Contribution in Major League Soccer”

Mentor: Amie Sheridan, visiting instructor of sports marketing

High School: Archbishop John Carroll HS

Follow @sjuartssciences @haubschool on Twitter to learn about this year’s summer scholars. #SJUSSP

Social Justice and Social Media: Elizabeth Krotulis ’17

Krotulis

Krotulis

Hashtags have become such an ingrained part of our culture that we use them in our spoken conversation. In 2014, Merriam-Webster added the term to its dictionary. But what’s behind all the hashtags we see on social media, other than collecting all our thoughts on a particular subject into one stream?

English major Liz Krotulis ’17 is spending her summer researching just that. As part of a Summer Scholars project, Krotulis is studying the communities behind certain social justice hashtags — including #climatechange, #globalwarming, #sustainability and #keepphillybeautiful — on Twitter and Instagram.

“The goal for the study is to learn more about these communities by examining how and why members tweet and post the way they do,” Krotulis explains. She will use mixed research methods to gather information, including data collecting, interviews and “netnography,” a branch of anthropology in which a researcher observes life from the point of view of the subject to better understand their thinking.

Her mentor, Bill Wolff, Ph.D., assistant professor of communications studies, has performed similar research on how fans of Bruce Springsteen form a community through hashtags.

“The thing that I’ve learned studying hashtags is that there is no one-size-fits all model,” Wolff says. “Each hashtag is used in unique ways depending on the people using it. That’s why it is so important to look at the content of the tweets and posts themselves and not just focus on the fact that the hashtag exists.”

Krotulis says that she chose to participate in Summer Scholars because it gives her a chance to conduct in-depth research for the first time.

“I’m excited to experience conducting an academic study, because I’ve never done anything on this scale before,” she says. “The process itself is something I want to learn and understand. It sometimes feels intimidating, but [Wolff’s] guidance is extremely helpful and gives me confidence to complete all steps of the project well.”

During the academic year, Krotulis is a tutor at SJU’s Writing Center, a copyeditor for The Hawk student newspaper, a weekly service volunteer and an intern for the Office of University Communications. She has made the dean’s list in all but one semester during her college career and is a member of the Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society.

— Jeffrey Martin ’04, ’05 (M.A.)

Office of University Communications

***

Summer Scholars Project Title: “Social Justice and Social Media: The Use of Climate Change Hashtags on Twitter and Instagram and the Communities behind Them”

Mentor: Bill Wolff, Ph.D., assistant professor of communications studies

Follow @sjuartssciences @haubschool on Twitter to learn about this year’s summer scholars. #SJUSSP

Animal Behavior and Experimental Psychology: Angelo d’Antonio-Bertagnolli ’18

d'Antonio-Bertagnolli '18 with Anderson.

d’Antonio-Bertagnolli ’18 with Anderson.

Summer Scholar Angelo d’Antonio-Bertagnolli ’18, a psychology major/chemistry minor from Mt. Laurel, New Jersey is spending much of his summer hanging out with fabled characters from Greek mythology. The antics of Achilles, Hector, Helen, Andromeda, Perseus, Medea, Jason, Narcissus, Penelope, Ariadne and Atalanta, fill his days and some of his nights.

Though it might be expected from his companions’ names, he’s not writing a classics paper. Rather, the subjects of his study are members of a small colony of 11 budgerigars (m. undulatus) housed in an aviary in Post Hall. Known more commonly as parakeets, or sometimes, budgies, this league of 11 were named from the Greek canon by Angelo’s mentor Matthew Anderson, Ph.D., associate dean of social sciences, an experimental psychologist who specializes in animal behavior.

Angelo’s Summer Scholar project is involving him in investigating the lateral preferences the small parrots exhibit and how these relate to subsequent performance in problem solving tasks, meaning he’s examining whether or not an individual budgie might use their right or left leg when scratching or perching — think handedness in people — and whether such preferences predict ability to achieve a goal.

“Studying laterality is interesting because it’s applicable to humans to some degree — people are left-footed or right-handed, for example — but overall, I’m hoping that this project will reveal some broad implications for avian behavior,” says Angelo, who is also the Speaker for the SJU Student Senate, plays lead guitar in SJU’s Jazz Band, and has earned Dean’s List honors for each semester he’s been a student at Saint Joseph’s.

Well known for his laterality research with flamingos, Dr. Anderson says that once they know a little bit more about how laterality works in the budgie, [which is somewhat understudied], he and Angelo might be able to infer possible evolutionary functions and reasons why the behavior shows up in other species.

“This research could help us make sense of bigger behavior questions,” Dr. Anderson says.

Guided by Dr. Anderson during the 2015-16 academic year, Angelo developed a sophisticated three-part study of the birds that begins with observations of side preferences. When that’s complete, he’ll test the colony on a tool-use task, and finally, train the birds to dig for food, testing their ability to remember which sand-filled cup contains the seeds that make up the birds’ diet.

“Angelo’s Summer Scholar proposal required him to write a protocol for the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, design an ambitious project and conduct a comprehensive literature review,” says Dr. Anderson. “It’s really akin to a master’s level thesis.”

Which, Angelo says, is what inspired him to apply for the Summer Scholars Program.

“It wouldn’t be possible for me to run this study during the school year unless I was a graduate student,” Angelo adds. “As a Summer Scholar, I don’t have to study for tests and follow another person’s deadlines. I’m able to pursue my own research interests, and hopefully, I’ll complete a publishable project.”

And being up close and personal all summer with mythological figures, even if they are of the feathered variety, is a bonus.

–Patricia Allen ’13 (M.A.)

Office of University Communications

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Summer Scholars Project Title: “Analysis of the Relationship Between Degrees of Hemispheric Lateralization and Cognitive Ability in Budgerigars Through Problem Solving Tasks”

Mentor: Matthew Anderson, Ph.D., associate dean of social sciences

High School: Saint Augustine Preparatory School, Richland, New Jersey

Follow  &  on Twitter to learn about this year’s summer scholars. #SJUSSP