“I’m introducing Gia, Lucy and Jackie to a fascinating writer whose work has received minimal attention—and as they learn about her, they are helping me introduce her work to others,” Dr. Lutes says. “They’re creating new knowledge along with me because we’re documenting unknown parts of Dunbar-Nelson’s literary career.”
Other student-researchers in the arts are delving into the digital humanities. Adriano Duque, PhD, associate professor, Romance Languages and Literatures, has gathered more than 300 children’s songs from Latinos in the US. Michaela Mazzo ’21 CLAS is helping him organize and expand the material, ultimately creating a digital map of US Latino oral culture.
Michelle Ferrer ’21 CLAS is also learning to make language a visual. She is helping her research mentor, Laura Sandez, PhD, assistant professor, Romance Languages and Literatures, present Latino literature through qualitative and quantitative visuals.
In addition to conducting undergraduate research, students in the match program may participate in professional development seminars or present their research. For example, while Dr. Lutes will present at a conference in April 2018, Gia, Lucy and Jackie will be making a presentation of their own on Alice Dunbar-Nelson at Villanova University’s Undergraduate Research Symposium in September 2018. The first-year match program is a principal example of Villanova’s teacher-scholar model at work. When faculty welcome students as partners in their research, they engage in deep discovery that is truly collaborative.
“Working with first-year students gives me a chance to share my passion for my research as well as some of the of the nitty-gritty parts of the work I do—painstakingly comparing manuscript versions of a text to published versions, building a deep and nuanced understanding of what a literary text means and tracking down biographical details of an author's life to understand more about their vision and artistic choices,” says Dr. Lutes.
For more on the Villanova Match Research Program for First-Year Students, click here.