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NOVA NEWS: December at Villanova

Nova News is a monthly look at news, programs and events across the University. Over the last several weeks, Villanova students were honored as Rhodes and Marshall Scholars, new cutting-edge faculty research was published, and numerous interdisciplinary programs have taken place. The events continue in December with Merry Christmas Villanova Week festivities, Villanova's latest social justice student documentary screening, and various programs and memorials remembering the Dec. 2012 tragedy in Sandy Hook, Conn.


Campus Celebrates “Merry Christmas Villanova Week”
The Villanova campus community will join together during the week of Dec. 2 to celebrate “Merry Christmas Villanova Week,” a yearly tradition that unites students, faculty and staff in the spirit of the holiday season. Events throughout the week include a tree-lighting ceremony led by Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, a Holiday Bazaar, and a trip to New York City. Highlighting this year’s celebration is a Winter Benefit Concert, benefitting the Randy Foye Foundation and victims of Hurricane Sandy. The concert, featuring the band, “21 Pilots,” will be held at 7 p.m., Dec. 6 in Jake Nevin Field House. For a full listing of events, click here.

Villanova Student-Athlete Jessica Wamala Wins Prestigious Rhodes Scholarship
Villanova student Jessica Wamala was one of 32 American men and women chosen as Rhodes Scholars to represent the United States. Wamala is the third student-athlete in the University’s history to receive the prestigious award. She graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. from Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in May 2013, with majors in political science, Arab and Islamic studies, and global interdisciplinary studies. Wamala is now pursuing an M.A. in political science at Villanova. Outside of the classroom, Wamala is a member and co-captain of Villanova’s Women’s Basketball team. For more information, click here.

Villanova Senior Joana Petrescu Selected as 2014 Marshall Scholar
Villanova Presidential Scholar Joana Petrescu ’14, a senior from Warrington, Pa., has been named a 2014 recipient of the Marshall Scholarship, making her the first-ever Villanovan and one of only 34 college students nationwide selected to win this prestigious award. Petrescu is a triple major, currently pursuing degrees in Biochemistry, French and Honors within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The scholarship will support two years of post-graduate research in cancer biology at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. For more information, click here.

Live Website Feed Allows Public to Observe Villanova’s Conservation of 17th Century Italian Painting While in Progress
Having an opportunity to observe art conservators at work on the restoration of an historic painting is rare. But, visitors to a live feed web link on Villanova’s Falvey Memorial Library website will be able to view the progress that is being made on the cleaning and restoration of 17th century Italian artist Pietro da Cortona’s painting, “David and Goliath.” For more information, click here.

Liberal Arts and Sciences

Social Justice Film Class Presents First Screening of its Latest Documentary “Heel’d,” Dec. 13
Combining their passion for storytelling and desire to ignite change, students of Villanova’s Social Justice Film course have produced an inspiring documentary that chronicles how a group of homeless young Philadelphians develop poignant relationships with animals waiting to be adopted at city animal shelters through a unique local program. “Heel’d” tells the story of Hand2Paw, an organization that provides homeless youth the opportunity to learn new skills and gain experience in animal care by working at local animal shelters. The first screening of “Heel’d” will be held at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 13, in the Connelly Center Cinema. For more information, click here.

Delaware Valley Remembers Sandy Hook Tragedy
A special remembrance of the victims of the Dec. 2012 tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, “From Tragedy: CHANGE,” will be held from 2-4 p.m., Dec. 7 in the Connelly Center Cinema on Villanova’s Main Campus. The event, sponsored by Villanova’s Center of Peace and Justice Education, will feature guest speakers on gun violence prevention, as well as a candle light vigil in memory of gun violence victims. For more information, click here.

Villanova Announces Partnership with Abbey Theatre to Launch “Summer Studio”
Villanova University and the Abbey Theatre will begin an Abbey Theatre Summer Studio for undergraduate students during the summer of 2014. Located in Dublin, Ireland, this “Summer Studio” is part of the Abbey Exchange Program that links the University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences with the prestigious National Theatre of Ireland. The three credit program, which will run from June 1-19, will engage students through lectures, workshops and performances involving the history and production of Irish theater. For more information, click here.

Villanovan Receives 2013 Most Powerful and Influential Women Award
Teresa Nance, PhD, has received the 2013 Most Powerful and Influential Women Award from the National Diversity Council and Pennsylvania Diversity Council. Dr. Nance, an assistant professor in the department of communication, and assistant vice president of multicultural affairs, was recognized for exemplary leadership and responsibility in her professional community, the numerous contributions she has made to her field throughout the scope of her career, and having paved the way for other women to follow in her footsteps.


Villanova Receives Rare Copy of da Vinci’s Codex
A rare copy of the Codex Atlanticus, a 12-volume bound set of drawings and writings by Leonardo da Vinci, was presented to Villanova University President, the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, at a recent event sponsored by the Villanova School of Business’ Center for Public Policy and Research. Members of the Leonardo in Ambrosiana Foundation made the presentation. The set is one of only 299 copies in existence. The Center for Public Policy and Research supports research and scholarship that focuses on marketing and public policy issues, with particular emphasis on the impact of regulation on the business community, consumers, and society. For more information, click here.

Economics Expert Available to Discuss Recent Gas Tax Increase
The recent passage of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s $2.3 billion transportation bill should result in much needed repairs and improvements to the state’s transportation infrastructure. But, how will it affect Pennsylvanians pocketbooks – at the gas pumps and beyond? Villanova School of Business economist David Fiorenza, an expert in public sector and municipal finance, is available to speak about the ramifications of the new legislation.


Villanova University Engineering Professor Publishes Groundbreaking Research
In the medical community, attempts to cryopreserve tissues and organs to be used for transplantation have been stymied because cells within tissue are highly susceptible to damage from ice formation. For more than a decade, Jens Karlsson, PhD, associate professor of Mechanical Engineering, has pursued research on strategies for overcoming obstacles to cryopreservation of organs and tissues. A recent article co-authored by Karlsson in the Biophysical Journal reports groundbreaking findings. Karlsson and his team have discovered exactly how ice crystals invade different types of tissue cells during the freezing process – a significant discovery that could pave the way for new cryopreservation techniques that involve blocking ice from entering cell pathways or diverting ice so that it grows in other directions. For more information, click here.

Villanova Civil Engineering Seniors Take on Real-World Research for Local Municipality
The Main Street highway–railroad grade crossing in Darby Borough, Pa., is the only known grade crossing in the U.S. in which an active freight rail line crosses an active fixed-rail transit line where vehicular and pedestrian traffic are also present. As part of a Professional Practices in Engineering course, senior engineering students have been working to find short and long-term improvements to the Main Street grade crossing so vehicular, pedestrian, freight and transit traffic can flow efficiently and safely while minimizing impact to the local community. At 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 10 at Darby Borough Community Center, the students will present Borough officials and residents with their potential solutions. For more information, click here.

Villanova Students Bring Engineering to Local School Classrooms
Villanova Community Action by New Engineers (NovaCANE) brings engineering into the classrooms of five area schools, starting with students in the sixth grade. Participating Villanova students and faculty visit these classrooms where they conduct hands-on experiments and offer teacher education, after which the students work on follow up projects. Four school visits are planned for early December with projects including an earthquake simulation using a gingerbread house.


Professor to Engage in Pioneering Research about Decision Making and Home Health Discharge
Melissa O’Connor, PhD, MBA, RN, assistant professor, has been named the first Eugenie and Joseph Doyle Research Fellow at the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY). An expert in geriatric nursing and home health care, O’Connor will lead a groundbreaking study targeting a new area of decision support for home health discharge. Titled, “Identifying Critical Factors in Determining Readiness for Discharge from Skilled Home Health Services,” the study will compile and analyze interdisciplinary data from home health clinicians and physicians that identifies the important factors which determine readiness for discharge to home healthcare for older adults vulnerable to poor outcomes. For more information, click here.

Nursing Students Teach at Women’s Congress in Dominican Republic
Students and faculty from Villanova’s College of Nursing traveled to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic to present at the 2013 Women’s Congress. Theirs was the sole health care group invited to participate in the event. The weekend-long conference was tailored to women who work in their communities, often as frontline health educators and caretakers of area residents. The students presented on topics such as dental care, hypertension management, heat-related illness and dehydration prevention techniques. For more information, click here.


Painting in Remembrance of Sandy Hook (Conn.) Children On Exhibit in Villanova Art Gallery, Dec. 9-16
Needing to deal with his feelings over the deadly Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, noted artist Chuck Connelly turned to the language of art to express his sorrow and rage. The American artist's powerful painting of remembrance for the victims of Sandy Hook, which took him almost a year to complete, will be on exhibit in the Villanova University Art Gallery, Dec. 9-16. The large 10-foot by 12-foot canvas comprises individual images of the 20 children, in the full bloom of their lives. For more information, click here.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University's Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's five colleges -- The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.