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Nova News: December at Villanova

Nova News takes a monthly look at news and events across the University. This edition of Nova News highlights two students awarded prestigious scholarships, the Marshall Scholarship and the George J. Mitchell Scholarship, as well as various campus events celebrating the Christmas season. Featured faculty experts from a variety of academic departments and disciplines are available to discuss a wide range of news topics, from chronic illnesses in children to issues in sociology and criminology. Read on to learn more about what’s happening in December at Villanova.


Villanova to Hold Dec. 3 Vigil in Show of Support for Families Fleeing Conflict in Iraq and Syria

Villanova University’s Catholic Relief Services Student Ambassadors will lead a Dec. 3 campus vigil in support of the 13.6 million Syrians and Iraqis forced to flee their homelands in advance of the violent extremist group, the “Islamic State” (also known as ISIS). A candlelight ”Season of Solidarity” vigil will be held from 4:30-5:15 p.m. at St. Thomas of Villanova Church on campus as part of the University’s partnership with Catholic Relief Services (CRS). To learn more click here.

Villanovans Named Marshall and George J. Mitchell Scholars

Two Villanova seniors received word this week that they have been selected as recipients of two of the most prestigious scholarships. University Presidential Scholar Nicholas Ader ’15 College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), from Clarence Center, N.Y., has been awarded a 2015 Marshall Scholarship. To learn more click here. Stephen Sechler, ’15 College of Engineering (COE), from Fruitland, Md., also a University Presidential Scholar, has been awarded the George J. Mitchell Scholarship. To learn more click here.

Campus Celebrates “Merry Christmas Villanova Week”

The Villanova campus community will join together during the week of Dec. 1-5 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 gingerbread house making, a Holiday Bazaar, and a trip to New York City. A tree-lighting ceremony, led by the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, Villanova University President, will be held at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 3 in the Connelly Center Plaza. For a full listing of events, click here.

Villanova Invites Community to Family-Friendly Christmas Concert Series

Villanova’s Music Activities program invites the community to get into the Christmas spirit through a series of free Christmas musical concerts Dec. 6 and 7. The programs will feature a variety of vocal and instrumental performances by Villanova students from the University’s combined choirs, orchestra and band. Musical selections will include Rutter’s triumphant Gloria with brass octet, the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah, and a host of Christmas classics. All events will be held in St Mary’s Chapel on the University’s Main Campus. To learn more click here.


Chemistry Professor Helps to Protect Nation’s Mural Artwork

Anthony Lagalante, PhD, professor of Chemistry, along with his research team are helping to preserve Philadelphia’s and the nation’s mural art. In collaboration with the University of Delaware, Dr. Lagalante developed an environmentally-friendly, water-reversible coating that can be applied to new or degraded murals. Much of the performance testing is conducted on-campus. By working with local and national programs, such as the Mural Arts Program of Philadelphia, the team has been able to preserve these beautiful outdoor exhibits for future generations. For more information, click here.

Sociology and Criminology Professor Recognized for Women’s Prison Research

Jill McCorkel, PhD, an associate professor in Villanova’s Department of Sociology & Criminology, has been named the 2014 recipient of the American Society of Criminology Division on Women and Crime Distinguished Scholar Award. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the field of women and crime by an established scholar. Dr. McCorkel’s recent book Breaking Women: Gender, Race and the New Politics of Imprisonment details her four years of research in a major U.S. women’s prison through which she uncovered how tougher drug policies have radically affected incarcerated women. For more information, click here.

New Psychology Lab Looks to Provide Insight into Speech and Human Development

A new Psychology lab in Villanova’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, led by Joseph Toscano, PhD, is studying the ways in which human listeners recognize and understand spoken language. Students in the Word Recognition and Auditory Perception (WRAP) Lab study language processing as it happens and use a combination of cognitive neuroscience and behavioral techniques to examine spoken word recognition. The research could lead to breakthroughs in our understanding of human development, hearing impairment, and speech recognition. For more information, contact Media Relations.


Villanova School of Business Top School for Marketing

USA Today recently highlighted the Villanova School of Business (VSB) for its placement as one of the top 10 schools in the U.S. for majoring in marketing – according to College Factual rankings. The rankings praised VSB’s marketing course offerings, saying: “Classes in marketing research and management help students understand how to analyze information and develop strategies that will be beneficial to an organization or business.” Read the full article here.

Inaugural Innovation Update Day on Friday, Dec. 5

VSB’s Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (ICE) will present its first annual Innovation Update Day, “Radical Innovations that are Transforming the World” Dec. 5. This event features updates by innovation leaders on cutting-edge technologies and applications that have the potential to reshape markets and industries. Presentations include the status of a $10 million competition to develop a Star Trek style medical tricorder; cutting edge innovations in nanotechnology; the Internet of Things; Google Glass; airborne drones and innovations in waste management/recycling. For more information, click here.

Innovative New Course Teaches “Art of Value Investing”

“The Art of Value Investing,” an innovative new course developed by a Villanova School of Business professor, invites high-level value investors into the classroom to provide insight into how they manage investment portfolios and companies. Over the course of a semester, students hear from 14 practitioners, giving them a widespread insider’s look into investment management. To learn more click here.


BeetleBots Invade Villanova on December 5

A group of 150 mechanical engineering students will do battle Dec. 5 in the Center for Engineering Education and Research’s fighting robotics competition. Teams of three to five students will enter their BeetleBots robots, built in the Mechanical Engineering Analysis and Design course, in a head-to-head arena competition to see which robot will come out on top. For more information e-mail

Villanova Hosts Fulbright Scholars

Villanova is the nation’s top producer of Fulbright students in the Master’s Institutions category, with 23 Fulbright grants having been awarded over the past two years. In that same time period, five Fulbright scholars from other institutions have chosen to study at Villanova, specifically in College of Engineering graduate studies programs. Of particular interest are the College’s unique and well regarded Master’s in Sustainable Engineering and Water Resources Engineering programs. For more information, click here.

NSF Grant Brings Together Faculty Researchers from Villanova, Penn and Bryn Mawr

Villanova Mechanical Engineering Professor Amy Fleischer, PhD will lead a team of researchers from Villanova, The University of Pennsylvania and Bryn Mawr College working on a project titled, “Acquisition of Atomic Layer Deposition Device for Nanoscale Materials Development Research.” This high level infrastructure will facilitate the increased emphasis on nanomaterials fabrication and development, and will enable critical new research areas. It also links faculty and student researchers at three distinct types of institutions, and supports women in STEM. For more information, click here.


Nursing Faculty Available to Discuss Chronic Illnesses in Children

Approximately 43 percent of children in the U.S. (32 million) are currently living with at least one of 20 common chronic childhood illnesses, the most common of which are diabetes, asthma, consequences of low birth weight and mental illness. The outcome of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) is particularly important for all pediatric populations since many of these children have not and will not be cured, and will continue to manage their chronic illness into adulthood. Michelle M Kelly, PhD, CRNP, and Mary Ann Cantrell, PhD, RN, CNE, recently completed a study investigating the importance of HRQOL as a health outcome for chronically ill children, and are available to discuss their findings. For more information, contact  

Nursing Student Finds a Career Path after Learning Firsthand about Homelessness and Health

Senior nursing student Dan McWilliams began volunteering at the Student Run Emergency Housing Unit of Philadelphia (SREHUP) when he was 18-years-old. SREHUP, a wholly student-operated homeless shelter founded by Villanova faculty and students, serves homeless men in the Philadelphia area. The relationship between volunteering at the shelter and McWilliams’ nursing education has allowed him to gain valuable experience working with individuals who live with chronic physical and mental illnesses. As he begins his nursing career Dan plans to practice in public health working with the homeless. To learn more about Dan’s story, click here.


Villanova Law Clinic Offers Help and Counsel to Those in Need

In the Interdisciplinary Mental and Physical Health Law Clinic at Villanova University School of Law, students earn credit, hone their legal skills and gain valuable hands-on experience while serving the physical and mental health needs of the community. One of only a handful of its kind in the country, the Health Law Clinic joins together law students and Villanova College of Nursing graduate students to help low-income clients navigate the health care system. Law students act as lead counsel under the supervision of a faculty member to provide legal representation, while nursing students use their medical expertise to break down barriers to health services and treatment. To learn more, click here.


Utilize Villanova’s New On-Campus Broadcast Capabilities for TV/Radio Interviews

Villanova has recently expanded its on-campus broadcast capabilities to include a television studio with a VYVX uplink, making live or taped interviews quick and easy. In addition, Villanova can offer broadcast quality audio interviews via IP Codec. For media interested in learning more about Villanova’s faculty experts, click here.

About Villanova: 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 six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies 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.