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Sophomore Researcher Aidan D’Souza Wins Writing Award in Augustine and Culture Seminar

Aidan D'Souza

Sophomore Aidan D'Souza, of Reading, Pa., was selected as the winner of the John A. Doody Award for Best Writing in ACS (Augustine and Culture Seminar) which he received at a September 23 ceremony for his essay "Sin v. Obligation to the Family in the Books of Genesis and Ruth." Aidan was a 2022 first year match student and is currently working on the research team of Professor Elizabeth Burgess Dowdell, PhD, RN, AFN-C, FAAN, coordinator, Undergraduate Research.

Aidan notes that his work is “a biblical analysis of the idea that despite our sins, our obligation to our families overpowers any past wrongdoings.” He enjoyed writing and his exposure to literature in high school and wished to continue that in college.

“Being non-religious and unfamiliar with The Bible, this piece was a big step outside of my comfort zone. Growing up, I had little exposure to religion; one major reason I came to Villanova is to gain a deeper understanding of faith,” Aidan explains, “As a future nurse, I believe that it is critical to have an understanding of faith so I can better care for my practicing patients.”

Aidan sees the value in the liberal arts aspect of his education, including how it can elevate his scholarship, a connection he noticed in high school. “I find it important that I have the experience analyzing and writing about all types of literature to aid my primary focus, research and scholarly writing,” he asserts. “During AP Research in high school, I investigated the degree of school nurse autonomy during the COVID-19 pandemic in relation to case rates in Pennsylvania’s public schools. I discovered a correlation among school nurses with lower autonomy and higher COVID-19 case rates in those schools.”

The scholarly momentum has continued for this motivated nursing student. “During my second semester at Villanova, I participated in the match research program for Dr. Dowdell, working on surveys regarding adolescent technology and sleep behaviors. Over the summer, I helped Dr. Dowdell begin research inquiries investigating murdered and missing indigenous women (MMIW) in conjunction with a team from Boston College,” Aidan says. They are examining related topics, including, he outlines, “education in Native communities, inter-partner violence, child abuse and crimes committed by family perpetrators. We are continuing this work into the Fall 2022 semester and will present a paper during the Spring 2023 semester. Research is a big reason that I chose nursing; we have our own discipline and I enjoy exploring unique topics, such as MMIW, to find ways to apply it to clinical practice.”

Aidan is expanding his experience and sharing his talents beyond the scholarly ones. He shares that he is also a Blue Key tour guide, Nursing Senator, Nursing Ambassador, and Ruibal leader.