Annual Celebration of Student Scholarship and Creativity Highlights Students’ Work
As the sun shone through the windows of the Slavin Center, Eliza Mandzik ’13 (Burlington, Conn.) sang arias in the overlook lounge.
Around the corner, on the upper level of Slavin, Caitlyn Treem ’13 (Middleton, Mass.) used a laptop to show her 90-minute documentary, Raw Island, about poverty and violence in Providence. And as faculty, staff, and students browsed nearby, Satyam Khanal ’16 (Kathmandu, Nepal) answered questions about his scientific research that may one day help find a cure for cancer.
Mandzik, Treem, and Khanal were among more than 100 students taking part in Providence College’s fourth annual Celebration of Student Scholarship and Creativity, sponsored by the Student Engagement and Advisory Committee.
Participants were nominated by faculty across all academic disciplines.
Mandzik, who majored in both music and political science and began singing at age 8, offered a mini-concert. She sang selections from composers such as Purcell, Mozart, and Bellini, then briefly explained the meaning of the language, the history of each piece, and how she approached them.
Mandzik studied opera in Austria and hopes to return there after commencement for a year of study with mezzosoprano Paulette Herbich.
Music and political science may seem an odd combination, “but I think it works for the left part and the right part of the brain,” said Mandzik.
Understanding poverty, violence
Treem, a public and community service studies major, began work on her two-part, 90-minute documentary when she was a sophomore in a Community Organizing class. She volunteered with gang-affiliated youth during Rec Night at the Madelin Rogers Recreation Center on Camden Avenue, near the PC campus, and realized that most college students were isolated from the neighborhood around them. She completed Raw Island as her senior thesis project.
“Most of us alienate ourselves from the community out of fear, distrust, and misunderstanding,” Treem said. By sharing the stories of young people, Treem said she hopes to use “the power of storytelling to facilitate change and open the minds of students to the community around us.”
After commencement, Treem will spend 12 weeks studying social justice issues in Nepal.
Though only a freshman, biochemistry major Khanal was able to join a research project with Jonathan Varelas ’15 (Madison, Conn.) and Michael O’Donnell ’15 (Lowell, Mass.). Under the supervision of Dr. Seann P. Mulcahy, assistant professor of chemistry, the three studied specific organic compounds — isomeric carbolines — known to work against tumor cells and bacteria.
They developed a process to re-create the compounds in the laboratory. Sometime in the future, their studies may help cancer research, Khanal said.
“It’s been awesome, one of the best experiences I could imagine,” said Khanal, who will continue the research while working in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the fall.
Alligators and another view of Civ
Brigid Garrity ’15 (East Walpole, Mass.) worked with Christopher Pellichero ’13 (Wrentham, Mass.) to use X-rays of walking alligators along with CT scans to measure the movement of their shoulder girdle bones in relation to their sterna. They had to perform surgery on each animal to implant digital markers so the sternum, which is made of cartilage, would show up on the X-ray, Garrity said.
The students plan to use their data to measure the forces on the joints compared to those of other closely related animals, such as birds, that evolved the ability to fly.
Garrity became involved in the research through Dr. David B. Baier, assistant professor of biology, in collaboration with researchers at Brown University.
“I heard Dr. Baier speak and told him I wanted to get involved,” she said.
Aubrey Moore ’15 (East Haven, Conn.), a global studies and political science double major, presented a paper she wrote for a Development of Western Civilization course that put a new spin on “Western” Civ, which all PC students study during their first two years.
Moore created a new annotated syllabus that followed the topics covered in third-semester Civ but used different books. For example, while students now read Locke, Hobbes, Rousseau, and Marx, Moore proposed Latin American Perspectives on Globalization: Ethics, Politics, and Alternative Visions (Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2003) and Imperial and Spiritual Freedom: An African View (American Journal of Sociology, 1944).
“The purpose was to gain a better understanding of western civilization while providing an alternative to how people learn about the society they live in, to better understand other societies, and to help put historical events into a broader context,” said Moore.
Moore completed her Civ studies this semester with a colloquium, Politics of Memory.
— Vicki-Ann Downing and Liz F. Kay
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