2024 Bonnie W. Oldham Library Research Prize Award Winners Announced

Charles Cavin Sylvester is the winner of the 2024 Bonnie W. Oldham Library Research Prize in the Undergraduate Upper-level category

Charles Cavin Sylvester is the winner of the 2024 Bonnie W. Oldham Library Research Prize in the Undergraduate Upper-level category. This prize is awarded to the winning project completed in a 200- to 400-level course.

Charles is a senior Environmental Science major, he submitted to the competition the paper titled “Environmental Review of CFCs and their Replacements; the Montreal Protocol Plan” completed in the course CHEM 390: Chemical Literature and Writing, taught by Dr. Michael Fennie.

For research purposes, Charles relied on a number of library databases such as Academic Search Elite, ProQuest Central, and the American Chemical Society publications in order to identify pertinent peer-reviewed primary source literature. Charles utilized a wide range of sources including secondary sources such as textbooks and white papers to ascertain governmental information regarding the Montreal Protocol. In his description of research he also mentions obtaining access to three crucial papers for his research through the Library’s Interlibrary loan system. Charles used the citation management software Zotero to manage and organize his large number of sources, and adds that as a first-time user of Zotero, he was amazed at how this tool streamlined his research process. 

In choosing this research topic, Charles mentions; “I wanted to choose something that affects everyone, something that is applicable to everyone’s daily life, something that would help better the lives of all. Pope Francis calls us to be stewards of the Earth. Most recently in his “Laudato Deum,” he specifically called out the United States for not being good enough. Therefore, embracing my Jesuit values, I wanted to write an impactful paper on the Montreal Protocol Plan to assess if were we doing enough to protect ourselves from the tragedy of ozone depletion by chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).” 

Through the research process, Charles mentions, “I have done many research projects throughout my time at the University, but this one truly taught me the notion of not giving up before I found the right data. My strive for Magis drove me. To write a fair and accurate paper, I needed specific data for CFCs and their three replacements concerning ozone depletion potentials, pathways for tropospheric sinks, radiative efficiencies, lifetimes, and global warming potentials. It was not an easy task, but I am extremely satisfied that I was successful in doing so. It made my paper so much more complete. The accomplishment will stick with me, and it taught me a lasting lesson about researching.” His research is timely and describes high-level scientific processes in a readable and straightforward manner. His work details a truly successful application of Science as a change agent for improvement in environmental policy. 

Honorable Mention awards in the 2024 Bonnie W. Oldham Library Research Prize in the Undergraduate Upper-level category were presented to Gabrielle Bingener, a third-year Neuroscience major, for her project titled “Transposing The Wounded Storyteller,” completed in the course ENLT 224: Perspectives in Literature about Illness taught by Dr. Billie Tadros; and to Occupational Therapy major Victoria Smulowitz for her paper titled “The Impact of Breast Cancer Survivors’ Participation in Society Due to a Loss of Occupational Engagement,” completed in the course OT 250: Scientific Writing and Information Literacy taught by Dr. Carol Coté.

Gabrielle Allen and Julianna Lunt are the winners of the 2024 Bonnie W. Oldham Library Research Prize in the Graduate category.

Gabrielle Allen and Julianna Lunt are the winners of the 2024 Bonnie W. Oldham Library Research Prize in the Graduate category.

Gabrielle and Julianna are in the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program.  They submitted to the competition their project titled “The Changing Role of Occupational Therapy in Neonatal Care” completed in the course OT 544: Leadership Principles, Ethics, and Pragmatics, taught by Dr. Marlene Morgan.

When Gabrielle and Julianna set off on their Historical Analysis of Occupational Therapy assignment, they wanted to choose a topic that would be beneficial for the occupational therapy profession and focused specifically on vulnerable populations, whose lives have been impacted by advancements in OT. They ultimately landed on neonatal care. 

For this difficult historical analysis, they used a multitude of Library resources, from print to digital, and archival. They also sought assistance from the librarians who guided them through how to begin finding and evaluating relevant information. While at first intimidated by the research process, they began to feel “a bit like detectives” as they went about their information seeking.  In true Jesuit tradition, they were pushed to become better researchers while tasked with taking time to be reflective of their findings. 

In their description of research, they summarize the ways their research process reflected Ignatian characteristics when they say, “Whether it was the discernment of choosing a research topic that would benefit the future of OT and help advocate for the infants in the NICU, or learning how to navigate new equipment to access archival journals on microfilm, this project fostered growth in many different ways.” 

They go on: “We found ourselves discussing our gratitude to receive a Jesuit education while completing this research project,” and furthermore apply the Jesuit concept of “Contemplatio ad amorem” to their work on this project when they say:“The research process incorporated active parts and also included reflection of the findings. It was in these moments of reflection that we were able to uncover themes throughout history and have “breakthrough moments”. Most importantly, our research was driven by the love of God because we sought to choose a topic that would improve the quality of life for His most vulnerable creations.”

In this way, Gabrielle and Julianna illustrate how the research process can transform both the researcher and those whom the research will serve.

Honorable Mention awards in the 2024 Bonnie W. Oldham Library Research Prize Graduate category were presented to Master of Occupational Therapy students Catherine Casola and Kiera Harvey, their project titled “The History of Occupational Therapy in Neurological Conditions,” completed in the course OT 544: Leadership Principles, Ethics, and Pragmatics, taught by Dr. Marlene Morgan; and to Doctor of Physical Therapy students Lauren Colella, Erin O’Shaughnessy, Michele Felice Rovaris, and Sydney Walters, for their project titled “Mental Health Factors and Exercise Adherence in Women with Breast Cancer Interventions: A Systematic Review,” completed in the course PT 773: Scientific Inquiry III for PT, taught by Dr. Anthony Carusotto.

Emma Torok is the winner of the 2024 Bonnie W. Oldham Library Research Prize Undergraduate Foundational category. This prize category is designed to recognize research excellence and learning in the first year. It is awarded to the winning project completed in a 100-level course.*

Emma is a first-year Early Education Major who submitted her paper titled “Analyzing the Effectiveness of In-Person Learning vs. Online Learning” completed in Prof. Dawn D’Aries Zera’s Writing 107: Composition course. 

Tasked with researching an argumentative contemporary issue related to her major, Emma began her research in class and an information literacy session with a faculty librarian where she learned about different types of resources available including books, videos, online journals, Interlibrary Loan, and more. In her description of research, Emma discussed using the Library’s main search tool, Royal Search, to find peer reviewed articles through the use of limiters and Boolean logic. She shared how adding a variety of sources, like scholarly research articles, but also news articles from the New York Times and NPR, helped balance her argument and solidify her findings. 

Emma also discussed the importance of keeping an open mind while conducting research as to avoid confirmation bias. In her application she states, “There have been times when I began my research specifically looking for articles that agreed with my predetermined thoughts. However, for this project, I deliberately searched for articles that stated the benefits of both online and in-person learning. I am so thankful for all that I learned in the library program and on the library website because, without learning other perspectives, my paper would not have been formulated fairly.”

Emma went on to discuss how through the research process she embodied the Ignatian characteristic of Cura Personalis. She states, “My research paper demonstrated this in two main ways: my open perspective to research and my personal connection to my topic. Before conducting any research, and even before finalizing my topic, I ensured that I educated myself on both sides of the debate. Just like St. Ignatius would do, I appreciated and thought critically about both perspectives before deciding my opinion.” 

The 2024 Bonnie W. Oldham Library Research Prize Undergraduate Foundational category Honorable Mention award was presented to first-year Biochemistry, Cell & Molecular Biology major Andrew Mauriello, for his project titled “Gene Therapy: An Effective Treatment for Some of the World’s Deadliest Diseases” completed in his WRITING 107: Composition course taught by Prof. Dawn D’Aries Zera.

Currently celebrating its 13th year, the Weinberg Memorial Library inaugurated the Library Research Prize in 2011 to recognize excellence in research projects that show evidence of significant knowledge of the methods of research and the information gathering process, and use of library resources, tools, and services. In 2017, the prize was named for Professor Emerita Bonnie W. Oldham, who founded the prize at the University in 2011. The Bonnie W. Oldham Library Research Prize was fully endowed in 2019 and consists of a prize of $500 awarded to winning projects in each of the three categories: Undergraduate Foundational (100-level projects), Undergraduate Upper-level (200- to 400-level projects), and Graduate.

 Prize winners were honored at an Awards Ceremony & Reception on Friday 5/17 at 1:00 pm in the Charles Kratz Scranton Heritage Room of the Weinberg Memorial Library.

 Information about the Bonnie W. Oldham Library Research Prize can be found on the website: http://www.scranton.edu/libraryresearchprize

Congratulations to all of our honorees!

*Emma Torok was unable to attend the awards ceremony and is therefore not pictured along with the other winners.

Spotlight on Student Worker Christie Serzan

For the past two years Christie Serzan, a Physical Therapy major from Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, has worked in Media Resources and has provided friendly, knowledgeable service to the students, faculty and staff of The University of Scranton. Christie has an outgoing personality and a strong work ethic.  She’s always happy to learn new technologies and work an extra shift. Her favorite part of the job is getting to experience new films she wouldn’t normally watch. Her advice to other students is to talk to a librarian to learn about the Library’s great resources.

Christie has been involved in many University activities. She was a member of the Dance Team, the Physical Therapy Club, and she volunteered at the Leahy Clinic. She enjoys dancing, baking and cooking.

Currently Christie is completing a clinical internship. She’s is a huge football fan and would love to work with professional athletes in the future.

Congratulations on your upcoming graduation, Christie!  We wish you all the best!

Spotlight on Student Worker George Ebeid

When I first met George Ebeid of Tobyhanna, PA, he was a freshman and a little shy and nervous about working in Circulation Services.  I knew that if he was at all like his brothers who worked here before him, John and Peter, he would work out just fine.  That he did.  George loves to learn “new stuff” and he learns well.  He is very deliberate in his work and always accurate.  Working in customer service, he began to enjoy meeting and interacting with new people.  He learned to be himself and that helped him personally as well as in his job performance.  A most faithful worker, his attendance record is almost perfect!  You can always count on George to show up bright and early in the morning, ready to get to work.

George has studied hard and will receive his degree in Electrical Engineering.  He is a member of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Club.  Some of his hobbies include drawing, bird watching and programming.  He has spent the past two years working on programming a game in C++.  Of course he likes to read and his favorite book is George Orwell’s 1984.

George is in the process of job searching in the Philadelphia area.  After graduation, he plans to move there with his brother John.  After a few years of work experience, his plan is to go on to Grad school.  I see a bright future for him.  We wish him all the best!

Spotlight on Student Worker Erica Westlake

We first met Erica Westlake of West Chester, PA during her Summer orientation when she visited the Library with her mom. While Erica inquired about a work study position in Circulation Services, her mom was concerned about a broken window that she discovered outside over the patio exit.  We made two good discoveries that day!  Erica applied and began working with us the following Fall semester.  Like her mom, she has great attention to detail and it’s evident in her work here.  She keeps herself informed of current policies and procedures in order to provide the best possible customer service experience.  Some of the things she enjoys most about working in the library is chatting with patrons and co-workers and helping Barb Evans set up displays.

Erica majors in Biology and Philosophy. Her favorite class was Dr. Sulzinski’s Virology class.  Her goal is to become a medical doctor and she has applied to several medical schools.  Also an athlete, she was a member of the Royals Varsity Swim Team for the past four years.  In her spare time, she keeps busy by contributing to Esprit, participating in Praise & Worship, volunteering at the Leahy Clinic and tutoring.  She also enjoys photography* and of course – reading.  Her favorite book is When breath becomes air / PaulKalanithi. Something interesting about Erica is that although she is left-handed, she plays all sports right-handed.

To date, she’s been accepted at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine in Scranton and is anxiously waiting to hear from the rest. Though she can’t be certain where she will end up, she’s prepared to stay in Scranton for a few more years.  It certainly would be nice to keep in touch with her.  We wish her all the best!

*Look for Erica’s photography entries on display as part of the Environmental Art Show, WML Heritage Room.

Spotlight on Student Worker Mollie Medrano

Mollie Medrano, of Long Beach, New York, has been working in the Circulation Services department for the past 4 years.  She loves interacting with people at the Circulation Desk and being able to socialize while working.  Helping students realize all that the library has to offer is something she enjoys about her job.  She advises students to borrow a laptop or a tablet and to use the Interlibrary loan and Palci EZBorrow systems.  Sharing her knowledge of library resources is rewarding.

Mollie is a Community Health Education Major.  Of all her classes she especially enjoyed Dr. Andrew Lazella’s Ethics class.  She is an active member of the CHED club on campus.  She volunteers her time and services by participating in programs that beautify and benefit the local community such as ‘Street Sweep’, Relay for Life and Safe Trick or Treat.

Mollie enjoys traveling or just hanging out at the beach with her friends.  Her favorite book is Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and her favorite movie is Finding Nemo.  You might be surprised to learn that Mollie spent 12 years participating competitively in Irish step dancing!

After graduation, Mollie plans to seek a career in Nursing.  We thank her for the work she’s done here and wish her all the best!  Good luck Mollie!

Spotlight on Student Worker Donovan Sarango

Donovan Sarango, an Exercise Science major from East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, has only been working in Media Resources for a few months, and our single regret is that he didn’t start sooner.  His friendliness and enthusiasm are appreciated by our patrons and staff.

Donovan has a variety of activities and hobbies. He’s a member of Ultimate Frisbee (aka Electric City Scranton Ultimate), which is a competitive club that participates in tournaments in and around Pennsylvania. He also plays Intramural Soccer on the Flying Tunas team and volunteers at the Jewish Community Center as a personal trainer. Creative writing and listening to “real” hip-hop are some of Donovan’s other hobbies.

His favorite professor is Dr. Michael Landram and his favorite class is “Essentials to Exercise Strength and Conditioning”. His favorite book is The Great Gatsby and his favorite movie is Deadpool. People may be surprised to learn that Donovan can talk about movies, hip-hop or comic books for hours!

The things Donovan most likes about the library are the friendly environment, the variety of available resources and the quiet atmosphere. His advice about the library to other students is to take advantage of all the resources, especially the films in Media Resources.

After graduation in May, Donovan would like to work as a strength and conditioning coach for aspiring athletes.

Thank you Donovan. We appreciate your good work and wish you the best in the future!

Spotlight on Student Worker Christine Jerome

Shortly after her arrival at The University of Scranton in late summer 2013, Christine Jerome of Union, New Jersey made her way to the Weinberg Memorial Library seeking a Work Study position.  After spending all four years of high school volunteering as the librarian’s assistant, she was anxious to work in a setting where she felt at home and familiar with the job.  It’s hard to believe that now she’s been with us for almost four years.

Chris is a Biology major who minors in French.  In addition to speaking French, she can speak some Creole too.  She is an active member of the United Color Organization (UCO), the Asia Club, the Fencing Club and the Liva Arts Company.  Of course she enjoys reading – her favorite genres are history, fantasy and mysteries.  A few other pastimes she enjoys are art, music, fitness & health and baking.

At the Circulation Desk, Chris enjoys interacting with the patrons and has gained great customer service skills.  She is a pleasant co-worker who is always willing to learn something new and help out wherever needed.  She often advises other students to take advantage of the Palci EZBorrow  & Interlibrary Loan services.  Note:  her green thumb is responsible for the thriving plants all over the library.  They will miss her too!

After graduation, Chris’s career goal is to work in the healthcare field.  She would particularly like to provide healthcare to medically underserved areas, domestic or international.  We wish her all the best.

Thank you Chris!

Student Spotlight on Kate Reilly

Kate Reilly, a senior from Wayne, Pennsylvania, has been an asset to the Weinberg Library’s Digital Services department for the past three years.  She has always been dependable, and has accomplished many projects with eagerness and skill.

She will graduate in May with a double major in History and Philosophy, with the hope of using this knowledge towards doing advocacy work for women in the future.  On campus, Kate has served as secretary for the Philosophy Society and has also been a volunteer at the Leahy Clinic.  Her hobbies include reading, painting and baking.

Through her work in Digital Services, she has enjoyed learning about the University’s history, and would urge her fellow students to take advantage of all the incredible resources that are offered on campus – especially the library’s online collections and databases.

As an interesting side note, Kate has a twin sister who also goes to the University of Scranton.

We are grateful to Kate for all the time and valuable, hard work she has given to the Weinberg Library, and we congratulate her on her upcoming graduation!

Student Spotlight on Nazia Nowshin

Nazia Nowshin of Moosic, Pennsylvania began working in Media Resources/EdLab in June of 2014. The Library would like to recognize her dedication and hard work as her graduation approaches.

Nazia is resourceful, friendly and has a positive attitude. Since she lives locally, she has been able to work year-round and has helped with numerous projects. She’s also witnessed the expansion of the streaming media databases. Nazia enjoys working in the library because it’s a peaceful place and a great environment for a work-study student. Her advice to other students is to use all the resources available. The library has countless books and DVDs as well as streaming media and print databases that can help students with their classes or research.

Nazia is a Biochemistry major whose favorite class is Microbiology taught by Dr. Sulzinski. Her favorite books and movies are the Harry Potter series and her hobbies include hiking and reading. Along with taking classes and working in Media, Nazia is a Microbiology Teaching Assistant, a member of the Health Professions Organization and a volunteer at the Edward R. Leahy Jr. Center Clinic for the Uninsured. A fun fact about Nazia is that she’s quadrilingual! She speaks Bengali, Hindi, Urdu and English. Her plans for the future include earning a Master’s Degree in Biomedical Sciences or Microbiology and attending medical school.

Thank you Nazia for your hard work and enthusiasm.  Your future is bright and we wish you all the best!

Student Spotlight On Meghan Miller

With the spring 2017 semester moving along swiftly, Digital Services would like to recognize one of its graduating seniors, Meghan Miller.

Meghan began working in our department in 2016, and since that time has been always reliable, friendly and very diligent in her responsibilities – especially in the detail-oriented work of image processing and description.

She is a History major from East Brunswick, New Jersey with aspirations to become a professor of U.S. History.  On campus, she has been active with the University Singers and also enjoys art and dancing.  She would include the entire Harry Potter series as her favorite book, and her favorite movie is Monuments Men.  One surprising and fun fact about Meghan is that she is a black belt in mixed martial arts.

She has enjoyed her time working in the library, and has been especially impressed with how nice and helpful everyone is.  For this reason, she would encourage other students to never be afraid to ask staff members for assistance finding whatever they need.

The Weinberg Library thanks Meghan for her good work, and wishes her the best in all her future endeavors!