Undergraduate Senior Thesis Program

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences requires each student to have an undergraduate research experience, preferably at the senior level.  In our department, all seniors will participate in a research project with a faculty mentor. 

Seniors have two options by which to accomplish this important part of their Villanova experience:

Option 1 (Single Semester Senior Research Project):  This is a one-semester program and the student may enroll in GEV 6200 during either semester, or during a summer session (approved on a case–by–case basis).  Once the student and professor agree on a topic, the student will conduct research—under the guidance of the professor—and develop a paper and poster for presentation during Projects Day.  The individual professor will grade the paper, and the poster will be a jointly graded based on faculty input.

Option 2 (Two Semester Senior Thesis): This is a two-semester program.  During the fall semester, the student will define a project, conduct a literature review, and undertake initial research by enrolling in GEV 6210 (Senior Thesis Research I).  During the spring semester, the student will enroll in GEV 6220 (Senior Thesis Research II) to complete the research and writing phase of the project.  The senior thesis option includes an oral presentation to the faculty and fellow students as part of the department’s Projects Day.

This is a capstone research experience, tailored to the individual student’s level of experience and disciplinary background.  Regardless of the major, we implement the independent study–senior thesis research component of the curriculum keeping in mind six fundamental outcomes for our graduates:

(1) Our students must acquire an understanding of the fundamental principles basic to science or social science research;

(2) Our students should become scientifically literate people who view the physical or human world in a disciplined and objective manner;

(3) Our students should have an intrinsic capacity to recognize challenges—scientific or human—and leverage their understanding of technology when confronting and solving complex problems.

(4) Our students develop the ability to speak and write clearly, using style, vocabulary, and organization appropriate to the audience and venue. 

(5) Our students will learn to correctly employ standard conventions in written and oral communications in a scientific context.  Students can focus on a purpose; develop flexible strategies for generating, revising, editing, and proofreading; understand that there are common formats for different kinds of writing requirements; practice appropriate means of documenting their work; and use a variety of technologies to address a range of audiences.

(6) The senior independent study project/thesis also provides a valuable professional experience for our students.  As part of this project, they will:

    (a) Understand the importance of organization, timeliness, and professional               speaking. 

    (b) In preparation for possible work and graduate school experiences, they will          become familiar with the exacting standards that are observed in the                    preparation of a professional paper.

 

Senior Thesis Topics From Previous Years Given Below:

YEAR

STUDENT

THESIS TITLE

FACULTY MENTOR

2010

Kristen

Marzocca

Concentration Growth Bands in Pseudoplexaura Porosa as an Indicator of Changes

Dr. Lisa J. Rodrigues

2010

Eva

Tang

Villanova Student Farm

Dr. Lisa J. Rodrigues

2010

Janelle

Jesikiewicz

Pollutant Concentration of Metal and Nutrients Found in Stormwater Runoff in the City of Pittston, Pennsylvania

Dr. Jennifer Gilbert Jenkins

2010

Elizabeth

Yancey

The Long Road Home: International Community's Failure to Provide Protection

Dr. Francis A. Galgano

2011

Angela R.

Bagnasco

Summer Village Sustainable Urban Renewal for a Philadelphia Neighborhood

Dr. Nathaniel B. Weston

2011

Alexander

Lundy

You Eat What You Know: Food Traceability and Labeling in the College Setting

Dr. Lisa J. Rodrigues

2012

Courtney

Chupka

Infaunal Communities Along the New Jersey Coastline as Indicators of Ecosystem Health

Dr. Lisa J. Rodrigues

2012

Andrew

Galtieri

The Dispersal of Radioisotopes to Routine Nuclear Power Plant Operations

Dr. Nathaniel B. Weston

2012

Nicole

Poletto

An Assessment of Heavy Metal Accumulation History in the Delaware River Estuary

Dr. Nathaniel B. Weston

2013

Cynthia

Troy

Effects of Salinity, Toxicity, Moisture, and Temperature Stress on Nitrous Oxide Production in Agricultural Soils

Dr. Nathaniel B. Weston

2013

Alyssa

Watt

Does Ground Cover Matter?  A Comparative Analysis of Ground-Mounted Solar Arrays

Dr. Lisa J. Rodrigues

2013

Allison

Eng

Long Term Trends and Impacts of Sediment, Nutrient, and Elemental Fluxes in Three Tropical Watersheds, Central Panama

Dr. Steven T. Goldsmith

2013

Michele

Wiedersum

Radium-226 as a Potential Indicator of Surface Water Contamination from Hydraulic Fracturing Wells in Northeast Pennsylvania

Dr. Nathaniel B. Weston

2013

Melissa

Murgittroyd

Effects of the Endocrine-Disruptor DI-N-BUTYL Phthalate on the Growth and Development of Radish (Raphanus Sativus), Lettuce (Lactuca Sativa), and Tomato (Solanum Lycoperscium) Seedlings

Dr. Lisa J. Rodrigues

2013

Margaret

Garcia

A Path to Remediation: The Effects of Crude Oil on Salt and Freshwater Marsh Sediment

Dr. Nathaniel B. Weston

2013

Michael

Lang

Denitrification in Tidal Marshes Along A Salinity Gradient in the Delaware River Estuary: Implications of Salt Water Intrusion for an Important Ecosystem Service

Dr. Nathaniel B. Weston

2013

Jennifer

Roche

A Comparative Analysis of Green Insulation Techniques

Dr. Nathaniel B. Weston

2014

Lauren

Brown

The Effects of Land Use Change on Water Chemistry in the East Branch of the Brandywine Creek

Dr. Steven T. Goldsmith

2014

Natalie

Flinn

A Wintertime De-icing Salts Harming our Environment?  The Response of Soil, Quercus Rubra, and Pinus Strobus to NaCl Rock Salt Treatment

Dr. Lisa J. Rodrigues

2014

Mikah

Schlesinger

The Effects of Suburban Land Use Practices on Mill Creek

Dr. Steven T. Goldsmith

2014

Tara

Kelly

Assessing the Future Impacts of Sea Level Rise on the Jersey Shore

Dr. Francis A. Galgano

2015

Kaitlyn

McGrath

Evaluating the Impacts of Residential Lawn Fertilizer on a Suburban Headwater Stream

Dr. Steven T. Goldsmith

2015

Michaela

McWain

Use of Field Deployed Data Loggers to Evaluate Seasonal Road Salt Inputs in a Suburban Stream

Dr. Steven T. Goldsmith

2015

Nicholas

Pajerowski

Evaluating Historical Coal Dust Sedimentation in the Schuylkill River Watershed: A Hidden Impact of Pennsylvania’s Mining Legacy

Dr. Steven T. Goldsmith

2015

Sarah

Peterson

Response of  Aiptasia to HCl-Induced Acidification and Feeding Regime

Dr. Lisa J. Rodrigues,

Dr. Stephen J. Levas

2016

Danielle

Radomile

An Examination of Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing and Other Land Use Changes on Stream Water Quality in Northeastern PA Dr. Nathaniel B. Weston
2016

Alissa

Welker

Cultivate a Conversation: Quantifying the Intersecting Opinions of our Food and Agriculture System Dr. Lisa J. Rodrigues
2016

Kaila

Hanley

Evaluating Controls on Triclosan Export in a Rural to Suburban Watershed: Insights from the East Branch of the Brandywine Creek Dr. Steven T. Goldsmith
2016

Ewura-esi

Simpson

The Ebola Epidemic in West Africa was Characterized by the State of Peace and Stability, Economic and Healthcare Factors Dr. Francis A. Galgano
2016

Samantha

Blemker

Trace Metal Contamination in Oyster Tissues Indicate Concerns for Environmental and Human Health Dr. Lisa J. Rodrigues
2016

Alexander

Sebastiao

Trace Metal Sediment Loading in the Mill Creek: A Spatial and Temporal Analysis of Vehicular Pollutants in Suburban Waterways Dr. Steven T. Goldsmith
2016

Hannah

Griffiths

The Role of Land Use Practices on the Delivery of Nitrate and Sediment into the East Branch of the Brandywine Creek Dr. Steven T. Goldsmith
2016

Brian

Donnelly

Microbial Iron Reduction Rates Along a Salinity Gradient in Wetland Ecosystems in the Gulf Coast, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast United States Dr. Nathaniel B. Weston
2016

John

O’Connor

Pb-210 and Cs-137 as Markers of Historic Accretion Rates and Nutrient Supply in Barnegat Bay, NJ Dr. Nathaniel B. Weston

Contact Information

Department of Geography and the Environment
Suite G67, Mendel Science Center
Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085
Tel: (610) 519-3337
Fax: (610) 519-3338

Chair:
Dr. Francis A. Galgano

Graduate Program Director:
Dr. Lisa J. Rodrigues

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