Several MLL students recently presented their senior research projects at the Ars Nova fair held at Fordham College at Lincoln Center.


IMG_5967 Kieran Swanson ’16, Service Learning in Spanish 2001.

Kieran, a major in Communication and Media Studies, is working under the supervision of Dr. Carey Kasten.

Bio: Kieran Swanson was born and raised in Nutley, New Jersey where she grew up very close to New York City and all it has to offer. She is a graduating senior this semester, and she actively volunteers with the domestic violence department of the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation. Kieran plans to pursue a career in corporate communications after graduating from Fordham in May.

Abstract: Spring 2016 is the first semester Fordham has implemented an exit-level, Spanish course that incorporates service learning as an essential element of the class. Each student volunteers weekly with outreach institutions in New York City to apply the content of the course, continually practice the Spanish language, and contribute to and learn from programs that have been put in place as a response to the social injustices the Latino community currently endures. This combination enables a deep understanding of the many systemic challenges that Hispanic citizens and immigrants face in New York City today. Personally, working with the domestic violence department of the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation has exposed the complex relationship between victims of domestic violence and access to technology. In our digital society, public resources increasingly and sometimes exclusively rely on the Internet as the primary platform for social services and information. Failing to accommodate those with limited or no access to the Internet enforces a disadvantage for those who do not own computers, tablets, or smartphones. This disadvantage is a prominent issue for the Hispanic population, especially for the vulnerable victims of domestic violence who are primarily concerned with personal safety and privacy. The ongoing research of this project focuses on the systemic elements that institutionalize the “digital divide” and marginalize those who do not have equal access, specifically the Latino women who have suffered from domestic violence. Low-income, Hispanic families, including many single mothers who have encountered violent situations, are challenged more than any other demographic as they struggle with the high costs of devices and wireless routers, rising cable prices, and little awareness of how to take advantage of available digital resources. This project will explore in English and Spanish the causes of the Latino digital divide and reflect on the compelling benefits of service learning and exit-level language.

IMG_5968 Mayarita Castillo ’16 is writing an honors thesis entitled “Modeling Memory: Analyzing Intergenerational Educational Attainment of Latinos in the US”

Mayarita, a major in Applied Mathematics and Spanish Studies, has been working with Dr. Rolf Ryham.

Bio: Mayarita Castillo is a senior from Whittier, California. She is double majoring in applied mathematics and Spanish studies, in the Fordham Honors Program, and a member of Sigma Xi. After graduation, she hopes to stay and work in New York City and eventually return to Los Angeles.

Abstract: Researchers have noted an unfortunate trend in the educational attainment of Latino immigrants to the United States and their descendants.  The data collected shows that while there is a spike in the educational attainment from the first- (foreign-born) to the second-generation (native-born) members, in the later generations, third- or fourth- and higher, the educational attainment either levels off or drops. While this research focuses on the construction of mathematical models to represent this phenomenon, it is germane to do so within a sociological context. Therefore, three social explanations have arisen to describe why later generations are not achieving expected levels of educational attainment: assimilation efforts, distance from the immigrant narrative, and lack of self-reporting. Each of these relates to the absence of ancestral recollection. Thus, the models constructed in this unique research demonstrate the mathematical relationship between memory and educational attainment.

IMG_5970 Ryan Farr ’16 is working on a research project entitled “Ce que tu manges, ce que tu es: l’influence de la cuisine française sur l’identité française, et la naissance de la gastronomie française”

Ryan, a major in Economics and French Language and Literature, is working under the supervision of Dr. Andrew Clark.

Bio: Ryan Farr is from Jacksonville, Florida and is currently the student French tutor at FCLC as well as the co-founder and president of La Fédération Française de Fordham (French Club). In addition to his research on French Identity and Gastronomy, Ryan has focused his research on 19c France; he has recently completed a project entitled “Trois conditions nécéssaire pour être un flâneur” (Three Necessary Conditions to be a Flâneur) and is currently working on a project on prostitution in 19c Paris. He hopes to continue to study French Literature, Language, and Studies in the future.

Abstract: What prompted UNESCO to preserve French gastronomy to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity? This works outlines the history of French cuisine from the arrival of the Italians in France during the seventeenth century. Through the works of Escoffier, Brillat-Savarin, among others, I try to find the link between the history of French cuisine, French gastronomy, and French cultural identity.

Abstrait: Pourquoi UNESCO a-t-il décidé de préserver la gastronomie française sur la Liste représentative du patrimoine culturel immatériel de l’humanité ? Cette étude raconte l’histoire de la cuisine française depuis l’arrivée des Italiens en France au dix-septième siècle. Avec les œuvres d’Escoffier, Brillat-Savarin, parmi d’autres, j’essaie de trouver le lien entre l’histoire de la cuisine française, la gastronomie française et l’identité française.


IMG_5971 Anne Hayes ’16, creative research project entitled “Uncovering the Unseen”

Anne is a major in Visual Arts and French Studies.

Bio: Originally from western Massachusetts, Anne is a senior majoring in French and Visual Arts. Upon graduation, she hopes to pursue a master’s degree in art therapy.

Abstract: This series of paintings, titled “Inhabited Spaces,” explores the hidden and often under-appreciated details of the natural world. Their dense layers, fluid movement, and various textures give these works certain landscapes qualities. Within this vastness one unexpectedly finds intricate ink-drawn designs inhabiting the small nooks and crannies of negative space, and the more one looks, the more one discovers. In creating such fine detail, the artist draws the viewers deeply into the space, asking them to more closely perceive the strange beauty right in front of them.

While countless individuals take pleasure in the great beauty and expanse of the natural world, this love of the outdoors runs the risk of being superficial. This series of work aims to remind us of the small yet significant oddities and moments in our natural environment that are essential to the function and allure of the greater whole.

The artist also hopes to connect this idea with our own human psyches, as well as with the practice of art therapy. Similar to the overlooked details of the natural world, many people possess undiscovered or undisclosed anxieties, fears, or desires. An art therapist recognizes these feelings in an individual and tries to help him or her express his or herself in a creative and oftentimes non-verbal way.

This body of work urges us to treat and observe our natural environment as thoughtfully and mindfully as we would treat ourselves, and vise versa. It hopes to insight the idea that what is vulnerable or invisible is definitely not lost. If we are thoughtfully aware of ourselves and our surroundings, we will see beauty and hope in the most unlikely of places.