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Twenty Lafayette students of high academic achievement and promise will participate in the distinctive McKelvy House Scholars Program during the upcoming school year.

Since 1962, the McKelvy program has brought together Lafayette students with a wide range of majors and interests to reside in an historic off-campus house and share in intellectual and social activities. Weekly Sunday dinner discussions that engage the students in debate and exchanges of ideas that continue long after the meals are over are the hallmark of the program.

Next year’s McKelvy contingent includes nine Marquis Scholars. Chosen from among Lafayette’s most promising applicants, Marquis Scholars receive special financial aid and distinctive educational experiences and benefits, including a three-week, Lafayette-funded study-abroad course during January’s interim session between regular semesters. They also participate in cultural activities in major cities and on campus, and in mentoring programs with Lafayette faculty.

Five of the incoming McKelvy Scholars are present or past participants in Lafayette’s EXCEL Scholars program, in which students collaborate closely with faculty members on research projects while earning a stipend. Faculty regularly publish articles coauthored with EXCEL Scholars in scholarly journals and make presentations at leading academic forums and research conferences.

The seniors in McKelvy House will be Jen Cilia, a government and law major from Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Sarah Lowery, an economics and business major from Missoula, Mont.; and Chantal Pasquarello, an international affairs major from Phoenixville, Pa. This will be Cilia’s second year in the program.

The juniors in McKelvy will be Heather Badamo, a double major in art and anthropology and sociology from DuBois, Pa.; Zach Bittner, a biology major from Washington Crossing, Pa.; Ben Haaz, a psychology major from Flourtown, Pa.; Jessica Jamhoury, a chemistry major from Frenchtown, N.J.; Kris Miszler, a physics major from Hawley, Pa.; Crystal Taylor, a mathematics major from Hyattsville, Md.; Keli Whitnell, an English major from Newark, Mo.; and Marta Vanduzer-Snow, a Spanish major from Chestnut Hill, Mass. Jamhoury is returning for her second year in residence at McKelvy.

The sophomores in McKelvy and their intended majors will be Rachel Korpanty, liberal arts, Summerville, S.C.; Michael Lestingi, mechanical engineering, Tallmadge, Ohio; Geoff Oxholm, computer science, Merion Station, Pa.; Beth Ponder, biochemistry, Collegeville, Pa.; Amanda Roth, liberal arts, Easton, Pa.; William Simmons, English, Trenton, N.J.; Justas Staisiunas, international affairs, Panevezys, Lithuania; Ian Tiedemann, history, Stamford, Conn.; and Johann Van Gorp, history, Hong Kong.

Lowery, Pasquarello, Badamo, Miszler, Korpanty, Lestingi, Ponder, Roth, and Simmons are Marquis Scholars.

Several students will split the school year between McKelvy House and studying abroad or in Washington, D.C. Jamhoury and Lestingi will be in McKelvy for the fall semester only, while Haaz, Lowery, Pasquarello, Taylor, and Vanduzer-Snow will join in the spring semester.

Participating students must be nominated by a faculty member. Those nominated are interviewed by a faculty member on the McKelvy Scholars Committee and a McKelvy resident. They also submit a writing sample and a written reflection on a recent world event. Selection is done by a committee of four faculty members and two McKelvy students.

The McKelvy scholars were featured in the weekly national program CBS News Sunday Morning Jan. 2, 2000. A crew from Sunday Morning visited McKelvy House to videotape the students engaging in a Sunday dinner discussion.

“We came to Lafayette to listen in as the McKelvy House students discussed their perceptions of materialism in America at the approach of the new millennium,” says associate producer Sandra Malyszka. The students were the voice of the next generation in the program’s cover story, entitled “Greed,” presented by correspondent Thalia Assuras.

McKelvy House was built in 1888 on High Street overlooking the Delaware River, three blocks from campus. Designed by McKim, Mead, and White, it originally was known as “Oakhurst.” The home was built for John Eyerman, a faculty lecturer in mineralogy from 1888-1891. It was bought by trustee Francis G. McKelvy and donated to Lafayette by his heirs in 1960.

In addition to the dinner discussions, McKelvy Scholars share other activities including field trips, generally held once each semester, to see plays, concerts, and exhibits.

Owen McLeod, assistant professor of philosophy, was thrilled with his first year as the program’s resident advisor in 2000-2001. “Of course, I enjoyed the dinner discussions and the field trips,” he says. “But what I liked most of all was getting to know the students on a more personal basis, which could mean finding someone in the library at 1 a.m. who is studying for a midterm or writing a paper, and talking about whatever is of interest at the moment.” The essence of the house is to be a home for students who seek intellectual camaraderie on a day-to-day basis, he adds.

Next year’s McKelvy House scholars have already distinguished themselves at Lafayette.

Four of them are participating in the EXCEL Scholars program this summer. Lowery is continuing work with Gladstone Hutchinson, associate professor of economics and business, which led to a trip to Jamaica with another student and faculty member last semester. They presented findings and recommendations that will help shape the country’s fiscal policy toward its public enterprise sector. Lowery focused on identifying conditions under which fiscal contraction – a reduction of government expenditures in the economy – can spur economic growth. She is member of Omicron Delta Upsilon, the national honorary society for men and women studying in the field of economics.

Lestingi gave a presentation on results from his first EXCEL Scholar project, entitled “Review of Compression After Impact Test Methods,” at the 15th annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research in March. He worked with Laura Ruhala, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and is teaming with her again this summer for an EXCEL project to survey approaches to engineering ethics in the United States.

Two students are taking on their first EXCEL work this summer. Roth is exploring ideologies of class and gender in British fictional and non-fiction writings about foundlings from 1780-1830 with Deborah Byrd, associate professor of English and coordinator of Women’s Studies. Jamhoury is researching effects of hydrogen on nickel/copper epitaxy with Kenneth Haug, assistant professor of chemistry.

As an EXCEL Scholar, Pasquarello assisted Ilan Peleg, Charles A. Dana Professor of Government and Law, in an exhaustive study of the history and politics of Israeli Arabs. She gave a presentation entitled “Explaining the Czecho-Slovak Split: A ‘No-Fault Divorce’ in Contemporary International Politics” at this year’s National Conference on Undergraduate Research, and on “Burma: Diary of an Unending Civil War” the prior year. Pasquarello is a Writing Associate in the College Writing Program. She is a member of the French Club and International Students Association.

Pasquarello is one of several students who have taken advantage of off-campus learning opportunities. She spent a semester in Florence doing independent research on Albanian immigrants in Italy. Pasquarello is participating in an archaeological field study in Belize this summer, excavating Mayan artifacts for a month in the jungle as part of her Marquis Scholar senior research project. She will take part in the peace and conflict resolution program held by American University in Washington, D.C. during the fall semester. The experience will include a three-week trip to the Middle East to study the peace process there.

Lowery has studied abroad in Sydney, Australia, and completed an internship at Prudential Securities in Philadelphia. For the fall semester, she will study in the American University program.

Badamo spent the fall semester in Athens, Greece, taking courses in classical and Mediterranean studies and visiting archeological sites and museums in the Peloponnese, Delphi, and Crete.

Several students have been active in extra-curricular activities involving excellence in verbal communication.

Lestingi was part of the trio that represented the Lafayette Forensics Society to an eighth-place finish in Lincoln-Douglas Debate at the National Forensics Association (NFA) National Tournament at Western Kentucky University in April. He went 4-2 in the preliminary rounds and placed 17th in the nation. His achievements this year include placing third in extemporaneous speaking at Suffolk University; second in Lincoln-Douglas debate and fifth in impromptu speaking at St. Anselm’s College; second in extemporaneous speaking and third in impromptu speaking at Bloomsburg University, in his first collegiate competition; top novice honors in impromptu speaking and second place in Lincoln-Douglas debate at West Chester University; and first place in impromptu speaking, sixth place in extemporaneous speaking, and third place in dramatic duo at the Pennsylvania State Individual Events Association Championships. During the upcoming school year, he will serve as president of the Lafayette Communications Union, which fosters classroom and extracurricular activities that nurture verbal communication. The group sponsored forums for discussion and analysis during the U.S. Presidential debates and organized two of its own debates in the spring semester.

Korpanty participated in the prose and dramatic duo events at the NFA nationals. She took fourth place in prose interpretation at the Pennsylvania State Individual Events Association Championships. She placed first and fourth in dramatic duo in competitions at Bloomsburg University and Simmons College, respectively.

Ponder and Simmons are members of the Mock Trial Team. Ponder earned the designation of Top Witness in one of the rounds of the Mock Trial Association Regional Tournament in February at College Park, Md. This past year, Taylor served as treasurer of the Lafayette Communications Union.

A number of McKelvy Scholars are active in dramatic performance groups. Badamo played the role of Miss Agatha in the Lafayette College Theater production of Alison’s House in the spring. Pasquarello has performed with the Marquis Players, a campus theater group that raises money for local hunger and homelessness causes through campus plays. Korpanty portrayed Sandra Scamello in the Marquis Players production of Chess this spring, and played Lady Britomart in the College Theater performance of Major Barbara in the fall. Cilia took on two roles last year in College Theater productions, Dixie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Jennie in Alison’s House. Simmons played the part of Schmendiman in the College Theater production of Picasso at the Lapin Agile in April.

McKelvy Scholars are involved in a variety of other activities that enrich the campus community and beyond. For example, Simmons will be a staff member this August with the Kids in the Community summer camp, a program of the Landis Community Outreach Center that serves children who live in public housing. Ponder plays the flute and saxophone in the Jazz Ensemble. Bittner was a residence advisor in the South College residence hall last semester.

Categorized in: Academic News