Notice of Online Archive

  • This page is no longer being updated and remains online for informational and historical purposes only. The information is accurate as of the last page update.

    For questions about page contents, contact the Communications Division.

“I’m learning so much in such a short time,” says Shana Hennigan ’01 of Moscow, Pa., a graduate of Scranton Preparatory School. “Professor Ahene and I have lots of question-and-answer sessions, lots of back-and-forth discussions. This experience of reading, researching, and synthesizing information will definitely help me in the future.”

Broadening her academic focus beyond English to include economics and business encouraged Marquis Scholar Shana Hennigan to explore new disciplines. When the opportunity arose to work as an EXCEL research assistant with Rexford A. Ahene, associate professor of economics and business, Hennigan was eager to sign on.

“I wanted to learn more about economics and I wanted something more than just a traditional classroom experience,” she says.

Hennigan and Ahene are investigating the extent to which structural adjustments and market reforms have succeeded in enabling the urban land and housing markets to function in the emerging economies of African nations.

Focusing on Ghana and Tanzania, they are exploring ways of improving the efficiency of unofficial land and housing markets.

“Recent research has shown that the informal delivery system of land and housing in many cities in Africa is a major economic enterprise, and it is very complex,” explains Ahene, a World Bank consultant on land-policy reforms in East Africa who also served as principal land-policy advisor to the government of Tanzania.

“The system is intertwined with municipal, provincial, and state bureaucracies, and is an avenue by which vested economic and political interests have established a major stake in the status quo. We haven’t paid enough attention to individual agents and organizations — as opposed to official agencies — that do a lot of the work in land-delivery systems. We’re trying to articulate parallel policy trends that define how markets actually work.”

Identifying the key players in land transactions and defining their roles has enormous policy implications, particularly concerning international financial aid, Ahene says. Hennigan has immersed herself in the subject.

“I’ve done a lot of background reading on land markets, looking at the historical situation and the current state of affairs in these countries,” she says. She hopes to co-author research documents and papers with Ahene. “This EXCEL project is very interesting. It’s difficult at times, but definitely in-depth. I’d certainly recommend it.”

Ahene says, “Shana has just finished her sophomore year, yet already she is excited about her major. In this project she is learning the techniques and critical evaluation necessary to contribute to scholarship. She’s developing the expertise to formulate a question, approach it critically, and comment on it.

“She is an excellent student who grasps concepts quickly,” Ahene continues. “What she learns here will lay a foundation for her to improve in other work.”

“I’m learning so much in such a short time,” says Hennigan. “Professor Ahene and I have lots of question-and-answer sessions, lots of back-and-forth discussions. This experience of reading, researching, and synthesizing a lot of information will definitely help me in the future.”

Another Side of Shana

She is a member of a Lafayette Technology Clinic team studying Easton’s historic Jacob Bachmann Tavern for use as a major educational and tourism facility.

Built in 1753 when Easton was only two years old, the Bachmann Tavern is the city’s oldest standing structure and most important historic site. The Easton Heritage Alliance, the city’s historic preservation organization, owns and maintains the building and is conducting a major capital campaign to fund its restoration.

In a year-long study, the Tech Clinic team is developing scenarios and financial analyses for the future use of the tavern. Tech Clinics are upper-level courses in which small teams of students of different disciplines apply what they have learned in school to help sponsoring businesses, non-profit organizations and government agencies solve real-life challenges.

Hennigan is also a gifted fiction writer, says Lee Upton, professor of English and the first Lafayette faculty member to hold the title of writer-in-residence.

“She submitted one of the strongest stories I’ve ever received at any level,” Upton says. “There’s a wonderful subtlety and sophistication to her writing. She’s a jewel to have as a student.”

Hennigan is executive chair of the Lafayette Activities Forum. She has worked as a tour guide for the admissions office.

Categorized in: News and Features