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Senior Monica Patterson (Drexel Hill, Pa.) shines in the classroom and on the field, and this semester she is combining her talents to complete an honors thesis that examines gender discrimination in athletics.

Patterson is taking a close look at the Educational Amendments of 1972 with Helena Silverstein, associate professor of government & law. The two are investigating Title IX, which outlaws gender bias in educational institutions that receive federal funds.

“I chose Title IX because I have played sports all my life,” comments Patterson, a government and law major. “As a female athlete, I want to learn more about the opportunities I have and learn about the difficulties of providing such opportunities.”

Patterson will explore the history, evolution, and current interpretation of Title IX and plans to focus on equal protection violations, which affect male teams that are cut to produce female counterparts, or the applications of Title IX to high school athletics.

“I’m reading a lot of books and articles that claim the next big lawsuits will be in high schools,” says Patterson. “If I take that angle, I want to look at local high schools.”

Silverstein says Patterson is “really enthusiastic and committed” and believes the project will help her refine research skills that will be useful in law school. She will conduct research “from scratch” and compare the law as written to its real-world application, says Silverstein.

Patterson served an internship with Judge Paul P. Panepinto in the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia, where she had the opportunity to work on a number of civil suits.

“I observed cases from jury selection to verdict, viewing medical malpractice suits and an asbestos case,” she says. “I even had the opportunity to work in the Criminal Justice Center, where I witnessed a death penalty verdict in a double-murder case.”

A member of the varsity field hockey team, Patterson has played lacrosse and served as a resident adviser and co-director of Lafayette’s blood drive. She belongs to Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.

Categorized in: Academic News