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  • This page is no longer being updated and remains online for informational and historical purposes only.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.

Elizabeth Cassidy ’05 (Norwalk, Conn.) is conducting research to shed light on how national and international organizations combat domestic violence in Central and Eastern Europe.

“Being an American, I take for granted the enormous legal aid available to me. However, many Europeans are hindered by cultural biases where it is acceptable for a man to beat his wife,” says Cassidy, a double major in government & law and geology. “Hopefully through this study, we’ll understand what works and does not work in regards to changing the cultural norms. If we do not change cultural norms, then we will struggle to make any significant impact.”

Cassidy is working with Katalin Fabian, assistant professor of government and law, through Lafayette’s EXCEL Scholars program, in which students assist faculty with research while earning a stipend. The program has helped to make Lafayette a national leader in undergraduate research. Many of the more than 160 students who participate each year share their work through articles in academic journals and/or conference presentations.

“As an EXCEL Scholar, Liz has gained extensive knowledge about the communist past and the post-communist period,” says Fabian. “She also has learned about policies related to equality and women in a comparative perspective, as well as studied how the economic and political transitions of the 1990s affected governments and their relationship to the international community.”

“She has pursued pertinent scholarly literature and contacted various international and national organizations for detailed information about the policy-making process concerning domestic violence,” she adds.

Cassidy, who began the project this summer and is continuing in the fall and spring semesters, says projects like these help Lafayette stand out as an institution.

“I believe that Lafayette provides a very good education because it offers a wide array of opportunities to its students, including research projects. Research is certainly encouraged at this campus, which makes it more enjoyable,” she says.

“Liz has taken two higher-level classes with me, where she performed excellently,” says Fabian. “Since we worked together in the European Union class in the fall of 2003, she was in a good position to research how the European Union influenced the policy processes of the Central European accession countries. She is especially keen on developing legal-based knowledge and this research provide the opportunity to compare legal responses to domestic violence in a comparative framework.”

Cassidy recently began work on a yearlong honors thesis on the impact of the Clean Air Act.

“This EXCEL project certainly has shown me how to manage research that I also am doing in my thesis project,” says Cassidy, who also believes that her involvement in EXCEL will prove extremely beneficial when she applies to law school.

“Undergraduate research in the area that I am working in is certainly viewed as a plus, especially in comparison with other students who do not have this opportunity,” she says.

A member of Crew Club and the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, Cassidy takes private piano lessons, serves as teaching assistant for Geological Disasters: Agents of Chaos, and is an admissions tour guide. She participated in last year’s European Union Simulation, has taken interim session courses in Hawaii and Eastern Europe, and sung in Concert Choir.

As a national leader in undergraduate research, Lafayette sends one of the largest contingents to the National Conference on Undergraduate Research each year. Forty-two students were accepted to present their work at the last annual conference in April.

Categorized in: Academic News