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  • This page is no longer being updated and remains online for informational and historical purposes only.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

When Trustee Scholar Veronica Hart ’05 (Sewanee, Tenn.) spent a semester in Spain, she learned how the legacy of dictator Francisco Franco affected an entire generation — and witnessed the revolutionary changes the country has experienced in the decades since his death.

Hart, a double major in Spanish and economics & business, is drawing from that experience this year in yearlong honors thesis research that examines the role of women and their national and individual identity in Spain under Franco and in the subsequent democratic state.

“The project looks at identity change through literature — the novels of Carmen Martin Gaite, Merce Rodoreda — and in the economy — time-series trends in unemployment, labor force participation, specific industries,” she says, explaining that she’s examining the common trends between the two to get a broader definition of women’s position at the time.

“I decided to do this project because I wanted to incorporate issues that were important to me in both disciplines of study,” Hart says. “I was particularly drawn to looking at the women’s perspective in this time period because of a seminar class I took on Spanish women’s literature with Dr. [Michelle] Geoffrion-Vinci [associate professor and assistant head of foreign languages & literatures].”

Hart says she chose Howard Bodenhorn, professor of economics and business, and Denise Galarza Sepúlveda, assistant professor of foreign languages and literatures, as her research advisers mainly because she had built close relationships with them in her time at Lafayette.

“It is key to know the person you are doing in-depth research with to make sure that progress can be made and the group will work as a team to support independent research,” she says.

Hart previously worked with Bodenhorn to examine how race affected crime and punishment in the 19th century. The project was part of Lafayette’s distinctive EXCEL Scholars program, in which students conduct research with faculty 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.

Bodenhorn is author of two major works on banking in early America, including a book published last year by Oxford University Press and a prior volume published by Cambridge University Press. The former, State Banking in Early America: A New Economic History, was nominated for the prestigious Alice Hanson Jones Prize, awarded every other year by the Economic History Association for the outstanding book in North American history His insightful research has been recognized by grants from organizations such as the National Science Foundation, awards from two economics journals, and appointment as a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Hart met Galarza Sepúlveda when she declared her Spanish major.

“She became my departmental adviser and suggested early on, shortly after I declared my major, that I should write a thesis,” Hart says. “I took her advice to heart and followed through. Without the encouragement of my professors, I would not be where I am today, writing a thesis under well-guided academic direction.”

Galarza Sepúlveda believes Hart’s years studying Spanish at Lafayette and her study abroad in Madrid have given her a linguistic fluency and cultural literacy that have proven invaluable in her present research.

“The rigor with which she approaches this honors project is apparent in our weekly discussions, which are conducted entirely in Spanish,” she says. “She is a student who contributes greatly to Lafayette’s commitment to academic excellence.”

Galarza Sepúlveda’s area of specialization is colonial Latin American literature. She is working on a book-long manuscript entitled Writing the Walls of the City: Immigrant Evils and Proto-Nationalist Strategies in Eighteenth-Century Peru.

“Professors can dedicate themselves to truly help you succeed,” Hart says. “They want to make sure you learn through the process. Without such one-on-one attention, it would not be possible to undertake such an endeavor.”

She adds that she’s pleased with both of her majors.

“Lafayette is a good place to study both Spanish and economics & business because it offers comprehensive and wide-spanning curricula for a school so small,” she says. “By knowing your professors, having small classes, and having excellent resources, such as computer labs, it is possible to succeed.”

Hart is vice president of finance for the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority and a member of the Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Delta Pi (Spanish), and Omicron Delta Epsilon (economics) honor societies, Alternative School Break, Hispanic Society of Lafayette, and Holla Back, a coalition of students and organizations committed to organizing events and distributing accurate information related to the recent election. She is a recipient of the Eugene P. Chase Phi Beta Kappa Prize, serves as a peer tutor, and plays intramural sports.

Selected from among Lafayette’s top applicants, Trustee Scholars such as Hart have distinguished themselves through exceptional academic achievement in high school. They receive from Lafayette an annual minimum scholarship of $7,500 to $8,000 or a grant in the full amount of their demonstrated need if the need is more.

Categorized in: Academic News