2022 - 2023 Student Fellows

Emily Amershek

Project: “For Richer or Poorer: An Examination of the Indigent as a Non-Suspect Class Under the Equal Protection Clause”

Mentor: Dr. Jason Shrive, Criminal Justice

This project will investigate constitutional jurisprudence with regard the poor’s relationship to the Equal Protection Clause; in particular, it will examine the open question of the scrutiny level of the indigent class. Towards this end, the project will explore the negative consequences of the presently non-suspect classification of the indigent, such as inequalities in education, bail practices, and due process rights. Finally, the project will evaluate the advantages of classifying the indigent as a suspect class.

Clara Downey

Project: “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women”

Mentor: Dr. Adam Pratt, History

This project will examine the relevant history of federal Indian law, focusing in particular on the epidemic that is missing and murdered indigenous women in the United States. It will draw on historical resources, government files, personal tribal testimony, and various other sources of data to build a better understanding of the epidemic and how we might begin to tackle it.

Nicholas Jonas

Project: “God, Courage, and Covid”

Mentor: Dr. Patrick Clark, Theology

The project will explore the discourse around the belief in God, and how this relates to the virtue of courage and the role of theistic belief in the exhibition of courage during a pandemic, such as COVID-19. The critical points for discussion will focus on the causes of theistic belief in an individual or population, how this theistic belief comes to shape and inform courage, and how courage exhibited in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic can be construed as an exercise of faith. The project will draw on methods from both philosophy and theology, and will likewise draw on data derived from the social sciences.

John Nelson

Project: “The Robotic Iconographer: An Investigation and Robotic Recreation of Scranton’s Icons”

Mentor: Dr. Steven Dougherty, Math

The goals of this project are twofold. The first goal will be to investigate the rich iconography of the Scranton area, focusing on history and religious significance. The second goal of this project will be to create a robot that is capable of painting icons. Iconography has a specific set of rules for painting that involves layering paint from dark to light, and working slowly to create shadowing and detail. The robot will be created from scratch, and by mapping the image through G-code, the robot will be able transfer the image onto a canvas following the rules of iconography. 

Emily Sanchez

Project: “Does Liberal Education Belong in Elementary Schools?”

Mentor: Dr. Darryl DeMarzio, Education

The goal of this project will be to examine whether there is a positive link between liberal learning and the education of young children. Towards this end, this project will seek to: (1) define the purpose of liberal education; (2) show the ways that culture and education affect each other, and therefore, affect our views of the world and ourselves; and (3) show how this specific style/motive of learning can benefit not only adults, but also elementary school children. 

Joshua Vituszynski

Project: “Faulkner’s Deconstructive Voices: Navigating the Humbug Narration of Absalom, Absalom!”

Mentor: Dr. Joe Kraus, English

Much of William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! consists of Quentin Compson and Shreve McCannon’s fictional surmises. These college-aged characters grapple with the Old South’s legacy by constructing their own vision of the rise and fall of Thomas Sutpen, a fabled slaveholder. This project will argue that Quentin and Shreve’s narration employs a deconstructive language that undermines truth. The project will accomplish this task by analyzing the novel using the thought of contemporary philosopher Harry G. Frankfurt, who calls this type of language“humbug.” The project will demonstrate how “humbug” offers Quentin and Shreve a gateway to narcissism. It will argue that Quentin and Shreve do not truly try to understand Sutpen’s story and the implications the story has on the Old South’s legacy, but, rather, that the two characters frame Sutpen’s story in self-serving fashions. The project will discuss the ramifications of Quentin and Shreve’s “humbug,” reflect on how “humbug” relates to the whole of literary postmodernism, and, finally, propose that an awareness of “humbug’s” function can aid one in recognizing threats to the capacity for truth-telling in other contexts. The project will, in part, juxtapose humbuggery – an evasion of truth – with discernment – a commitment to engagement with truth. Thus, the project will attempt to reconsider postmodernism’s position in relation to Ignatian thought.