Sister Marcella Louise Wallowicz Receives Grant to Research Employee Productivity

Sister Marcella Louise Wallowicz, CSFN, PhD, Assistant Dean in the School of Arts and Sciences and Associate Professor of Mathematics, was the recipient of a competitive grant for summer research facilitated through the generosity of the Clare Boothe Luce (CBL) Program of The Henry Luce Foundation, which supports women majoring in the physical sciences, mathematics, computer science, and engineering fields.

Mathematics major Melissa Cahill ’20 will partner with Sister Marcella Louise on the project, and as a CBL Scholar, will receive a $5,000 summer research internship award. Sister Marcella Louise will receive $1,000 to be used towards the research and up to an additional $800 for any necessary materials.

Sister Marcella Louise and Cahill will collaborate on a research project focusing on the application of sabermetrics to track employee productivity. They will explore employee termination, rehire, salary, and promotion decisions based on performance measures. Their project will examine efforts in the private and corporate sectors in using data and sabermetric analysis to determine salaries and the impact of the different performance incentives on increasing performance. According to Sister Marcella Louis, the goal is to develop a mathematical model for performance evaluation. They plans to present their findings during the 2018 SEPCHE Honors Conference.

Sabermetrics is the application of mathematical and statistical analysis of baseball records. It was developed in the 1970s by baseball historian and statistician Bill James to evaluate and compare the performance of individual players and was popularized in the movie Moneyball. More recently, sabermetrics has been used to evaluate employment productivity.

"There is a pressing need to increase the number of women and other underrepresented groups in STEM fields,” Wallowicz said. “Working with a faculty member on a project enables the student researcher to develop critical-thinking skills, gain first-hand experience of what is involved in research, and make connections between classroom learning and real-world applications. This grant provides Melissa the opportunity to engage in meaningful summer research without worrying about finding and working a summer job to help pay for tuition."

The grant is made possible through the generosity of The Henry Luce Foundation, which awarded SEPCHE schools $194,800 in grant money in 2014 to expand evidence-based teaching approaches, strengthen mentorship of underserved students, expand career exposure opportunities in a way that supports student development across the years, and evolve our institutions’ historic missions to advance women and underserved minorities.