Holy Family Students Showcase Work at 2021 SEPCHE Honors Conference

SEPCHE Honors Conference

On March 27, Holy Family University hosted the 2021 SEPCHE Honors Conference, a virtual edition of the annual education showcase event for students at the eight independent schools of higher education in southeastern Pennsylvania that constitute SEPCHE (Southeastern Pennsylvania Consortium for Higher Education).

Holy Family was represented by 23 students, who were each nominated by their mentoring professors. The students each presented their work on various subjects, including academics and art.

The virtual event included opening remarks from Sister Maureen McGarrity, CSFN, Ph.D., President, Michael Markowitz, Ph.D., Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Kimberly Dasch-Yee, Ph.D., Honors Program Director.

“It was an honor for Holy Family University to host the 2021 SEPCHE Honors Conference. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our very best students, even in a virtual space, was a rewarding reminder of the inherent value of learning,” said Markowitz. “The success of the day was a tribute to the hard work of all those involved, especially Father Mark Hunt of Holy Family, whose leadership and dedication to our students are an inspiration to us all.”

A full list of presentations by Holy Family University students follows below.


Art Presentations

Matthew Briscella

Title of work: Self Portrait

MEDIUM: Oil Paint

It is important for me to have an overall look and feel I am happy with in my work than it being technically perfect. I do not like to cover up my process and allow the different colors, marks and textures to come together and make a complete piece. If it is just a pencil sketch or a painting I enjoy the process and the build up to the finished piece.


Sabrina De Oliveira

Title of work: Fabric Designs

MEDIUM: Graphic Design

The focus of these art pieces is fabric upholstery. Shapes and colors have always drawn my attention and been my preferred expression of art. Shapes can be manipulated in a multitude of ways to create patterns and colors can enhance that pattern further. Fabric designs help express a person and who they are through the use of furniture, clothing, etc. Fabric designs is the perfect way to demonstrate pattern work.


Alexandra Lipscomb

Title of work: Advanced Studio Project

MEDIUM: Digital photography and photo painting

These illustrations depict women modeling clothes from the store American Eagle. Each illustration started out as a photograph and was then turned into an illustration using the paintbrush tool in Adobe Illustrator. I love photography and graphic design, and this was an exciting and unique way to combine the two. After the illustrations were completed, they were then placed into Adobe InDesign where each design is clickable and information about the clothes that the models are wearing is available.


Kalyn McCann

Title of work: It's a Party!

MEDIUM: Digital

The focus of these five pieces of art is children’s birthday party invitations. I’ve always been one to channel the inner child in me so making these five invitations was really fun. I love creating little illustrations that went along with the five themes which are Dinosaurs, Space, Under the Sea, Circus party and a COVID-19 friendly car parade. Each invitation is filled with loveable characters and vibrant colors.


Colin McKeon

Title of work: Beautiful Trauma

MEDIUM: Acrylic on Canvas

When you finally show the world the real you, it is scary because what if the world doesn’t like you for you? What if you don’t like you for you? With my art I explore a queer narrative centered around anxiety and gender norms. In my painting Beautiful Trauma, I wanted to portray that even though queer people can go through the darkest of times, that in the end, as cliché as it sounds, it does get better and they can blossom despite the trauma.


Ayla Lahiff

Title of work: A Comprehensive Draconic Bestiary

MEDIUM: Pen, ink, and marker

I have created a variety of new, unique, and detailed species of dragons and recorded their history in a short 4-5 page description. Each dragon has its anatomical, physical, and behavioral aspects fleshed out, including how they interact with humans. The art for each dragon was painstakingly hand-drawn and colored with the utmost care. Every dragon in this bestiary was crafted using only imagination and creativity.



Academic Sessions

John McGlynn

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

This presentation is an informative presentation about the chronic, autoimmune disease known as Multiple Sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic, degenerative, progressive disease of the CNS that affects millions of people worldwide. This presentation is designed to discuss what MS is, the history of MS, signs and symptoms of MS, treatments, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.


Freddy Rivera

Life as an older person is not easy, but that does not mean it cannot be enjoyed!

As we age life becomes more difficult since our bodies begin to deteriorate. However, age should not impede an older person from enjoying their life. Throughout this presentation we will be discussing different ways older adults can cope with stress, at the comfort of their own home or at a nursing home. We will discuss how different nursing homes have made arrangements throughout the pandemic to offer their tenants a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable living.


Jacob Gutman

Man and His Scalpel: How Empathy Training of Medical Professionals Was Almost Severed 100 Years Ago

A medical professional is judged based on the interplay of two very important and consecrated ideals: duty to the patient and duty to the world of science. Reviewing the history of empathy training of medical professionals, the Flexner Report stands out as a defining moment in American history in which medical professional training shifted (albeit briefly) away from empathy-based practices. Events and advancements that transpired from this shift are important to revisit and analyze in the absence of revisionism.


Nicholas Godwin

Will COVID-19 Cause Mental Health Illness Due To Changing Brain Chemistry?

The world’s attention has focused on containing COVID-19 and producing a vaccine. COVID-19 primarily causes respiratory distress leading to hospitalizations. However, short-term and long-term psychological effects are not well understood. Patients report mental health decline following infection. Therefore, we examined reports of changing brain chemistry associated with COVID-19. Specifically, addressing the role COVID-19 plays in increasing anxiety and depression. We aim to find if there is a similarity in the brain chemistry between COVID-19 patients and those with affective disorders.


Nina Danko

Effect of SUMO Protease Inhibitors on Interstrand Crosslink Repair in Dictyostelium: A Virtual Proposal

Dictyostelium is a model organism that is important to the study of DNA repair. Interstrand crosslink damage inhibits the processes of transcription and replication of DNA, thus killing the cell. SUMO is a type of post-translational modification involved in DNA repair. This study attempts to explore the role of SUMO protease inhibitors and their effect on the repair of interstrand crosslink damage.


Rachel Ortiz-Wynne

3D Bioprinting: The Change Needed in Medicine

The face of medicine will soon change due to advances in 3D bioprinting. The technique of 3D bioprinting is to combine cells, growth factors, and biomaterials to fabricate biomedical parts that imitate natural tissue characteristics. Using stem cells and other proliferative cells, artificially creating regenerative parts of the cardiovascular system, pulmonary system and skeletal muscle is the future goal of this innovation in medicine; making transplantation more efficient to allow for a higher survival rate of life-threatening diseases.


Yandra Kamberaj

Microbes You Drink

The purpose of the experiment is to see the bacterial growth of water being dispensed from soda machines from various Wawa locations. Water should be the purest liquid dispensed from those machines, which is why it was chosen over sugary drinks. The method used was hands on. Four Wawa locations were selected and will be tested against each other. The agar plates will be incubated at Holy Family.


Aleksandros Deda

Pythagorean Triples

I shall begin by introducing a broad idea of the Pythagorean theorem as it is the backbone of the Pythagorean triples. I shall, then, present a formula that is used to find triples followed by a couple of applications. In addition, I will explain how to, given a counting number n, find the other two, m and k, in order to form a triple. Lastly, I will talk about Fermat's last theorem and how it is applied on Pythagorean triples.


Anjelai Hayes

The Newton-Leibniz Controversy

For centuries, there have been arguments surrounding the discovery of calculus. Many credit Isaac Newton for the discovery because his name is well known. What many people do not know is that Gottfried Leibniz published his work with infinitesimals before Newton thus making him deserving of credit to some extent. The controversy has not be settled to this day and I will be presenting both sides of the argument and describing the different contributions that each mathematician made to calculus.


Sarah Stevens

Applying Graph Theory to Board Games

The full game board for Ticket to Ride lends itself to many concepts in graph theory including properties of vertices and edges, simple graphs and multigraphs, subgraphs, and more.We will analyze the Ticket to Ride board game for strategic locations and routes using its adjacency matrix. An adjacency matrix lists the number of edges (train routes) connecting every pair of vertices (cities) at the intersection of the corresponding row and column. The adjacency matrices will also give us insight into popular starting points and destinations. We were able to calculate exactly how many paths of a given length exist between two vertices in our graph from the resulting matrices.


Kayla Pyrih

The Progression of the U.S. Medical Field, 1820-1920

The United States was not always renowned for its medical care as it is today. In fact, in the early 19th century, it was quite the opposite. Doctors were not properly trained and medical care and knowledge lacked adequacy. An immense period of growth occurred from 1820 to 1920 in several categories of medicine, marking the beginning of medical care as we know it now.


Helena Tran

Sleep Deprivation in College Students

Sleep deprivation is a common problem among college students. There are many factors as to why students are sleep deprived, and many effects that sleep deprivation causes. In my research, I will be talking about the factors that cause lack of sleep, and the effects of lack of sleep in college students. I will also discuss the solutions that college students can try in order to avoid having the issue of sleep deprivation.


Hemani Patel

The Psychosocial Effects of Quarantine on Relationships

The COVID pandemic has caused many struggles for the world's population in many different aspects. When experiencing hardships, this can really affect a person's mental health and their daily lifestyle. Loneliness due to quarantine can have significant psychosocial effects on the development of new relationships or the rekindling of distant relationships.


Matt Shiber

The Impact of COVID-19 on Mental Health in College Students

The project that I have been working on with my mentors Dr. Dasch-Yee and Dr. DeCicco has been on how COVID-19 has potentially impacted the stress and anxiety levels in college students. COVID-19 in essence has affected the world on a large scale and changed the daily lives of everyone. Included in this study is an IRB approved analysis of survey data collected on college students. With this information, I hope to provide a better perspective on what a typical college student has experienced during the pandemic.


Brittney Thompson

Behind the Mask: Psychological Repercussions of COVID-19

Research suggests that there is a positive correlation between psychological distress amidst this time of socio-economic crisis and a vulnerability towards associated stress, anxiety, and depression. This predisposition may further perpetuate psychiatric conditions and the onset of such symptoms in those with maladaptive lifestyles. This presents the question as to whether that could lead to immune system suppression (as stress, lack of exercise, and loneliness have been attributed as risk factors) thereby inexplicably assisting in the spread of the virus.


Liam Tahaney

The Reinstatement of Service on The Bethlehem Branch

The Bethlehem Branch is a disused stretch of rail connecting Lansdale and Bethlehem running roughly parallel to the heavily congested rte309. This project would alleviate major traffic congestion, spark effective community development, increase community safety by decreasing car dependence, and connect Pennsylvania’s first and third largest metropolitan areas via rail. Unique circumstances surrounding the existing infrastructure suggest this project is feasible at a comparatively low cost, especially when considering the multitude of associated benefits.


Marie Dale

Social Media and its Impact on Marketing

This symposium, titled "Social Media and its Impact on Marketing" has a mission to inform its audience of the role that social media plays in understanding how the business world has significantly changed the way they market their goods and services especially through advertising. This symposium is going to provide examples of marketing tactics used in social media when advertising goods or services for maximum exposure and increased profits, by researching current events, studies, and statistics. This educational presentation will bring to light the changes in the media side of advertising due to the influence of social media, through research and real-world examples.


Sara McKinney

Embracing an Uncertainty Mindset

In today’s world, teachers are facing challenges unlike ever before. Embracing an Uncertainty Mindset will help teachers be responsive toward their challenges and take action to solve them. One point that an Uncertainty Mindset focuses on is the importance of teachers taking care of their wellbeing. Teachers should be taking care of their physical, mental, and social-emotional health so that they can show up everyday being the best version of themselves.