English Majors Conduct Summer Research Via Casey Fellowship

English Majors Conduct Summer Research

Monday, June 22, 2015

Seniors Erin DeGregorio, Costin Thampikutty, and junior Cadeem Harris are spending the summer months working on original research projects under the Donald R. ’63 and Pamela L. ’95 Casey Endowed Summer Fellowship Program. The fellowships provide an opportunity for students to work with a faculty member to delve deeper into topics they were introduced to during the academic year.

DeGregorio is working on the topic of zombies’ evolution into a cultural phenomenon with Lisa Nevarez, Ph.D. Her research will focus on the hit television series “The Walking Dead.” “I'm a huge fan of the show, so researching something I know pretty well makes the whole project easier, more understandable and fun than something I would hardly be interested in,” DeGregorio said.

Thampikutty is using the fellowship to support an honors thesis that will explore the rhetorical framework of how hip-hop artists have spoken on nationally recognized incidents of police brutality.

He is working Todd Snyder, Ph.D., who teaches Rhetoric of Hip-Hop that Thampikutty took last spring. “Hip-hop is often looked at negatively by the media and I want to help improve that by highlighting its academic merit. Police brutality has long been discussed by hip-hop artists, and I want to find similarities and differences in ways it has been discussed from the past to present, to understand the significance of these patterns,” said Thampikutty.

Harris’ research focus is the viewpoints of African American writers during the early and mid-1800’s. He is working with Chingyen Mayer, Ph.D., who teaches African American literature. “I discovered this topic in my Survey of American Literature class with Dr. Mayer and it really stuck with me,” said Harris.

All three students have received a stipend for travel, living expenses, books and other research supplies thanks to the Caseys’ generosity.

Donald R. Casey ’63 graduated from Siena with a bachelor’s degree in English and went on to work for McGraw-Hill and The New York Times from the 1970’s to the early 2000’s. At the end of his career in 2002, Casey gave a monetary gift to Siena, which was then matched by The New York Times. This was the inception of the Casey Summer Fellowship.

“He had a wonderful experience at Siena and wanted to pay it back if you will.”

Siena is most grateful to Mr. Casey for his support of student leaning.