This week I presented my research at the Celebration of Student Scholarship in ’64 Hall. This was a great experience overall, and it was awesome to see the surprised and intrigued reactions that people had to my research. My topic is generally unknown in the United States so the opportunity to inform others of the new knowledge I have about this topic was fantastic.
The social and political issues that Reinaldo Arenas’ story highlights are just as important today as they were during his lifetime. I am extremely grateful to Providence College for the opportunity to not only conduct this research but also share it with the PC community. Professor Simal and I are going to continue working on perfecting an article to try submit to a review board for publication in the American Journal of Pop Culture. Our article is going to focus on why Arenas chose a pop culture icon like Mona Lisa to transmit his story and base his entire metaphor off on in his short story “Mona.” I am excited to see the finished product (even though it will be completed after graduation). I’m thankful that I have been able to document my research journey here in this blog. It’s been a blast!
Hey Everyone! This week I presented my research at the Celebration of Student Scholarship in ’64 Hall. This was... MORE
Professor Simal and I presented our paper on Reinaldo Arenas at the Northeast Modern Language Association Conference in Hartford, Connecticut, last week. Our essay was entitled “Mona or Reinaldo Arenas: Negotiating Identity through the Lens of HIV/AIDS.” I personally presented the paper that Professor Simal and I wrote together, and she presented another paper she had written for the conference. We had 10 minutes to present each piece.
I wrote up a focused summary of what our paper contained and analyzed our main points within those 10 minutes. I was definitely nervous, but everyone on the panel and those who attended the panel were very warm, inviting, and respectful. Panelists presented in both Spanish and English and my personal presentation was in English. Professor Simal presented in Spanish (her native language). The discussion that followed the eight panelists’ presentations was cut short because our presentations ran over time. However, the short discussion was engaging, interesting, and drew similarities between the very different topics of all eight panelists to show how auto-fiction can serve independent authors’ purposes.
This was a great learning experience and a wonderful way to share some of the hard work that Professor Simal and I have done with others in a community that really appreciates the kind of research we have been engaged in since last summer. Another panelist approached me after the discussion to tell me how intriguing she thought our points were about how Arenas used auto-fiction with respect to his short “Mona.” She particularly liked that we read the story differently than the critic Jorge Olivares.
I am extremely appreciative to both Providence College and Professor Simal for making my attendance at this conference possible. I would recommend going after or taking opportunities like this to any other student in the humanities. To be surrounded by other academics who share your passion from other institutions, different backgrounds, and who speak different languages is a phenomenal experience. Professor Simal and I will now be re-working our essay with the intent to publish a piece in a popular culture journal. I will also be presenting on our essay at the college’s Celebration of Scholarship on April 20th. I am very excited for this next step in my learning process and will keep you all updated!
Thank for reading,
Hey Everyone, Professor Simal and I presented our paper on Reinaldo Arenas at the Northeast Modern Language Association Conference in... MORE
Hello again! Thanks for checking in on my research blog; I’m excited to share everything that I’ve been up to since my last post. As I mentioned before, Dr. Hackey and I recently published a piece in JAMA regarding the health insurance marketplace, and we decided that we wanted to continue with the same topic but also expand our research.
This year we had the amazing Sabrina Guilbeault (PC ’18) join our research team to help work on our next publication! As a team, the three of us have been hard at work creating and establishing a report card for state health insurance marketplaces (51 to be exact since we included Washington, D.C.). Specifically, we are calculating and developing a report card using four key measures to grade the performance of various marketplaces through the end of the second open enrollment period that concluded in March 2015.
The project has been incredibly exciting — I love the fact that I, a student, get to be the one grading others since I am so used to being on the receiving end for schoolwork! My specific role for our research was to serve as data analyst. I really enjoy working with Excel spreadsheets, figuring out calculations by manipulating data with formulas, making graphs and charts, etc.
We submitted our application and grant request for this research project early last summer. Since then, we’ve spent countless hours analyzing data, comparing data, writing drafts, and going through multiple stages of review with our supervisors at The Collaborative. Although the process has been long and arduous, I am happy to say that we have finalized our paper and have submitted it to The Collaborative!
Next on our plates will be to meet with the graphic design group to figure out how we want our graphs, tables, and charts displayed within our work. I am very excited and anxious to see what the graphics will look like — I have a feeling that it will add a lot of visual appeal to our paper and allow readers to better understand our analysis. Most importantly, Dr. Hackey, Sabrina, and I have been getting organized for the public policy speaker series event held on April 1. At this event, our research team, along with two other research teams, will be presenting our work to the executive board at The Collaborative and other prominent Rhode Island public policy figures. I am beyond nervous for this event — I’ve never been the best at public speaking — but I know that it will all go smoothly!
Wish us luck!
Peace, love & health policy,
Erika May ’16
Hello again! Thanks for checking in on my research blog; I’m excited to share everything that I’ve been up to... MORE
Here’s a quick update on my research! Professor Simal and I have been prepping our paper for the Northeast Modern Language Conference coming up next month. We have fine-tuned our ample research on Reinaldo Arenas to show how his use of auto-fiction in his short story “Mona” is an act of resistance against the stigma he lived under in both Cuba and America as a homosexual with AIDS.
Arenas identified himself as a homosexual through his use of auto-fiction in “Mona” — not only as a homosexual but as a sick individual, too. Jorge Olivares in his book, Becoming Reinaldo Arenas, interpreted “Mona” as a story of complicity and despair. He essentially interpreted it as Arenas conceding defeat to the persecution of the societies he lived in and the disease he contracted. I disagree with this reading of the story, and although Olivares does not use the framework of auto-fiction to analyze the story, I believe that it is the use of auto-fiction makes this work an act of resistance.
Everything about Arenas’ life was about owning exactly who he was. He was an outspoken gay activist and politicized almost everything he did, including his suicide, as I mentioned in my last post. “Mona” is a densely symbolic work, which is why I find it so rewarding to work with. We will continue working on our paper up until the submission date and I will update everyone on how the conference goes!
Hey Everyone, Here’s a quick update on my research! Professor Simal and I have been prepping our paper for the... MORE
Welcome to my new student research blog! My name is Erika May, and I’m a senior here at Providence College, which means I will sadly have to say goodbye to my home-away-from-home in just a few short months. I was born and raised in the great state of New Jersey where I enjoyed many summers spent “down the shore” taking endless road trips listening to Bruce Springsteen.
I entered PC undeclared, but after taking a truly fascinating and inspiring course in the summer following my freshman year, “HPM101,” with Dr. Hackey, I quickly knew that I wanted to declare Health Policy and Management (HPM) as my major. The major itself takes an interdisciplinary approach to studying the relationship between health and society where professors offer a variety of courses for students who will lead in the development of healthier communities through professional practice, research, and service. In addition, I am an art history minor, simply because I have a passion for the arts and enjoy learning as much as I can about the subject matter.
Following the completion of the HPM course I just mentioned, Dr. Hackey reached out to me and offered me a research assistant position within the HPM department. I was, still am, and will continue to be incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work alongside Dr. Hackey — a brilliant, passionate professor who truly loves doing what he does. I started working on some small projects here and there, but it was not until the fall of my junior year when research became a huge part of my academic career. Dr. Hackey and I were in the middle of working on an independent study when we started chatting about the current states’ marketplace enrollment data with the newly implemented Affordable Care Act (ACA). State marketplaces are resources where individuals, families, and small businesses can learn about their health coverage options; compare health insurance plans based on costs, benefits, and other important features; choose a plan; and enroll in coverage. The marketplace also provides information on programs that help people with low to moderate income and resources to pay for coverage. I began to conduct research and input data into Excel spreadsheets on all three types of the health insurance marketplaces (SBMs, FFMs, SPMs) in all 50 states, including Washington, D.C., in the years 2014-2015. After many months of analysis and data calculations, Dr. Hackey and I co-authored a paper titled, “Performance of Health Insurance Marketplaces,” which was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association in July 2015.
My research this semester builds off my previous publication. Over the summer, Dr. Hackey, Sabrina Guilbeault, and I received exciting news that we would be offered a grant from The Collaborative to continue building off our previous research. During the past four months, we have been hard at work creating and establishing a report card for state health insurance marketplaces. Yes, you heard me correctly; we will be giving each state a grade (A-F) along with a GPA (4.00-0.00) based on four key measures to compare the performance of all 51 marketplaces (50 states plus the District of Columbia) at the end of the second enrollment period in March 2015. We are hoping that our results will offer insights into how well the health insurance marketplaces fulfilled the goals established by the ACA. Stay tuned to see our progress and to learn more!
Peace, love & health policy,
Hello all! Welcome to my new student research blog! My name is Erika May, and I’m a senior here at... MORE