Category Archives: students

CWAA Mythbusters

The Center for Writing and Academic Achievement (CWAA) is located on the third floor of the library and offers free peer tutoring and writing consultations. Our subject tutors strive to help students understand course material, apply concepts on assignments, and perform well on exams, while our writing consultants work closely with students to enhance their writing. We’re out to bust some myths and misconceptions about the services we offer. Read on to see what the CWAA can do for you!

  • Myth: You need to be doing poorly in a course to seek help.
    Fact: It can be beneficial to attend a tutoring session simply to maintain a consistent understanding of the material. This might mean coming in even if you’re doing well in the class to stay on the right track.
  • Myth: You need to have a completed paper in order to work with a writing consultant.
    Fact: We encourage students to come in during any stage of the writing process. Whether you are still working on developing ideas, focusing on incorporating evidence, or fine-tuning your thesis, we can help alleviate your concerns and suggest new methods to better prepare you for the next paper.
  • Myth: Group tutoring sessions are not as productive as individual sessions.
    Fact: Sometimes learning from your peers is just as effective as learning from a tutor. Having a conversation about the material can create a clearer understanding of the content, and may even offer a new perspective.
  • Myth: If you come to the CWAA, you can get answers to your homework or an A on your paper.
    Fact: We emphasize comprehension over getting the answers. Our goal is to encourage the learning and writing process. We want to help students understand critical concepts so they can apply them independently in the future. Therefore, the tutors will not give you answers, but instead help you develop the necessary skills to reach the answer on your own. Likewise, meeting with a writing consultant will not guarantee you an A on your paper, but rather will empower you to communicate efficiently and become a more confident writer.
  • Myth: All Writing Consultants are English majors.
    Fact: Our staff consists of consultants from all disciplines, including political science, biology, religious studies, and economics. Each consultant enrolls in a semester-long course prior to working in the center to develop a skillset for assisting students with writing in any subject.
  • Myth: Attending a subject tutoring session can serve as a replacement for going to class.
    Fact: Tutoring should be used as a supplement to lecture material, not as a replacement.
  • Myth: You can only meet with a writing consultant on a paper for a course.
    Fact: Writing consultants are also trained to help with nonacademic writing, such as scholarship essays, personal statements, and cover letters.
  • Myth: You need to set up an appointment in order to meet with a writing consultant.
    Fact: Writing consultations are on a walk-in basis, so making an appointment is not necessary! However, if you’d like to meet with a professional tutor, limited appointments are available through the CWAA website.

Students who come to the CWAA know the benefits of tutoring. As one student said, “Walking into the CWAA, I was thoroughly confused on the material, but when I left I felt as though I had a much clearer understanding, and felt significantly more confident walking into class the next day.” Another student commented on an experience with a writing consultant, stating that “the [consultant] really made me think about… what would make the paper stronger, instead of telling me what to do.” Ultimately, the goal of CWAA subject tutors and writing consultants is to facilitate learning and encourage confidence. Our schedule for writing and other subjects can be found on the CWAA website. We hope to see you soon!

Your CWAA Mythbusters are Senior Tutors Joe Conti, ’18, Cassie Daisy, ’18, and Olivia Peterson ’18.

Deirdre Clifford’s Library Internship

Deirdre Clifford ’16 worked as an intern in the library working for the Web & Social Media team.  The library is grateful for Deirdre’s creativity and contributions.


During the spring of 2016, Deirdre Clifford ’16 worked as in intern for the MacPhaidin Library’s Web and Social Media Team. We were thrilled to have Deirdre work with us, voicing valuable opinions about marketing library services to students and writing articles for the library’s blog and newsletter. Deirdre hoped to get experience in marketing, content generation and research before looking for work in the publishing field after graduation.

In Deirdre’s own words:

I would strongly recommend Stonehill students interested in publishing to work with the MacPhaidin Library’s Web and Social Media Team. The experience I earned and the skills I acquired go a long way in developing understanding of a field like publishing. The team is devoted to working with students to help them learn the skills they need. There is an ideal mix of flexibility and responsibility that is invaluable to a student looking to really learn from their internship experience.




Money Smart Week 2016

MoneySmartWeekThe American Library Association in conjunction with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is sponsoring Money Smart Week taking place April 23-30, 2016.  Take control of your personal finances with resources available from Money Smart Week.  There are lots of websites and apps available to help you budget and control spending.

Student Deirdre Clifford ’16 reviewed You Need A Budget (YNAB)

The biggest fear that college brings is no longer from classes, exams, or papers. For many, it is from student loans. With each student adding more to their loans each year, the idea of them can seem more and more over whelming. The idea of leaving college becomes even more intimidating when this new and growing worry is added to the mix. What is even more worrisome is the fact the many students do not know how to approach and handle their loans. Fear from this unknown can way you down until you take the time to fully consider the means of managing things like student loans once and for all. 

There is good news for us! YNAB is now free to use for college students. We know have access to YNAB4 while in school and can use their resources to graduate with less debt. 

YNAB uses four simple rules to help people pay off debt. Rule number one is give every dollar a job: this means prioritizing where your money goes. You can figure out the best way to manage an budget the money you earn so it is used most effectively. The second rule YNAB offers is to embrace your true expenses. This idea combines thing like set payments, unexpected payments and future payments do that they all begin to feel like monthly payments with some organization and planning. This leads into the third rule which states: roll with the punches. By having a clear and set plan in place, unexpected expenses can be handled without fear or panic. The final rule is to age your money. This rule pushes people to hold on to the money they make for longer. This leads to more money security and better financing. 

YNAB is offering their services free to students to help them get ahead of their loans. They can teach you how to take control of your money in less than an hour and lead you through their four steps more efficiently. 

Student Kenneth Gillpatrick ’16 reviews two personal finance apps:

Is managing your money not a strong suit? As college students, we are constantly struggling to monitor our spending habits. One solution is take out your smartphone (which a majority of us have) and download a few personal finance apps. Mint and Check are two great apps that allow you to budget your money, and provide you with a visual of where your money is spent. Personally, I prefer Mint because I am the type of person to use my debit card for most, if not all, of my transactions.  For people that prefer to spend cash, the app makes it somewhat difficult to track cash expenditures. Nonetheless, these apps will aid anyone trying to track their personal finances, and they can even tame the most reckless of spenders.

Student Chris Bruno ’16 reviewed two websites:
My Money
After spending sometime reviewing the MyMoney website it is clear that this site is a great tool for people of all ages who are looking for ways to control their money. The primary purpose of the website is to help students understand the risks and opportunities that college students are mostly susceptible to. The use of tabs at the top of the screen allows the website to be very easily navigable and it allows the viewer to find the main points with minimal difficulties. A big aspect of MyMoney is the “MyMoney Five” feature. This part of the site allows the viewer to look at the five most important building blocks for making the most of one’s money. The five keys are: spending, earning, saving/investing, protecting, and borrowing. The website features tabs for all five of these categories and ultimately makes it a focal point for the site. Overall is a great website for anyone trying to make the most out of their money and I recommend the site to all college students.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
The FDIC website is a great tool for anyone looking to manage their money more carefully. With quick links to tips about borrowing money, saving money, managing your bank accounts and much more, the site offers a variety of advice. While exploring the different features of the website a unique feature that I took interest in was the “Scams and Thefts” tab. This quick link takes you to a part of the website which explores many different risks that college students are highly acceptable to. Whether it’s how to avoid fraud, or protecting your privacy, this link allows the viewer to get a wide variety of scams and illegal actives that could involve one’s money. FDIC also provides many links to other websites that can give you more information about a specific financial topic that you may be interested in. Overall, the FDIC website is a starting point which offers an abundance of information for someone who is looking to manage their money better or perhaps learn about the risks that are involved with managing money.

For more information about Money Smart Week, please contact the Reference Librarians for more assistance by email or by phone at 508-565-1103.

Come See Works by Our Newest Stonehill Authors

image1This fall, through the FLPP partnership program, students in Stephen Pinzari and Heather Perry’s Children’s Literature class tried their hand at creating an original children’s book.  Each student studied the elements of literature and design then selected a genre in which to create their own children’s book. The works of these debut authors will be on display at the library and may perhaps inspire others to try their hand at authorship.

The students covered many diverse topics, from sibling jealousy to the plight of the Piping Plover. One student wrote an ABC book profiling amazing women of the world.  They employed a variety of techniques from original poetry to sequential story telling. The creativity and wide range to topics explored was truly impressive.

Throughout the course of the semester the students had the opportunity to work with professional artist, Greg Marathas, to learn the elements of design. The authors applied these elements to their illustrations to most effectively communicate their messages. The students used a variety of artistic techniques to create the illustrations for their books. One students used photography to bring a fire station to life, another skillfully manipulated photos to create just the right mood to celebrate the joy of a new family member. Another student painted the backdrop for two friends on an exciting adventure. Students effectively used their artistic skills to bring their stories to life.

The students used a program called Blurb, which guides you smoothly through the creation process.

Two new authors reflected on their experiences:

  1. Kelsey Friedman who wrote on the adventures of two caterpillars said:

    The most important part to me in making my children’s book was the illustrations. Growing up I always found art as a way of expressing myself so creating a book where I could represent that for other people to see was a great experience.

  2. Kristina Colon said:

    I have a passion for diversity and inclusion. I believe children at a young age should learn and be exposed to situations that they might encounter in the future. The book I created, Color Me Diverse, explains in a short, yet simple way what it means to be diverse.

I was very impressed with the creativity and originality of these student creations, and I am sure you will as well.  The books will be on display at the library in front of the circulation desk; the books do not circulate, but you are encouraged to come and take a look at the students’ hard work!

Students taking Children’s literature this semester, or planning to take it in the future, can take inspiration from the work of this cohort of students.

By Heather Perry

Writing and Peer Tutoring

lizchaseStudents in Devon Sprague’s Writing and Peer Tutoring class are working with librarian Liz Chase as part of the Faculty Librarian Partnership Program. In this class, students take part in a practicum that prepares them to work as writing tutors in the CWAA. Throughout the course, students enhance their own writing process through weekly posts, short narrative pieces, and research-driven assignments.

During their meetings over the summer and fall, Devon and Liz worked to scaffold the major research assignment for the course, an Applied Theory Essay. This essay gives students an opportunity to connect the theory they’ve read to the practice of tutoring; students are also encouraged to bring their own disciplinary experiences and interests to their research, which could focus on topics as varied as writing as a process, the rhetorical nature of texts, feminism, queer theory, or multiliteracy theory.

Over the course of the assignment, students will have an initial class session with Liz Chase in which they begin the process of brainstorming a research question and developing search strategies. Students will pursue their research independently, then meet with Liz individually to discuss their progress, the sources they’ve found, the questions they have, and the gaps in their research they’d like to fill. A significant portion of students’ grade on the final assignment will evaluate their research process, research question, the quality of their scholarly articles, and how they are incorporated into their final paper.

Ultimately, the goal is for students to develop a reflective, deeper, and more intentional approach to tutoring. Additionally, original and outstanding essays may be submitted for consideration for publication, or to the National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing as a presentation proposal.


Modernism and Movement

mcpherson.pic_Students in Professor Scott Cohen’s Modernism and Movement class are studying the works of Virginia Wolf, Joseph Conrad, Jean Rhys, and Jules Verne and investigating how their works represent a response to advancements in technology during that era.

They’re viewing those classic works through the lens of late 19th century and early 20th century artifacts – such as maps of an expanded London subway system, photographs from expeditions to the Congo and historical news reports about the development of the telegraph and air transportation.

This exploration is being made possible, in part, through modern technological advancements that allow them discover access archival material, share it and, ultimately, create new knowledge.

As part of the FLPP program, students in Prof. Cohen’s class meet frequently in the Library’s DisCo – the Flynn Discovery and Collaboration Space – to take advantage of the room’s tech rich features which allows them to wirelessly share and collaborate on information they have gathered on their iPads. With the cooperation of the college’s IT Department, each student has been provided with an iPad for the course.

Much of the archival material students are examining comes from digital collections in libraries, universities and museums around the world. Other items come from the library’s proprietary databases – such as JSTOR. Prof. Cohen and Librarian Trish McPherson are working together to collect those resources on the class OneNote page – which provide a repository to primary source materials for easy access.

As the students begin work on their final projects for the course, they’ll work with Ms. McPherson to locate scholarly works that will help inform their research.


Conflict Analysis and Resolution

sml_jane_swiszcz[1]Professor Anna Ohanyan’s students enrolled in her International Conflict Analysis and Resolution class are using the Library’s Armed Conflict Database, along with several open source datasets websites, to gather quantitative data, a major component of the research paper.

Reference Librarian Jane Swiszcz is paired with Prof. Ohanyan this semester through the Faculty Librarian Partnership Program, and works closely with Prof. Ohanyan to find resources that will benefit class and keep them informed on current conflicts, and the methods used to hopefully resolve the situation.  While searching for datasets for the class LibGuide, Jane discovered a new website that reported on the use Private Security companies in conflicts, adding a new dimension to conflict research.  


Spain Today

heatherperryStudents in SPA 337 Spain Today with Juan Carlos Martin are exploring issues facing contemporary Spain.  More than just beautiful beaches, exciting futbol, and wonderful food, Spain is a modern economy facing a number of challenges, including changing demographics, high unemployment, and a changing economy. The course explores Post-Franco Spain, and students are performing research on a topic that delves more deeply into their subject matter. Students will develop a research question, explore their topic extensively, and report their findings in a paper and a presentation, written and delivered in Spanish. Students in Spain Today rise to a considerable challenge, because for most of them, they are researching, writing and presenting in a language that is not their first.

Students are working with librarian Heather Perry and using many of the library’s databases and other resources to explore issues such as the impact of globalization on the Siesta, the role of the Plaza Mayor in Spanish life, and the impact of energy efficiency policies on air quality. Resources for a wide variety of topics such as the demographic challenges facing Spain as its population becomes Europe’s oldest can be found at This class utilizes many of the library’s films including Pan’s Labyrinth to bring to life many of the issues important to understanding contemporary Spain.


Into the Archives: Museum Studies Class Reception

In January, students in Erica Tucker’s Introduction to Museum studies class toured Stonehill’s Shovel Collection and were tasked to develop ways to “enhance the visitor experience.” Working with archives staff members, students brainstormed several ideas, including the need for additional signage, new displays in the storage area, a virtual tour and brochure. On May 1st, they unveiled their final projects at a reception attended by members of the Stonehill Community and two members of the Ames family.

Catherine Sheehan

Catherine Sheehan ’17 installs newly designed signage.


New brochures designed by Jaron Cote ’15 and Jessie Lebowitz ’15.

EmilyWiley and Handle Display

Emily Wiley ‘16 shows off her newly installed handle display.


Bill Ames explores Shovel Collection Virtual Tour with tour creator, Kasie Lyons ’17


Fred and Bill Ames look at WWI Shovel Display designed by Christopher DiElsi ‘16


Spring 2015 Museum Studies Class with Bill and Fred Ames

Whose History? A Student Perspective

Over the past few semesters, librarian Liz Chase has worked closely with Professor Todd Gernes’s course, “The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.” This course, Gernes notes, “uses the life of Frederick Douglass as a basis and lens for understanding 19th-century American history and culture. Douglass’ heroic journey from slavery to freedom … reveals a nation riven by race, region, economy and even differing conceptions of justice and morality.” The course also asks students to think about what it means to “do history,” and to question whose histories dominate our national narratives. We asked student Amanda Phillips ’18, to share her perspective on the course for Black History Month.

Whose History: A First Hand Look into the Past by Amanda Phillips 18

In Professor Gernes’s class, “The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass,” students get a first-hand look into 19th century America, specifically the lives of slaves. The cornerstone history class allows students the opportunity to grow as historical thinkers by reading primary sources in the forms of autobiographies and contemporary news and documents, alongside helpful secondary sources.

We have learned at this point in the course that history is the piecing together of facts and stories that fit together to complete the puzzle of what actually occurred in the past. An example of this piecing together is the life of Frederick Douglass, whom the class is titled after. Douglass’s life spanned almost the entire 19th century (1818-1895), and by studying the lives of his contemporaries we are able to get a more wholesome view of the times.

In the context of this course, it is especially difficult to ascertain the truth about what happened to slaves in 19th century America. This is due in part to the vast illiteracy of slaves and to masters intentionally keeping slaves ignorant. Only studying Douglass’s life would provide us with a small piece of slavery in America, and by looking only at Douglass’s autobiographies we would be ignorant of the many people that helped him along the way. Douglass’s portrayal of himself in his autobiographies depicts him as a self-made man, whereas analysis of his biographies reveal that he could not have accomplished what he had without the help of others – his wife, for example.

We learn from this that there is bias in all that we read from the past. In order to create an accurate picture of the past, we must take the source into consideration when reading primary sources about slavery, as well as the publication date and social climate of the time in which any other secondary source on the topic of slavery was published. What is interesting about “The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass” is that it allows us students to come to our own conclusions about the past while taking these points into consideration.