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Elena McGuire, class of 2017, recently published her student research in The International Journal of Environmental and Science Education (IJESE).

The paper, co-authored with Franklin faculty member Patrick Della Croce, is titled "An Analysis of Changes in the Environmental Content of Caldecott and Newbery Medal Winning Children’s Books, 1922-2016" and explores how award winning children's books in the U.S. have shown environmental content, defined as environmental characters, environmental plot/conflict, and environmental message. To their surprise, they found that books published before 1956 had higher levels of content than books published after 1956. Since children’s literature can be influential in shaping lifelong environmental attitudes, this trend, according to Elena, is arguably concerning.

Elena began writing the paper during her junior year at Franklin with the help and support of Professor Della Croce. “He helped me refine my research idea and guided me through the research process, from data collection through the final presentation. After it was finished in April, Patrick encouraged me to submit it to a journal. Despite having already spent months answering my questions and reading a half-dozen drafts, he volunteered to help me through more rounds of edits in order to get it to the next level.” At the end of the day, the process helped Elena become a stronger writer and presenter, and it taught her how to manage long-term projects. She enjoyed how the project “pulled in concepts from random classes, spanning communications to ecocriticism to statistics to public policy and management.”

After graduating in May 2017 with a double-major in Environmental Studies and International Management, and a minor in French, she is now enrolled in a Master’s of Business Analytics program at The College of William and Mary. She hopes to work in environmental analytics, harnessing big data in order to evaluate and monitor environmental initiatives. “Conducting and publishing a research project highlights that I can produce original, well-written work, and that I have the requisite skills for analytics reporting.”

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