2023 Fenwick Scholar Presentations

Nathan Howard ’25

Chief News Editor

2023 Fenwick Scholars, Isabella Giaquinta (left) and Max Hendrix (right) Credit to College of the Holy Cross.

On April 25, the College’s 2023 Fenwick Scholars gave presentations in Rehm Library detailing their year-long work as members of the Fenwick Scholar Program. Max Hendrix ’23, gave a presentation titled “Intricacies of Agency: Rational Choice, Behavioral Economics, and Our Normative Commitments” and Isabella Giaquinta ’23, discussed her work in a presentation titled “Leveraging the Power of Machine Learning to Predict and Potentially Mitigate the Risk of Poor Clinical Outcomes Among Recent Immigrants in a New England Healthcare Setting.”

The Fenwick Scholar Program is described by Holy Cross as “the highest academic honor the College bestows on a student.” The program is a year-long rigorous academic project designed by the scholars throughout the duration of their senior year. The Fenwick Scholar Program is one of the most selective honors programs offered by the College. Third year students are nominated by their major departments to appear before the Fenwick Selection Committee to choose the “student(s) most worthy of this unique academic opportunity.” The Fenwick Selection Committee is made up of various members of the College faculty, including the President of the College and the Provost. Throughout their senior year, the selected scholars work alongside one or more faculty advisors to conduct and design a project or program of independent research. This project essentially serves as the scholar’s entire curriculum for their senior year at Holy Cross. These projects therefore count as the equivalent of 3-6 courses. At the end of their senior year, the Fenwick Scholars are required to give public presentations to members of the Holy Cross community and “present an appropriate record of this achievement to the College library.” According to the College, a key goal of this program is for the Fenwick Scholars to “complete his or her undergraduate education in the most challenging, creative, and meaningful way.”

According to Max Hendrix ‘23, his presentation explored “the paradigm of agency found in rational choice theory,” through a philosophical analysis. Hendrix explained that rational choice theory is “the mainstream economic theory that agents are fundamentally rational and utilize their rationality to identify and pursue their self-interest.” This presentation also analyzed the strengths and limits of this theory as well as its impacts on modern society. This is largely because, according to Hendrix, “recent experimental evidence within and outside of economics has cast doubt on the psychological accuracy and predictive prowess of the theory.” According to Isabella Giaquinta ’23, her project was organized in collaboration with the Immigrant and Refugee Health Center (IRHC) at the Boston Medical Center “to help improve the health of the displaced and eliminate their barriers to adequate healthcare.” Throughout her presentation, Giaquinta discussed the primary goals of her project, including the development of machine learning algorithms “that identify patients who are at risk of poor health outcomes and interrupted healthcare, as well as build a tidied database that can be used for reproducible data analysis at the IRHC.”

Following the presentations in Rehm Library, the Fenwick Scholars also participated in a reception in the Moran Lounge which was open to members of the Holy Cross community.

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