Award Winners

2013 - 20142012 - 2013  |  2011 - 2012  |  2010 - 2011

2013 - 2014 Winners

Maize Award for Single Term Projects

Andrew TuckFirst Place ($1,000): Andrew Tuck - Pleasure and Desire in Anti-Methamphetamine Posters Targeting Gay Men

Format: Directed Study, Research Paper

The paper submitted by Andrew Tuck, “Pleasure and Desire in Anti-Methamphetamine Posters Targeting Gay Men” examined the increasingly important health concern of HIV transmission among gay males who use methamphetamines.  Andrew focuses on both locally created anti-methamphetamine poster projects, done by local gay activists in New York, and another produced by the U.S. Attorney’s office which was also viewed by New Yorkers, as a way to contextualize the efficacy of these health marketing efforts.  This research was done as an independent study project and Andrew relied on the use of library resources, freely available information online, the guidance and input of other academics, and communicated directly with AIDS activists involved in these campaigns.

The Research Award Committee was most notably impressed with the way Andrew described his research process as outlined in his personal essay.  He clearly showed how he changed his questions and scope based on the information he was finding, and how communicating with others active in the field played a significant role in shaping his research.  This paper represents the type of interdisciplinary intellectual vigor one would expect from a more seasoned researcher and truly shows why this award winner is one of the best undergraduate research award contenders.  Andrew went above beyond the basics of just “doing research” and created what all scholars strive for by establishing new knowledge.

Katy RobinsonSecond Place ($500): Katy Robinson - Digital Archiving of Reconstructed Performance

Format: Database

The presentation of research can take many forms.  The second place winner of this year’s Maize Category is presented to Katy Robinson, content specialist for the multi-media web-based project “19thcenturyACTS!” [19thcenturyACTS.com].  As a historian and researcher for the website, Katy Robinson sought out, curated, and prepared rich visual, textual, and audio materials from nearly 50 plays and over 300 performances by Ira Aldridge, a renowned African-American stage actor of the nineteenth century.  Her professor noted that Katy was motivated not only by her excitement of working with archival materials, but also her keen interest in the effective and coherent organization of data.  Katy noted in her essay that this project, with its inclusion of many media types, pushed her “to think critically about how to effectively use my resources” and challenged her historical research skills thereby making her a better researcher.

Drawing materials from bibliographic and visual sources in archives and libraries, as well as numerous online image databases, Katy provides a vivid and in-depth portrayal of Aldridge, as well as the practices and methods of 19th century stage acting.  For instance, 19th century images of gestures used to portray common emotions are juxtaposed with contemporary video of the acting principles portrayed by current U of M drama students.  The website invites one to explore the world of Ira Aldridge by play, theater, location, and role.  One can also learn by listening to audio descriptions of 19th century stage technology; e.g. lighting and set design.  Katy worked with a team on designing the website to present an informative and inviting portrayal of the oft-hidden world of 19th century stagecraft.

Madeline TayerThird Place ($250): Madeleine Tayer - Rebellions, Punishment, and Justice in the Elizabethan Era

Format: Research Paper

Madeleine Tayer’s paper, “Rebellions, Punishment, and Justice in the Elizabethan Era,” was written for a course on Elizabethan Culture and The Faerie Queene.  In her paper, Tayer compares Queen Elizabeth’s response to two different Catholic rebellions that occurred in 1569:  the Northern Rebellion in Northumberland, England and the first Desmond Rebellion in Ireland.  She discusses the difference in strategies employed by Elizabeth I in responding to the rebellions and the differing long-term results of those policy decisions.  In addition to modern journal articles and books, Tayer referenced historical documents including a pardon the queen delivered to some of the rebels.  As her professor noted, Tayer “tackled the difficult issues of policy, social and national cohesion, and affective identification.  Her research was beautifully synthesized and the essay written with considerable analytical precision, organizational and stylistic elegance.”  The award committee was impressed by her use of using of citation chasing, her well-rounded bibliography, and the way her thesis was supported with clear documentation and the development of her theme.

 

Blue Award for Multi-Term Projects

Julia GantmanFirst Place ($1,000): Julia Gantman - The Post Office, the Public Lecture and "Dejection: an Ode": Public Influences on Coleridge's Poetic Intimacy 

Format: Honors Thesis

Julia Gantman’s honors thesis “The Post Office, the Public Lecture and ‘Dejection: An Ode’: Public Influences of Coleridge’s Poetic Intimacy” explores the Samuel T. Coleridge’s writing and writing style in the context of the British Post Office and the public lecture. Gantman deftly traces Coleridge’s letters and lectures, using archival sources stored at Victoria University in Toronto, Canada, and secondary sources. Throughout the thesis Gantman clearly lays out the historical context in which Coleridge lived and wrote. She quotes letters from Coleridge to friends that contain lines of poems he had yet to write, as well as drafts of poems. Through clear and highly readable prose, Gantman describes Coleridge’s writing process through piecing together his letters and lectures. The intimacy of Coleridge’s letters is reflected in his poem “Dejection: an Ode.” Through letter writing, Coleridge drafted and edited his writing, such as “Dejection: an Ode,” before he published it. Gantman argues that Coleridge’s lectures were written in a similar style to his letters and were essentially letters written for a public audience.

The committee was impressed by Gantman’s engaging writing style, impressive use of sources both primary and secondary, and groundbreaking scholarship. Gantman sets the historical context for Coleridge’s relationship with letter writing with accuracy and grace. In doing so, she paints a clear picture of how Coleridge’s writing style reflects his society. Gantman’s thesis sheds new light on Coleridge, a much-studied literary figure.

Second Place ($500) Nathan Chesterman - Mapping a Novel Hedonic Hotspot in Insular Cortex

Format: Honors Thesis

While performing a literature search in preparation for his honors thesis experiment in neuroscience, Nathan discovered that scant research had been done on the role of a certain region of the brain—the insula, or insular cortex—in laboratory rats.  Nathan thus designed an experiment to show that there are so-called ‘hedonistic hotspots’ in rat brains that play a role in mediating pleasure and disgust.  Nathan further used evidence from his literature search to show that these results have important evolutionary implications on social and economic rewards in humans, and points towards possible directions for future research.  Nathan’s lab supervisor praised not only his experimental design but also his ability to synthesize literature from multiple fields to create a theoretical framework for the experiment, demonstrating “an incredible ability to synthesize and process diffuse and complicated information, using that ability to successfully conduct scholarly research which resulted in a truly superb multi-term thesis.”  For demonstrating an ability to use the interplay of multidisciplinary literature research and laboratory research to expand the frontiers of scientific knowledge, the award committee is pleased to award him the second place Blue Award for Multi-Term Projects.

Vincent LongoThird Place ($250) Vincent Longo - Going Around the World with Orson Welles: A Multimedia Auteur

Format: Honors Thesis

The MLibrary Undergraduate Library Research Award Committee is delighted to award the third place Blue Award for Multi-Term Projects to Vincent Longo for his honors thesis in the Department of Screen Arts & Cultures titled “Going Around the World with Orson Welles: A Multimedia Auteur.”  Vincent’s thesis reconstructs and analyzes “Around the World”, one of Orson Welles stage plays which opened in 1946.  Although much has been written about Welles and his body of work, this particular play has been overlooked by scholars since it was a commercial and financial failure.  Additionally, no recordings of the play survive.

Vincent dove deep into primary sources, conducting research at different locations around the country.  The committee was impressed by Vincent’s use of MLibrary resources such as its Special Collections, the Mirlyn Catalog and the ProQuest Historical Newspapers database as well as outside resources such as archives at the Lilly Library at Indiana University and the New York Library for the Performing Arts.  He went a step further and created his own “personal digital archive” by photographing hundreds of items from these archives.  By carefully analyzing and confronting these materials, Vincent was able to re-construct the stage production of “Around the World” and understand the use of different film sequences in the play.

In his personal essay, Vincent writes eloquently about the challenges he faced when trying to understand and re-create the play.  A breakthrough came when he discovered that Orson Welles was familiar with European multimedia theater from the 1920s and 1930s.  In light of this influence, Vincent was able to explore new ground in understanding Welles not only as a film or theater director but also as a multimedia auteur.

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2012 - 2013 Winners

Maize Award for Single-Term Projects

First Place ($1,000):  Elizabeth Yu - Optimism/Pessimism and Future Orientation in Predicting Depressive Symptoms and Suicide Behavior in Primary Care Adults
Format: Research Paper

The MLibrary Undergraduate Research Award Committee is pleased to present Elizabeth Yu with first place for her project, "Optimism/Pessimism and Future Orientation in Predicting Depressive Symptoms and Suicide Behavior in Primary Care Adults." Ms. Yu conducted extensive original research to investigate the potentially additive role that future orientation plays in predictions of depression and suicide risk. Her findings suggest that individuals with a pessimistic disposition are most affected by future orientation, demonstrating a greater risk of depressive symptoms and suicide behavior when their future orientation is low. On the other hand, her results indicate that pessimists with a high future orientation show a reduced risk of these behaviors, even beyond optimistic individuals with a similar orientation. Not only did Ms. Yu provide new insight into a body of research that addresses the value of cognitions in predictions of adjustment, but she also contributed to the relationship of future orientation to suicide risk and depressive behavior, which carries important implications for psychological intervention.

The committee was particularly impressed by the extent and quality of Ms. Yu’s research, including the breadth of literature in which she situated her questions, hypotheses, findings, and ultimately, suggestions for future directions of inquiry. Ms. Yu conducted a rigorous review of research within the field of Psychology, which ranged from advanced database searching in PsycINFO and ArticlesPlus, to Mirlyn searching and citation chasing. She also found herself engaged in the serendipitous discovery of materials when browsing the Hatcher Library stacks, which led her to unearth some of the foundational materials that informed her project. Furthermore, Ms. Yu extended her scope of analysis beyond MLibrary to take advantage of the larger universe of scholarship on her topic through the use of Interlibrary Loan.The committee thoroughly enjoyed learning about Ms. Yu’s original research, and reading her thoughtful analysis of the relationship of cognition to adjustment in primary care adults.

Second Place ($500):  Frank Sedlar - Engineering Industrial Architecture: Albert Kahn and the Trussed Concrete Steel Company
Format: Research Paper

Frank Sedlar’s paper, “Engineering Industrial Architecture: Albert Kahn and the Trussed Concrete Steel Company” is a well written, beautifully organized paper on the contributions of Albert Kahn’s brother Julius, an engineer who created innovative building materials that were incorporated into Albert Kahn’s buildings and those of many other architects and builders in the early part of the last century.  Mr. Sedlar used a variety of resources including patents, company product manuals, journal articles in engineering and architecture, books, archival materials from the Bentley Historical Library and the Albert Kahn Associates archives, blueprints, corporate histories, and interviews with experts in the field of structural engineering and architecture.  He visited a building in Detroit, which has been partially demolished, to see the Kahn bar and other building components in situ.   He used interlibrary loan, getting at least some resources from Australia to complete his work. Sedlar, an undergraduate engineering student, was the only undergraduate in this graduate level architecture course (ARCH 603).   He wrote a paper that fulfilled the requirements for the course (using archival materials related to Albert Kahn and Associates), but also allowed him to use his specialized engineering expertise.
Video Reflection

 

Third Place ($250):  Andrew Tuck - The Rise of Osteopathic Medicine in the United States: A Foucauldian Perspective
Format: Research Paper

Andrew Tuck’s paper provides a history of osteopathic medicine as a struggle against standard medical practices. Tuck’s research begins with Andrew Taylor Still, who created osteopathic medicine as an alternative to standardized medical practices of the nineteenth century. Still focused his efforts on avoiding surgery and prescription of medications. In doing so, Still challenged institutionalized medicine. The challenge for acceptance of osteopathic medicine continued through World War II. In his paper Tuck uses Michel Foucault’s theories of the “examination” and “medical gaze” to layout how osteopathy challenged the dynamic of authority in medicine, arguing that through osteopathic practices the patient cannot be dehumanized. The committee was particularly impressed with Tuck’s use of digital archives, extensive research, and clear writing style, deftly weaving together critical theory and medical history.
Video Reflection

 

Blue Award for Multi-Term Projects

First Place ($1,000):  Jennifer Xu - Hollowed Out: The Traumatized Flesh of W.G. Sebald's Prose Fictions
Format: Honors Thesis

Jennifer Xu’s exemplary thesis blends research from various fields (literary criticism, psychology, photography, neurobiology, history, and urban planning) to add to the emerging field of “surface reading.”  Xu, who has double majored in English and Neurobiology, takes the work of W.G. Sebald into this new field by countering the usual trauma studies approach to his work.  Drawing on scholarly articles from literary databases such as JSTOR, Project Muse, MLA International Bibliography and others, Xu offers insights into how illustrative Sebald’s work can be on the surface -- how meaningful the work is to the concept of just “being traumatized,” a state of being in which we may all experience in our everyday lives.   Many literary critics approach Sebald’s work in the manner of how a psychoanalyst would approach a patient.  Xu’s thesis challenges readers to look at the outer image of such things as the actual figures and paintings that Sebald incorporates into his work to draw conclusions regarding how we engage with the world “traumatically” every day.

While Xu used many of the library’s print materials concerning Sebald and the library’s electronic collections, she also took the unusual step of visiting the Clements Library, an independent University of Michigan library that houses original resources for the study of American history and culture.   Sebald is a German author based in East Anglia who often writes about the Holocaust.   Xu researched early blueprints of Western European structures in Clements to investigate siege architecture.   She also enlisted the help of a Special Collections Librarian in her quest to exhaustively look at the surface of structures depicted in Sebald’s work.  The Committee was impressed by Xu’s eloquent expression of how her extensive preliminary research, most of which she did not incorporate into her final thesis, led her to her final argument.  

Second Place ($500):  Laura Torp - “So Strange Things So Probably Told”: Epistemic Consequences of Scientific Discourse in Lunar Travel Narratives
Format: Honors Thesis

Laura Torp’s outstanding thesis charts the development of both scientific discourse and literary fiction through the lens of lunar travel narratives written between 1630 and 1835. These texts follow in the tradition of speculative cartography by imagining what it would be like to travel to the moon long before it was technologically possible. In Torp’s account, lunar travel narratives, and the ways they draw on “a rhetoric of verisimilitude,” are key to understanding both the emergence of scientific discourse and the ways in which fiction made claims to truth.  

The committee was particularly impressed by the breadth of historical and literary research that Torp undertook in the process of writing her thesis. She uncovered over 40 lunar travel narratives, using extensive resources (including Eighteenth Century Collections Online, Early American Imprints, and HathiTrust), traced the development of scientific discourse through the Royal Society and other sources, and drew on a broad range of scholarly literature to produce an original and engaging thesis.   

 

Third Place ($250): Stephanie Berger - Treating Bones: The Intersection of Archaeology And Conservation
Format: Honors Thesis

The MLibrary Undergraduate Library Research Award Committee is delighted to award the third place Blue Award for Multi-Term Projects to Stephanie Berger for her honors thesis in the Department of Anthropology titled “Treating Bones: The Intersection of Archaeology and Conservation.” Stephanie’s thesis proposes a new best practice for removing mold from human skeletal remains in museums. She not only designed and conducted an experiment to test different ways of removing mold from human bones but also explored larger historical and ethical issues having to do with the preservation of these materials and the relationship between archaeologists and museum staff.

The committee was impressed by Stephanie’s use of MLibrary resources such as the Mirlyn Catalog, the ArticlesPlus search engine and our Interlibrary Loan service. She went beyond these resources and consulted a network of experts including conservators at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, MSU and the University of Indianapolis. Stephanie’s research will be used at the UM Museum of Anthropology as a guide for the care and treatment of human remains. 

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2011 - 2012 Winners

The 2011-1012 awards were supported by donations from Dr. Robert Bartlett, Jillian and John Castrucci, and Dave and Julie Goodrich, with additional employment-related matching contributions.

First Prize ($1,000):  A. Brad Schwartz - The War of the Worlds Letters: Orson Welles, Fake News, and American Democracy in the Golden Age of Radio
Format: Honors Thesis

A.Brad Schwartz’s history honors thesis, “The War of the Worlds Letters: Orson Welles, Fake News, and American Democracy in the Golden Age of Radio,” is thoroughly researched and a pleasure to read.  This  is an impressive thesis, both because it reflects original and wide-ranging research and because it is engagingly written and well argued.

In approaching his topic, he has thought comprehensively, drawing on extensive archival, print, and digital sources to fully contextualize Welles’s broadcast.  He offers a persuasive argument that the War of the Worlds broadcast, and its accompanying myth of widespread panic, should be read within a broader historical and political context.  As he points out, the narrative of panic has led scholars to overlook the more subtle debate engendered by the broadcast, a debate over censorship and the power of the media to influence its listeners.  In his analysis, Brad weaves together an impressive range of sources, moving between a nuanced discussion of the historiography and an in-depth analysis of archival sources, such as the previously unused Richard Wilson-Orson Welles papers in MLibrary’s Special Collections.  Even after uncovering a rich archive in the Wilson-Welles papers, Brad broadened his analysis by examining collections at Indiana’s Lilly Library, the Wisconsin Historical Society, and the National Archives.  Overall, his thesis opens up a fresh critical understanding of the public response to the War of the Worlds broadcast in important and new ways. 
Video Reflection 

Second Prize ($500): Mita Nagarkar - A Life History Analysis of Invasive Behavior in Native and Naturalized Species: Rubus odoratus and Rubus allegheniensis
Format: Honors Thesis

The MLibrary Undergraduate Library Research Award Committee is delighted to recognize Mita Nagarkar for her outstanding honors thesis in the Program in the Environment, “A Life History Analysis of Invasive Behavior in Native and Naturalized Species: Rubus odoratus and Rubus allegheniensis in the Nichols Arboretum, Ann Arbor, MI.” Through her investigation of the life history traits of two populations of Rubus plants (raspberry and blackberry species), Ms. Nagarkar conducted original research that shed light on the characteristics of locally invasive species in urban woodland habitats. Her project also led to larger questions regarding ecosystem management, biodiversity, and conservation efforts for disturbed habitats, particularly within the context of climate change. 

The committee was struck by the rigor of Ms. Nagarkar’s research process, the level of introspection she shared in her personal essay, and the quality of writing in her thesis. She demonstrated an impressive amount of determination and follow-through in her use of a variety of subject and general article databases, such as ISI Web of Knowledge, JSTOR, and Google Scholar, and in her rich selection of books, government documents, and arboretum websites that were germane to her topic. Her enthusiasm for this project was palpable, and her discussion of research challenges was particularly compelling. When she hit an impasse with regards to her literature review, or confronted challenges in the dynamic environmental conditions of her testing site, she did not halt her inquiry, but instead thought of new and creative ways to address these issues and uncover material that might further enrich her research. In fact, she spent time in three separate libraries and archives in addition to MLibrary- the Nichols Arboretum, the Bentley Historical Library, and the University of Michigan Herbarium- to gain an even broader perspective on her topic. Additionally, she conducted interviews with a range of specialists who could share insight and expertise, including horticulturists, landscape architects, restoration ecologists, and historians. 
Video Reflection

Third Prize ($250): Katy Robinson – History of African-American Celebrity: The Fisk Jubilee Singers
Format: UROP Poster

Katy Robinson’s project, “History of African-American Celebrity: The Fisk Jubilee Singers,” is an Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) poster.   The committee was impressed by her extensive use of primary sources related to the Fisk Jubilee Singers.  In her research, Katy drew on an array of electronic collections and materials, as well as materials in the Clements Library.  We were particularly struck by her thoughtful approach to the complexities of database searching.   In addition, her poster is well designed in its presentation of images, primary texts, research objectives, methods, and results.  She did a fabulous job of articulating the research questions driving her process, as well as the implications of her findings.  

Honorable Mention ($100 Each): 

Anthony Chase - Divergent Political Dynamics of Islamic Banking in Britain & France
Format: Honors Thesis

Anthony Chase’s Political Science honors thesis, “Divergent Political Dynamics of Islamic Banking in Britain & France,” was well researched and interesting to read.  We found his  research journey interesting and were impressed by how, after extensive work in one topic (including a 30 page literature review), he was willing to start over to pursue a topic he felt passionate about.  In his well written thesis, he clearly laid out the differences in Islamic banking between the UK and France, explaining the reason for these differences from a variety of angles (political and social philosophy, financial regulations, government support, etc.)  He used a wonderful array of resources from scholarly materials in finance and economics, books on Islamic finance and banking and political history to industry trade magazines, government documents, and popular media reports – impressively in three languages.
Video Reflection

Jaquelin Elliott - The Leviathan and The Cyborg: The Influence of Moby-Dick in Sci-Fi Horror Films
Format: Research Paper

Jaquelin Elliott’s English 398 paper, “The Leviathan and The Cyborg:  The Influence of Moby-Dick in Sci-Fi Horror Films,” was interesting and fun to read.  We were impressed by her video montage of film clips to illustrate points about how Moby-Dick and several iconic science fiction horror films share similarities in language and imagery.  She did a nice job of expanding on Stephen King’s work to add an additional card to the horror genre tarot card deck concept he outlined.   As part of her research, she carefully watched several science fiction horror films and read the screenplays to look for common themes, in addition to reading books on the topic.  Finally, we were delighted to hear from her professor that she “generously helped other students identify and find primary and secondary sources … serving [as] a kind of self-appointed student ambassador to the UM Library and its literary research more broadly.”  
Video Reflection

Bryan LaPointe – “Why all this haste?”: The Importance of the Moderates' Perspective in the American Revolution
Format: Research Paper

The MLibrary Undergraduate Library Research Award Committee is pleased to award an Honorable Mention to Bryan LaPointe for his semester-long project, “Why all this Haste?”: The Importance of the Moderates’ Perspective in the American Revolution.” This paper was not only a pleasure to read, but was impressive in its extensive use of primary source material to examine the activities, events, and philosophies associated with colonial moderates during the time of the American Revolution. LaPointe made good use of secondary sources to gather contextual clues and keywords for deep exploration of primary documents from the 18th century, and demonstrated a facility with primary research that challenges even the most sophisticated researcher. In fact, LaPointe went beyond the parameters of the assignment to use additional firsthand correspondence to support his argument, making use of the Library of Congress American Memory Project. He also showed a deft ability to leverage the work done by scholars in the secondary literature, in order to track down additional material in support of his paper, and the committee was impressed by the care and deliberation he employed in order to balance his own point of view with that of the secondary scholarship he consulted. LaPointe displayed an admirable plasticity in his research process, recognizing the meandering nature of scholarly inquiry and the need to remain flexible and open to discovery.

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2010 - 2011 Winners

First Prize ($1,000): 

Emily Schiller - To Give Medicine Back to The People: Community Health Activism of the Black Panther Party
Format: Honors Thesis

Emily Schiller's Honor's Thesis for the Department of History, "'To Give Medicine Back to the People': Community Health Activism of the Black Panther Party" impressed the committee with its exemplary range of research, its application of that research to the creation of new knowledge, the fluidity with which the project was written, and the project's overall significance. The project not only gives an account of the hitherto little-studied topic of the Black Panthers' health clinics in Michigan, California, and Washington, but also demonstrates the unacknowledged importance of those clinics down to the present day and itself contributes to the archival record, through Schiller's decision to contribute her research and interview materials to the Labadie Collection. Schiller's research took in a full range of primary and secondary sources from across a variety of disciplines and made use of a wide range of libraries and library resources, including the Taubman and Hatcher libraries, the Labadie Collection, The Vanderbilt Television Archives, and the archives of Stanford University; additionally, Schiller worked closely with University of Michigan Librarians Julie Herrada, of Special Collections, and Government Documents librarian, Julia Proctor. Over and above this, Schiller conducted personal interviews with former Black Panthers and gained access to the privately held archives of the Black Panther Party. Her project itself was masterfully written, a pleasure to read, and did an excellent job of contextualizing its original research in terms of the already-existing scholarship on the Black Panthers and in terms of the history and cultural context in which the Panthers operated their health clinics. Finally, Schiller's statement of her research process did an excellent job of describing the intellectual journey she took over the course of her work; while giving a thorough account of the resources consulted and used, her statement also described the intellectual genesis of the project: the way that Schiller noted the gaps in an initial, smaller project (a literature review for the University of Michigan Department of Family Medicine) that seemed to direct her across disciplinary boundaries to a larger historical phenomenon. "'To Give Medicine Back to the People': Community Health Activism of the Black Panther Party" is an exemplary research project, one that is not only comprehensive in its range of research but that truly brings something new and significant into being in the world of scholarship. The MLibrary Undergraduate Research Award committee is proud to give Emily Schiller first prize in acknowledgement of her extraordinary achievement.
Video Reflection

Second Prize ($500): Sita Marie Syal - Energy from Waste: Characterization and Reuse Feasibility of Incinerated Municipal Solid Waste
Format: Poster

The MLibrary Undergraduate Library Research Award Committee found Ms. Sita Marie Syal’s research project, “Energy from Waste: Characterization and Reuse Feasibility of Incinerated Municipal Solid Waste” to be a remarkable and unique contribution to emerging scholarship in the fields of Engineering and Environmental Science. We were impressed by her rigorous intellectual engagement with the literature review process, as well as her level of determination to obtain the technical skills required to perform original research on the properties of reusable material in waste-to-energy conversion. We were especially impressed by the breadth of research she conducted across multiple libraries at the University of Michigan, as well as her initiative to probe many of the library’s databases for literature germane to her project. Among the rich primary and secondary sources that informed her work, we appreciated that she included diverse types of scholarship, such as proceedings from conferences and symposia, journal articles, books, and theses. We were also impressed by her resourcefulness when she faced challenges to her research process, and in particular, how she took advantage of the myriad resources at her disposal to fill gaps in expertise. Additionally, she made excellent use of human resources, not only with her fellow students and faculty advisor, but also with the assistance of librarians at the Art, Architecture, and Engineering Library, the Ask a Librarian chat service, and Interlibrary Loan. Equally striking was her ambition and preparation for the presentation of her research at the Michigan State Capitol, which involved up-to-the minute literature searching for the latest developments in scholarship related to the waste-to-energy process.
Video Reflection 

Third Prize ($500): 

Shirley Chen – “To work, write, sing and fight for women’s liberation”: Proto-Feminist Currents in the American Left, 1946-1961
Format: Honors Thesis

One of the exciting moments in the research process is coming across the document that sparks the curiosity and takes a project in an innovative direction. Shirley Chen describes that moment in her essay that lead to her exploration of a connection between the Congress of American Women and the group Women Strike for Peace, and eventually to explore the period between the first and second feminist waves.  One of our committee members with a minor in Women’s Studies indicated that in all the classes she took in college there was little mention of the time between the first wave and the second wave of feminism. We found the study of this time fascinating.  Chen describes her process of contacting and talking with librarians and archivists here at the UM Libraries, as well as using materials from libraries, archives, and historical societies across the country, including an in-person trip to the Schlesinger Library in Boston. She used the Labadie Collection and ProQuest Historical Newspapers to find some of her primary sources, and mentions heavy use of Interlibrary Loan to access additional materials.  Shirley Chen’s essay and her History honors thesis demonstrate extensive use of library resources as well as skill in incorporating those sources into a paper that presents a new way of looking at a historical time period. 

Honorable Mention ($100 Each):

Georgia Ennis - The Social Functions and Implications of Voseo in Quito, Ecuador: A Linguistic and Anthropological Account
Format: Honors Thesis

The MLibrary Undergraduate Research Award committee had many reasons to grant an honorable mention to Georgia C. Ennis’s honors thesis for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, “The Social Functions and Implications of Voseo in Quito, Ecuador, A Linguistic and Anthropological Account”. This superior paper presents original research regarding the use of the personal second-person singular pronoun “vos” in Quito, Ecuador.  During the process of conducting this research, Ennis made use of library services such as Inter Libraryloan, 7FAST and research consultations with library staff. She also made use of various library tools and subscription databases such as ArticlesPlus and JSTOR. Although initially Ennis discovered that there was not much scholarly work about her topic, she identified this as an opportunity rather than an obstacle. These initial difficulty pushed her to develop more sophisticated search strategies and ultimately to design and conduct her own original research in Quito Ecuador.  As a native Spanish-speaker from a region in Colombia where the use of the informal pronoun “vos” is also used, one of our committee members indicated it was fascinating to read your analysis of the myriad ways in which a single word can denote aspects of class, closeness, anger, transgression, all depending on the social contexts and actors involved.  For all of these reasons the MLibrary Research Award Committee is proud to bestow an honorable mention to Georgia C. Ennis.
Video Reflection

Leanna First-Arai - Urban Exacerbation: The Ineffectiveness of Drug Treatment and Law Enforcement in 1970’s Detroit
Format: Research Paper

Leanna First-Arai’s well-written paper, “Urban Exacerbation: The Ineffectiveness of Drug Treatment and Law Enforcement in 1970s Detroit,” offers a nuanced analysis of the ways in which federally-funded efforts to combat drug-related crime in Detroit were misguided, ineffectual, and, at times, major contributors to the problem. The committee was particularly impressed by the comprehensive research process that she undertook in gathering materials and crafting her paper; not only did she respond thoughtfully and creatively to the necessary shifts in direction that her research took, but she also made sophisticated and extensive use of a wide range of library resources, including Mirlyn, electronic databases, historical newspapers on microfilm, and archival collections both on campus and beyond.  

Michael Franczak - Multilateralism with an American Face: The U.S., Great Britain, and the Formation of the Postwar Economic Order, 1941-1947
Format: Honors Thesis

Michael Franczak’s excellent History honors thesis, “Multilateralism with an American Face: the U.S., Great Britain, and the Formation of the Postwar Economic Order, 1941-1947,” was well researched and very well written. The Award Committee was impressed by the array of primary documents from governments and NGOs, books, journal articles, newspaper articles and archival materials. We were delighted to see the use of materials not only from our library collection, but also the National Archives, presidential library websites, and government agency websites. Franczak’s paper and bibliography were both beautifully crafted and his graceful use of footnotes made the thesis a joy to read.

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