Zac Arrington, winner of the Global Award for a multi-term project
By Danielle Colburn, Communications & Marketing Intern, U-M Library
Kiri Alvarado, a recent graduate in Women’s Studies from U-M, said the vastness of the collections available at the U-M Library are staggering, and for a researcher, a little daunting.
“I had the abstract understanding that U of M was huge…but I never realized just how much information was on campus,” she said. Luckily, U-M pairs its collection with equally impressive support for researchers at any level. Librarians and subject specialists can help researchers find information resources tailored to their research projects.
For Joanna McKelvey, who recently graduated with majors in Communication Studies and Psychology, a librarian worked alongside her to identify the materials she needed for her research.
“Shevon Desai, the communication studies librarian, was a huge help when I was conducting the initial research for my lit review. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of my project, there was a large amount of information I needed to sort through and Shevon helped me develop and revise keyword searches so I could find exactly what I needed,” she said.
Both Alvarado and McKelvey were recipients of the U-M Library Undergraduate Research Award, an annual competition held to recognize the work of undergraduate students who have demonstrated excellence in library research conducted for an undergraduate student project. With projects spanning greatly diverse subjects, each 2017 award recipient explored vastly different library resources.
McKelvey took first prize in the multi-term category for her work on sexual health content in print and online advice columns. She analyzed columns from 2006 and 2016 to see how sexual health information and claims to expertise were constructed, taking advantage of the library’s online databases and the Hatcher magazine archive.
Alvarado took second place for multi-term projects. Her focus on the experiences of medieval women necessitated extensive work with primary and secondary sources. Alvarado started her research focusing on two collections of medieval letters and examining scholarship surrounding the collections. Many of her initial relevant sources were print, but as she continued in her work she branched out to sources to contextualize her findings, which included using electronic library subscriptions such as JSTOR and Project MUSE.
Undergraduate students from any U-M campus can participate, and can apply with projects in any format or medium. Four awards are given in each of two categories: the Maize Award is given for single term projects and the Blue Award is given for multi-term projects. Each category has a Global Award for projects with a global component.