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University Libraries - News, Events & Exhibits

University Libraries' Undergraduate Research Award winners for 2016 - 17

Congratulations to our three winners! This marks the tenth year for the  University Libraries Award for Undergraduate Research. To date, 30 students have received recognition and prizes.


Jory Fleming, Top Prize, Garnet Track, $500

Visualizing Sea Level Rise to Examine the Nexus of Climate Change and Socio-Economic Security

Jory Fleming

Supporting faculty: Dr. Jean Taylor Ellis, Department of Geography and School of Earth, Ocean and Environment

Jory Fleming, a geography and marine science double major graduating in May 2017, is from Columbia. He submitted a paper he wrote as a NOAA Hollings Research Fellow in the Office of Coastal Management in Charleston, S.C. He credits Reference Librarian Kathy Snediker with helping him find more in-depth research for his project. His supporting professor, Dr. Jean Taylor Ellis, agrees.

"Jory completed a formidable task last summer; he conducted all the data analysis and wrote a publishable manuscript in eight weeks," Ellis wrote in her recommendation letter to the awards committee. "This task was only possible because of the outstanding support received from the University Libraries . . ."

"Kathy taught Jory critical reference skills that helped him narrow his ideas to a single manageable sized summer project. She also taught him skills for reading and organizing articles that were not only critical to this project, but also will help him for the duration of his academic career. I am appreciative that Kathy helped Jory find these references and organize his thoughts because the end product of his research is innovative, novel, and supports decision-making for Federal coastal and resource managers. That is quite a significant impact for an undergraduate summer project."


Paige Keuster, Top Prize, Garnet Track, $500

Scope Notes for the Lone Woman Digital Archives

Supporting faculty: Dr. Sara Schwebel, English

Paige Keuster

Paige Keuster, an English and anthropology double major graduating this month, is from Paxton, Illinois. She submitted work done for a Magellan Scholar project. She credits Reference Librarian Brent Appling with helping her find sources for her project and introducing her to the Interlibrary Loan Department, which gave her access to historical documents not in the libraries' collections.

"My task was to research the periodicals that had featured stories about the Lone Woman, a Nicoleño/Tongva woman who was isolated on the California Channel Islands from 1835-1853," Keuster wrote in her award application essay. "The major tool the librarian brought to my attention and demonstrated for me was the Interlibrary Loan program. Many of the periodicals I was researching were only in existence for a short period, a long time ago, and in very small towns. Often, the only information about these periodicals was in locally printed town or county histories that were not part of Thomas Cooper Library’s collection or accessible on the internet, but ILL always gave me access to these texts . . ."

"The most valuable skill I learned during this project was how to evaluate sources. In the past, topics I had researched were so broad that there were always reputable sources. However, research about nineteenth-century newspapers did not present this luxury, because many were so small they were not featured in nineteenth century histories of the press or any other standard reference books."


Rose Needle, Black Track Award, $150

Cross Cultural Analysis: Birth in India and the United States

Supporting faculty: Dr. Kathryn Luchok, Anthropology

Rose Needle

Rose Needle, a second-year marketing and psychology double major, is from Columbia. She submitted a paper she wrote for the WGST 388 Honors College course “Cultures, Pregnancy and Birth.” She also credits Reference Librarian Brent Appling and, specifically, a Book a Librarian session in which he showed her how to choose databases. Her supporting professor, Dr. Kathryn Luchok, agrees.

"Rose wrote a very strong paper comparing pregnancy and birth in India and the United States," Luchok wrote in her nomination letter to the awards committee. "She took her task seriously and she told me this was the first assignment for which she used the Book a Librarian service at Thomas Cooper Library. Working with Brent Appling, reference librarian, she learned efficient searching techniques for the library databases and how to craft effective search terms. She also learned how to better navigate the library catalogue, which can be daunting when searching a potentially broad topic."

"Rose had to research two different cultures and look at a variety of angles pertaining to perinatal care and cultural practices surrounding pregnancy and birth in those countries. In doing this paper she also learned techniques to allow her to sift through extensive resources to find the ones most germane to her topic. From her work on this paper and mastery of much that the library has to offer, she now has an appreciation for the joys gained in researching and writing about a topic of interest . . . Rose has really used this assignment to build her toolbox for academic library-based research that will serve her for years to come."