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University Libraries - Undergraduate Research Award

University Libraries Award for Undergraduate Research

2011 - 2012 Award Winners

Three outstandingsubmissions garnered prizes in the garnet track for seniors and juniors.Unfortunately no one entered in the black track for freshmen and sophomores.

Rebecca KrumelTop Prize  $500

Rebecca Krumel

Roots of Flamenco:  An Introduction to Flamenco Music and Culture

Krumel’s project was inspired by a flamenco streetperformer she saw in Spain while on study abroad.  “It was the mostmoving dance experience I had ever had, and I wanted to know everything aboutflamenco dance,” she said. “Through my research, I began to make discoveriesthat opened up a minefield of information about this rich and complex artform.” Krumel had the opportunity in DANC 310. “In the spring of 2011, Rebeccaenrolled in my Dance Analysis and Criticism course, where she embarked on asynthesis project to research, produce and perform a dance reconstruction onFlamenco dance,” wrote Dr. Mila Parrish in her recommendation letter. 

Krumel’sfilm, book, and journal sources covered dance, music, sociology andhistory.  To better understand a musicalform, the fandango, she attended a guitar performance and spoke with Dr. Bergfrom the USC School of Music.  Besides her written project Krumelused her research to choreograph and perform a flamenco routine.  Inher letter of support, Dr. Parrish wrote, “Her research, choreography,and performance are evidence of the range and caliber of her scholarship.”


Caroline PorterTop Prize $500

Caroline Porter

ClothingSwap:  Cross-Dressing and Gender in Nineteenth-Century AmericanWomen’s Writing

Porter’ssenior thesis extended research she began for Dr. Katherine Adams’ ENGL 437seminar. After reading extensively on issues related to cultural identity,authorship, and disguise, Porter’s research focused on representations ofcross-dressing in the works of four authors.  Dr. Adams spoke highlyof Porter’s research process in her letter of support.  “Her workwith Thomas Cooper Library’s article databases was especially important inteaching her how to acquire familiarity with a scholarly conversation,integrate it with her ideas, and contribute to it with her own confidentcritical voice.”

Porter’sresearch included visiting a graduate-level feminist theory class to gain abetter understanding of Judith Butler’s theories of gender, which are centralto her thesis.  When she didn’t find other scholars using Butler’swork in ways directly related to her own project, she located and creativelyadapted an article on the relationship between Butler’s theories and disabilitystudies into her argument. 

Porterwrote of tracking down two short stories published in the 1830s  inthe magazine Juvenile Miscellany, held on microfilm, “Finding thesestories was a huge success, not only because they were an important andinteresting part of my chapter, but also because I was  able toexamine rare texts that very few people had access to, and that had, as aresult, received very little critical attention.”



Sonja BerlingHonorableMention  $300

Sonja Berling

DiscoursePractices in Chilean Cinema:  The Socialand Political Functions of Language in Cinema Regarding the 1973 coup d'état inChile

 Berling’sthesis on collective memory and identity in Chilean cinema combines insightsfrom both visual and linguistic anthropology.    Herresearch continues an interest in indigenous peoples developed while studyingin Chile.  “I learned so much about the politics and
economicsof Latin America in the 1960s and 70s that extended beyond and expanded uponwhat knowledge I gained while studying in Latin America.”

Berlingwrote of her work, “I needed to use ample library resources—everything frombooks, to films, to journals.  I was able to find almost all of mysources from the Thomas Cooper Library.”  Dr. Jennifer Reynolds,Anthropology, was Berling’s thesis advisor.  “I required Sonja tofirst do some exploratory searches within different literatures to see whicharea of inquiry would be the most productive for her to follow,” Reynolds wrotein her recommendation letter. “Her next task was to identify and previewappropriate films held within Thomas Cooper Library’s archives. After she hadnarrowed down her topic and identified a feasible research question, she thenconducted an extensive search, tracking down key sources that would enable herto flesh out the historical and socio-political contexts shaping the production,circulation, and recep-tion of the films under study. In fact, she found someprimary sources that surprised me and significantly enriched herproject.”  Berling noted in her essay, “sources found mid-way throughthe research process greatly impacted the course of development for the rest ofthe thesis and modified many of my previous observations.”


University Libraries Award for Undergraduate Research