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University Libraries - Undergraduate Research Award

University Libraries Award for Undergraduate Research

2012 - 2013 Award Winners

Three outstanding submissions garnered prizes in the garnet track.  The black track winner so impressed the review panel that he was awarded $400 instead of the original $150 prize.

Juniors and Seniors - Garnet Track

Matthew Kuhn Photo

Matthew Kuhn

Top Prize, $500

“The Hidden Faith:  Catholic Persecution in Early South Carolina”

A history and religious studies major from Charleston, S.C., Kuhn realized that there was a hundred-year gap in the history of Catholicism in South Carolina after it was outlawed during the Colonial era. Curious that Catholicism seemed to disappear entirely during this period, Kuhn decided to investigate the colonial experience of Roman Catholics in the state.  Using a variety of primary and secondary sources available through the library, Kuhn said he was able to “synthesize existing ideas as well as provide a firm grounding for my own argument.”  Kuhn’s mentor, Religious Studies Professor Katja Vehlow, recommended that Kuhn submit his project for consideration. Vehlow was impressed by the depth of Kuhn’s research, noting that not a lot has been written recently on the topic.  “The research was both enlightening and fun to do,” said Kuhn, who hopes to continue his work on the subject in the future. 

Caroline Porter

Hannah Miller

Top Prize, $500

“Turkish Youth Perceptions of Turkey’s EU Accession Negotiations and Identity:  Research in Vienna, Austria and Istanbul, Turkey”

Miller, an economics and international studies major from Atlanta began the research three years ago with the support of a Magellan Scholarship and Geography Professor Amy Mills, her faculty mentor.  Miller said she turned to the library throughout her research process, whether it was for background sources on Turkey and the European Union, information about interviewing, or an extensive literature search. She remained connected to the library while abroad and used electronic resources to answer questions that arose as issues surrounding the European Union were unfolding.  Miller pulled information from the print collections at Thomas Cooper Library and the Springs Business Library, borrowed resources through interlibrary loan and PASCAL Delivers, combed electronic journal holdings and conducted interviews of youth in Turkey and Austria.  “Throughout the research experience, my source material evolved, as did the nature of my project,” Miller said. “Library offerings enabled and encouraged new paths.” 

Sonja Berling

Theresa Krupka

Third Place, $200

“Body, Mind, and Heart:  Defining Female Beauty in Heath’s Book of Beauty”

An international business major from Charleston, S.C.,  Krupka enrolled in English Professor Paula Feldman’s Honors seminar on literary annuals, not knowing what they were, and became a fan of the genre. In the course, students were given a literary annual to investigate and wrote an introductory web page for the University Libraries Digital Collections.  Students then had to write a 10-page essay analyzing some aspect of the literary annual. “For the first time, I felt I could contribute to real scholarship, and that my research was valuable to the public at large,” Krupa wrote in her award essay. Besides learning about literary annuals and popular culture in the mid-nineteenth century, the project taught her “that the quality and personality of tangible artifacts are irreplaceable, but also that the accessibility of the Internet allows researchers to truly work together and share what they have learned and want to know.” 

Freshman and Sophomores - Black Track



Joseph DuRant

Joseph DuRant

First Place, $400

“Robert Burns and Britain’s First African Voter”

DuRant’s project was completed through an Exploration grant from the South Carolina Honors College and with Dr. Patrick Scott, Research Fellow for Scottish Collections. USC Libraries has a large Robert Burns collection, including a collection of letters written to the Scottish poet that DuRant is helping to digitize. DuRant researched a possible connection between Burns and an Afro-British writer Ignatius Sancho.  For this project I found I needed to combine work in special collections with work in the stacks, online journals and reference sources,” said DuRant, a sophomore  English major from Sumter, S.C. “As is always the case in my research, I began online in the library catalog and online reference tools.” He also made use of the University Libraries Digital Collections, consulting works that contained contemporary criticism of Sancho.  “My project necessitated exploring every floor of Thomas Cooper and allowing me the thrill of holding centuries-old manuscripts, as well as using the wealth of online resources available through our libraries.”


University Libraries Award for Undergraduate Research