Libraries research award honors four undergraduates

Hannah Woods

Hannah Woods earned first place in the 2017 Libraries Award for Undergraduate Research Excellence (LAURE).

By Vince Frieden, strategic communications coordinator, University Libraries

Recognizing that great student research goes hand in hand with knowledgeable use of library resources, the Miami University Libraries have announced four honorees for the 2017 Libraries Award for Undergraduate Research Excellence (LAURE).

“We are very pleased with the quality of the more than a dozen entries submitted for the award,” said Jody Perkins, digital scholarship librarian and chair of the LAURE selection committee. “While the winning entries represent a true cross section of the types of research taking place across campus, the common thread is how each of these students deepened their research experience through the extra time and effort they invested in using the University Libraries.”

The four honorees are as follows:

  • Hannah Woods, a senior psychology major, earned first place with her project, “Lifetime sexual violence and alexithymia: The mediating role of dissociation, thought suppression, and shame.” The research project was conducted as part of Woods’ PSY 477 course. Terri Messman-Moore, O’Toole Family Professor of psychology, was her faculty sponsor.
  • Daniel McClurkin, a senior English literature and anthropology double major, earned second place with his ENG 477 project, “Imagining the plague: Defoe and the political life of pestilence.” Cynthia Klestinec, associate professor of English, served as faculty sponsor.
  • Emily Moroz, a junior integrated English language arts education major, earned honorable mention for “The history of the body: Concepts and care,” which also was sponsored by Klestinec.
  • Tasmeen (Shiny) Weerakoon, a senior biology major, received honorable mention status for her biology departmental honors project, “Investigation of a mitochondrial twin arginine transport in Arabidopsis Thaliana.” Carole Dabney Smith, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and David Pennock, professor of biology, served as Weerakoon’s faculty sponsors.

“As research becomes an increasingly prominent part of Miami’s undergraduate experience, the University Libraries want to be very intentional in supporting student researchers,” said Jerome Conley, dean and university librarian. “Not only do we want to offer the expertise, scholarly resources and technology for all students to pursue their academic interests, but we also want to highlight select students as examples of how tapping into library resources can help produce exceptional research outcomes.”

The annual award, co-sponsored by the Libraries Student Advisory Council, offers both scholarly recognition and cash prizes. First place earns $1,000, second place receives $500, and honorable mentions receive $100 each. The award, which started last year, builds on a renewed University Libraries’ research focus that began with the office of research for undergraduates (ORU) moving to King Library in 2014.

Provost Phyllis Callahan will present the awards and briefly address the importance of libraries in research at Sunday’s Libraries Student Recognition Dinner.

The award-winning entries will also be included as examples of exceptional student research within the University Libraries’ Scholarly Commons.