Library Research Award Winners Announced

April 15th, 2012

The Undergraduate Research Awards selection committee selected two students to receive awards this year. The recipients are Catherine Harris for her research climate change as revealed by road and snowmobile trail conditions and Kelli Schweich for her research exploring social factors in the Sheboygan Community Garden.

Each of the award winners will present their work at the Undergraduate Symposium at the Union South on Wednesday, April 18. Catherine, who is working with Professor Adena Rissman of the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, used local newspapers, archived in the Historical Society’s microfilm collection, to determine trail opening and closing dates from 1989 to the present. Dr. Rissman wrote this about Catherine’s work: “She has undertaken innovative use of the libraries, which she did entirely independently, since archival research is not something that I have a lot of experience with.” By tracking changes in road and snowmobile trail conditions, Catherine hopes to reveal the impact climate change has on socioeconomic conditions in Wisconsin. Her work earned the “Research in Progress” Award and a prize of $150.

Kellie Schweich’s research explores how the spatial dimensions of the Sheboygan Community Garden relate to social interactions between gardeners for her Honors Thesis in Geography. Kellie conducted an extensive literature review and used on-site behavior observations and individual interviews to collect data. She concludes with recommendations to address the barriers of socialization in the garden: increasing the resting/sitting places in the garden and adding small areas of shade where people could pause to socialize in the hot summer days. Kellie worked with faculty advisor Samuel Dennis, Jr. of the Department of Landscape Architecture. Dr. Dennis wrote this about Kellie’s research: “Her study of the spatial supports for social networking in community gardens is both original and significant. She is addressing an important gap in the research literature and the results will likely find publication in a peer-reviewed journal.” As a recipient of the “Library Research Award,” Kellie receives well-deserved recognition and a prize of $300.

Campus librarians on the award committee used the Association of College and Research Libraries’ Information Literacy Standards as the main criteria for assessing the applications for the awards. Now in its fifth year, the Undergraduate Research Awards have become an integral part of and will continue to be offered in conjunction with the Undergraduate Symposium.