College Library, in conjunction with the Undergraduate Symposium, recently awarded two research prizes to Matthew Pesko and William Marquardt. The first annual Undergraduate Research Awards were developed to celebrate excellence and creativity in undergraduate library research. Examples of library research include the literature review for a laboratory study, the use of primary sources in a historical research paper, or the background research for a creative arts project. Applicants are asked to submit a version of their research project, an essay describing their research strategies, and a statement of faculty support.
Both young men received certificates and cash prizes at the Undergraduate Symposium’s award ceremony on Wednesday, April 16, 2008. Matthew Pesko received the Library Research Award for his project: “Increasing Economic Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities in Northwest Rural Wisconsin.” His research is being completed as a Wisconsin Idea Undergraduate Fellowship project. His faculty mentor is Kimber Malmgren of the Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education.
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. Pesko went beyond the basic levels of finding, evaluating and using information and demonstrated an advanced proficiency in his use of licensed journal databases.
Because the Undergraduate Symposium offers students the opportunity to present their research in the present state of the process, including projects that are not yet final, College Library also offers a Research-in-Progress award. William Marquardt was named recipient of the Research-in-Progress Award this year.
Facilitated by the Undergraduate Research Scholars program, Marquardt’s research addresses the media’s depiction of Native Americans in Wisconsin at the beginning of the 20th century. Marquardt demonstrated a contagious enthusiasm for the discovery and use of primary resources for his project: “The Depiction of Off-Reservation Indian Community Life in Wood County in the Early Twentieth Century.” Working with his mentor, Larry Nesper of the Anthropology Department, Marquardt spent significant time in the Wisconsin Historical Society to look through microfilmed newspapers from the towns surrounding the Skunk Hill site. He has demonstrated growth in his understanding of how one discovery can lead to another and gained confidence in his research skills throughout the process.
Kelli Keclik, public services librarian at College Library, took the lead in creating the awards, setting the selection criteria, managing the application process and providing information sessions about the awards. Janice Rice, College Library outreach librarian and a member of the Undergraduate Symposium planning committee, helped integrate the awards into the Symposium structure, and Carrie Kruse, director of College Library, participated in the establishment of the awards. The awards selection committee also included Eliot Finkelstein and Ian Benton of College Library, Emily Wixson of the Chemistry Library, and Sarah McDaniel, Coordinator of Library & Information Literacy Instruction. The cash prizes were provided through General Library System gift funds. The Undergraduate Research Awards will continue to be offered in conjunction with the Undergraduate Symposium in upcoming years.
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