Eight students win 2018 Undergraduate Research Awards

June 4, 2019 - 11:05am

Eight University of Oregon students who authored outstanding research papers and theses during the 2018 calendar year have been named winners in the university's Undergraduate Research Awards competition, sponsored by the University of Oregon Libraries.

Now in its 15th year, the annual program recognizes students who produce exceptional original research and scholarship using UO Libraries collections and resources. Award winners received $1,000-$1,500 and the recognition of having their work digitally archived in Scholars' Bank, the UO's institutional repository.

"These awards honor our students' oustanding research and scholarship, work which requires a deep engagement with the literature of various disciplines, with critical thinking and with the technical act of strong writing itself," said Susan Breckenridge, assistant dean of libraries, at the May 22 award ceremony in the Knight Library Browsing Room. "Research papers and articles like the ones we honor today help us expand our stores of the knowledge of humankind."

Read Abstracts and Winning Papers on UO Libraries' Scholar's Bank

Benner, Rachel. Brand Activism: Working Toward Progressive Representations of Social Movements in Advertising

Bieker, Jacob. Using Deep Learning for FACT Source Detection

Jones, Ellie Sophie. Plastic Debris in Deep-Sea Canyon, Estuarine, and Shoreline Sediments

Louie, Elmira. Sa’di and the Safavid: The Material Culture of a Treasured Persian Manuscript Now at UO

McClain, Sierra. When Worlds Collide: Manichaeism and Christianity in Late Antiquity

McGee, Samantha. Portrayals of Power: The Local Identity of Three Cypriot Sarcophagi from the Fifth Century BCE

Nouboussi Nkenfack, Nelly M. The Ethics of Developing New Treatments: A Case Study of the West African Ebola Outbreak and the Use of Randomized Control Trials

Wilms-Crowe, Momo. Challenges to Democratic Inclusion and Contestation of Space: Contemporary Student Activists in Transforming South Africa

Winners in the multiterm thesis category were marine biology major Ellie Sophie Jones and three students who graduated in spring of 2018: Rachel Benner, who studied media studies and advertising; Jacob Bieker, who studied physics and computer and information science; and Samantha McGee, who studied anthropology.

Honorees in the term paper category were comparative literature major Elmira Louie, biology major Nelly Nouboussi Nkenfack and political science major Momo Wilms-Crowe, plus Sierra McClain, who completed her undergraduate work in history in spring 2018 and currently is enrolled in a master's degree program in the School of Journalism and Communication.

Winners were selected by a committee of UO librarians and members of the teaching faculty. Criteria for the awards included the quality of applicants' research papers or projects as well as their bibliographies and application essays articulating the use of library resources and services. Each nominee for the Undergraduate Research Award must also secure letters of recommendation and the sponsorship of a faculty member.

Dean Walton, the Lory Lokey Science and Technology Outreach Librarian, has served on the awards committee for the past five years and hosted this year's awards ceremony.

"Faculty members help students submit the papers that they think are the best of the best," he said. "Working on the committee is wonderful because we get to read not just the best, but the best of the best of the best. The winners here today are at that level."

Librarians and library staff members Carolina Hernandez, Jennifer O’Neal, Clara Piazzola, Jeff Staiger and Bruce Tabb received special ackowledgement from the awardees for their help and contributions to the students' research projects.

Breckenridge noted, "I hope that all the students at the University of Oregon will think of librarians as their partners and guides as they navigate this complex world. The library can be a catalyst for your research and writing practice."

The Undergraduate Research Awards are funded by the UO Libraries' Milton C. and Barbara B. Sparks and Jon and Lisa Stine endowments, as well as gifts from Walter and Gretchen Barger.

—By Jason Stone, University Communications