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  • Award winners stand together

Congratulations to this year’s Undergraduate Research Award winners

Eight students have won 2022-2023 University Libraries Undergraduate Research Awards

The students were selected by a seven-member review panel made up of Libraries faculty and teaching faculty from across campus. The winners received a monetary award and a personalized award certificate. Their achievements will be recognized with a placard displayed in Scholars Corner in Thomas Cooper Library until next academic year’s winners are announced.

In personal essays about their research process, the students noted learning about using library resources and services through:

  • Class sessions led by a librarian
  • Advice from instructors
  • One-on-one Book a Librarian consultations
  • Online research guides and tutorials

This year’s winners are:

Garnet Track (juniors and seniors)

First Place ($500), Rachael Erickson, a graduating senior and double major in History and Political Science, for “The Americans Progress Forgot? An Interdisciplinary Study of the Role of Media in Opiate Politics,” a South Carolina Honors College senior research thesis. Pat Sullivan, History, is the supporting faculty member.

First Place ($500), Juhi Patel a graduating senior in the BARSC-MD cohort for “The Emergence of Ayurnutrigenomics and Evolution of the Modern Indian Diet: The History of ‘Curry’ and Chronic Disease on the Subcontinent,” a paper for SCHC 383 interdisciplinary proseminar. James Hébert, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, is the supporting faculty member.

Second Place ($135), Abby Kiesow a graduating senior and Psychology major for “Mapping Risk Factors for Dementia Across the United States,” a South Carolina Honors College senior research thesis. Jean Neils-Strunjas, Communication Sciences and Disorders, is the supporting faculty member. 

Second Place ($135), Skylar Wittenborn a graduating senior and History major for “Octavian as Villain in Popular Culture,” a South Carolina Honors College senior research thesis. Jason Osborne, Classics, is the supporting faculty member.

Honorable Mention ($50), Justus Depenbrock a graduating senior and Geology major for “Gigantism During the Jurassic and Cretaceous,” a poster and presentation for GEOL 305 class. Katherine Ryker, Geology, is the supporting faculty member.

Black Track (freshmen and sophomores)

First Place ($150), Sun Heslin, a rising sophomore and Pre-Pharmacy student for “‘You're All Just a Bunch of Weirdos. Like Me’: Witches as Representation for the LGBTQ+ Community,” a paper for ENGL 102 class. Erica Fischer, English, is the supporting faculty member.

Second Place ($75), Heather Czerniawsky, a sophomore for “Youth Decay: Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices of Harm Reduction in Young Adults participating in Musical Subculture,” a paper for ANTH 551 class. David Simmons, Anthropology, is the supporting faculty member.

Third Place ($50) Ada Skradski, a rising sophomore and a Political Science major for “Public Opinion’s Impact with the Media in the U.S. Foreign Policy,” a paper for ENGL 102 class. Lily Howard-Hill, English, is supporting faculty member.

The University Libraries Undergraduate Research Awards reward excellence in undergraduate use of library resources and services and demonstrate the contribution of the Libraries to student learning. They highlight the value of information literacy by requiring students to describe their research process as part of the application procedure and encourage faculty to create assignments that engage students in the use of library resources. Since the start of the awards 16 years ago, 63 students have been recognized with more than $21,100 in monetary prizes.

To be eligible to win, applications must be received by the annual deadline and include:

  • Application form
  • 500-700 words describing their research process and use of library collections, resources and services
  • Letter of support from a faculty member
  • Final version of the research project
  • Bibliography of all sources consulted

The winners contribute their projects to Scholar Commons, the institutional repository to preserve, collect and disseminate the research and scholarship of the University of South Carolina.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.