Congratulations to Winners of the 2021 Library Research Prize

Later today, the DePaul University Library will celebrate three winners of the 2021 Library Research Prize during the annual First-Year Program Writing Showcase. Congratulations to winners Audrey Dwyer for her essay “Hysterical: Negative Perceptions of Femininity and Media Made for Teenage Girls;” Olga Mourgelas for “Mushrooms, Molly, and Microdosing;” and Ember Sappington for “American Revolution: The Sequel?”.

The Library Research Prize is awarded to First-Year Writing students whose researched essays demonstrate excellence in the application of information literacy skills, including expertise in the discovery, evaluation, and use of information tools and resources. In addition to their essays, students also submitted a research statement that reflects on the use of library research tools, sources, and services at each stage of the research process, emphasizing what was learned.

Librarian judges reviewed each entries’ research statement and essay for evidence of learning through experimentation and exploration at each step of the research process. Here are some of the judges’ comments from the winning entries:

Audrey Dwyer, “Hysterical: Negative Perceptions of Femininity and Media Made for Teenage Girls” (Deborah Weiner, HON 100)

Audrey Dwyer described how she initially thought her essay would be about the Twilight series, but the research revealed many overlapping issues from fandom to sexism to adolescent development. By researching each aspect of her topic separately, Audrey was able to find relevant sources that contributed to her larger thesis. She also discussed striking a balance between peer-reviewed studies, popular magazines, and primary sources like interviews and tweets.

Olga Mourgelas, “Mushrooms, Molly, and Microdosing” (Michael Raleigh, HON 100)

Olga Mourgelas demonstrated flexibility and persistence in developing her topic. Since her research was closely tied to current events, Olga didn’t find many sources at first but realized that examining the topic from other perspectives would yield much better results. She also reflected on her process of carefully evaluating a variety of sources from academic journal articles to website interviews.

Ember Sappington, “American Revolution: The Sequel?” (Michael Raleigh, HON 100)

Ember Sappington explained that her research journey started in the history databases but ultimately found greater success in the sociology discipline. Recognizing the interdisciplinary nature of her topic helped Ember select appropriate databases and find the sources she needed to support her thesis. She also described mining relevant sources for new keywords and search terms that helped keep her research going in the right direction.

Congratulations to Audrey, Olga and Ember on their exemplary use of information literacy skills in researching their essays! Along with other honorees of the Writing Showcase, each winner created a poster to accompany their writing project. The entire DePaul community is invited to view their posters and the awards ceremony today at 4pm. All three winners of the Library Research Prize will receive a certificate and a $50 honorarium.

A record number of eligible entries were submitted for the Library Research Prize this year, and the Library wishes to thank each author for taking the time to share the lessons they learned through the research process. Many thanks also to the faculty and staff of DePaul University’s First-Year Writing Program, especially to Erin Workman, Director of First-Year Writing, and Victoria Hohenzy, Assistant Director of First-Year Writing, for making this research-writing collaboration possible!

If you would like to learn more about the Library Research Prize for First-Year Writing or the library’s instructional program for first-year students, please contact Firouzeh Rismiller, Instructional Services Librarian.

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