Maeve Thistel's winning multimedia project on Civil War soldier and Carlisle resident John Taylor Cuddy, created for Professor Pinsker's First Year Seminar "Dickinson and Slavery," was selected for the library's Excellence in First Year Research prize in 2020 because of the creative yet historically accurate ways in which she used primary source material to bring the story of John Taylor Cuddy to life. In addition, her mature observations about secondary source research acknowledge that historical headlines and commemorations can mislead our interpretations of history and misrepresent the opinions of the figures involved due to the lack of the nuance required to fully understand complex issues. A notable subtitle of one of her pages is “The Danger in Knowing a Little about a Lot.” Maeve's thoughtful self-awareness about the role of research and remembrance reminds us that history isn’t simply a series of facts strung together but rather a complicated exercise in interpretation and presentation.
Tra Pham's winning paper, "Why Can't I Look Like Her?: The Impact of Photoshop on Female Adolescents' Internalization of Beauty Ideals and Body-Related Concerns," written for Professor Emily Pawley's First-Year Seminar, was selected for the library's Excellence in First Year Research prize in 2019. The paper was selected because she presented a thoroughly well-researched exploration of how the ease of access to photo manipulation tools might affect a vulnerable adolescent’s self-image. In doing so, Tra weighed various expert opinions regarding the possible psychological effects of such tools and put the potential harmful effects into well-reasoned perspective.
Hoang Vo's winning paper, "Identity Theft: Is the US Really Safe in the Police's Hands?," written for Professor Elizabeth Lewis's First-Year Seminar was selected for the library's Excellence in First Year Research prize in 2019. The paper was selected because he used a variety of data and research to make a persuasive case that current identity theft prevention measures, while not ignored by law enforcement, are woefully inadequate. Hoang's research material was seamlessly integrated into his prose, which in turn allowed him to identify possible improvements for law enforcement agencies.