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Waidner-Spahr Library

The Waidner-Spahr Library Prizes for Excellence in Student Research: Past FY Winners

2022-2023 Winner: Amelia Kostin

Amelia Kostin won for her paper "The Failures and Consequences of Propaganda at Carlisle Indian School." Kostin wrote this paper for Professor Farrell's First Year Seminar, Indigenous Education: Native Americans, Schooling, and the Carlisle Experiment.

2022-2023 Winner: Marin Moore

Marin Moore was awarded this prize for her paper "Minority Stress Theory and the Allostatic Load: The Role of Chronic Stress as a Structural Reproductive Injustice." Morris wrote this paper for Professor Oliviero's WGSS 224: Reproductive Justice.

2021-2022 Winner: Jordan Schucker

Jordan Schucker won for her project, “An Analysis of ‘The Color Line,’ Frederick Douglass 1881.” She created this project for Professor Pinsker's History 117 class, U.S. History to 1877.

While engaging in extensive research, Jordan uncovered a relatively unknown work by Frederick Douglass entitled “The Color Line,” written in 1881. This article formed the basis of Jordan’s online project, which is an interactive teaching tool that includes well-documented images, original video, and links to related content including secondary and primary source material. In her analysis of Douglass’ article, Jordan provides an accessible history of 1880s-era United States that contextualizes the Jim Crow era, while examining the nature of prejudice in society, and Frederick Douglass’ faith that the human origin of prejudice means that it can be eradicated. Professor Pinsker described Jordan’s work as “rich and engaging” and noted that she “demonstrated terrific attention to detail.”

2020-2021 Winner: Olivia Oligny-Leggett

Olivia Oligny-Leggett holding her certificate

Olivia Oligny-Leggett ‘24 won for her project entitled “The Impacts of Industrial Meat: Current Concerns and Future Potential for Change.”  She created this project for Professor Scott Boback’s FYS, The Evolution of a Cheeseburger.
Olivia’s paper was selected for the library’s research prize because it plainly makes the case for the many ways in which industrial meat production contributes to climate change.  Rather than outright discouraging the consumption of meat, her paper offers a variety of practical solutions, large and small, that both meat producers and consumers can take to reduce the effects of raising meat livestock on our environment.  Olivia cites scholarly articles, research data, and information from world resource organizations to make her case. Librarian Chris Bombaro said that Olivia’s paper is one of the most exhaustively researched works she has ever seen from a first-year seminar student.

2019-2020 Winner: Maeve Thistel

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.

Maeve Thistel accepting her certificate from Dean Weissman

2018-19 Winner: Tra Pham

Tra Pham holding her certificate

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.

2018-2019 Winner: Hoang Vo

Hoang Vo with his certificate.

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.