Most University students don’t get paid for doing schoolwork. Four students who recently won the University’s Undergraduate Library Research Awards competition did.
Junior Alletta Brenner and senior Dunya Chirchi each won $1,000 scholarships in the competition, which evaluated work done in University upper-division (300-400 level) credit courses during the 2004 calendar year.
Brenner’s paper, “The Good and Bad of That Sexe: Monstrosity and Womanhood in Early Modern England,” was written for a Robert D. Clark Honors College seminar. Chirchi’s paper, “The Combined Success of the International Tropical Timber Agreements,” was written for International Environmental Politics, a political science class.
Associate professor of political science Ronald Mitchell, who nominated Chirchi’s paper for consideration, wrote in an e-mail that Chirchi’s paper stood out from others in the class because of the
depth of her understanding of existing theories on environmental treaties and the extent of her research and data collection on a specific environmental treaty.
“I was very excited when I found out my paper had been selected, and I am truly honored to be one of the first recipients of this prestigious award,” Chirchi wrote in an e-mail.
Brenner said her 20-page paper almost failed to come together when a computer crisis destroyed a week’s worth of work the day before it was due. She’s now considering submitting the paper to journals, and she said she plans to use the scholarship to cover living expenses while she works on her Honors College thesis.
Students entering the competition had to supply a letter of support from a University faculty member.
Lacey Ehrenkranz and Lezlie Frye, both seniors, won $500 honorable mention scholarship prizes. Ehrenkranz wrote “Ovid Transformed: The Dynamics of Sexual Positioning in Titian’s Poesie” for Critical Approaches to Art History, an art history class. Ehrenkranz said in an e-mail that she is now expanding her paper into an honors thesis.
Frye wrote “As Trans as Trans Could Be” for a transgender issues class and expanded it for a thesis in women’s and gender studies.
This year was the first time the University has had such a competition. Associate University librarian for instructional services Andrew Bonamici wrote in an e-mail that the library hopes to hold the
competition again and is currently raising funds for future awards. Information about future competitions will be posted on the Internet at
“I think it is a shame that most excellent student work is never read by anyone except the student and the professor, and is lost once it is graded,” Bonamici wrote. “Why not publish valuable student work so it is available to the community? This is good for the student’s portfolio
by providing a bona fide publication, good for the scholarly community because the research is valuable, and also reflects well on the UO campus.”
Winning entries are posted on the Internet at scholarsbank.uoregon.edu.
Bonamici said the competition also aimed to encourage undergraduates to use the University libraries’ primary sources collections, which include “manuscripts and archives, photo collections, government documents, Map/GIS resources, microfilm sets, facsimile editions of historic works and more.”
Bonamici said entries were evaluated on extensive, creative use of library services, resources and collections in any format; effective application of information literacy and fluency principles; evidence of significant personal knowledge in the methods of research and inquiry; originality of thought, mastery of content appropriate to class level, clear writing and overall
quality of presentation.
“I can honestly say that reading these papers was one of the most exciting experiences I’ve had in nearly 20 years at the UO,” wrote Bonamici, who judged the competition’s 12 entries along with four other faculty members and administrators. “All of the entries were excellent, and proved that we have students here with world-class academic talent, passion for their subjects, curiosity and tenacity in the research process. It made me very proud to be part of this academic community, which is something we need to celebrate more often.”