2014 Undergraduate Research Award Winners Announced

UO Libraries honors six students for outstanding scholarly achievement

Six University of Oregon students who authored outstanding research papers and theses during the 2014 calendar year have been named winners in the university's Undergraduate Research Awards competition.
Sponsored by the University of Oregon Libraries, the annual program honors UO students who produce exceptional original research and scholarship using resources available through the Libraries.
A reception honoring the recipients was held in the Knight Library Browsing Room on Friday, May 15, 2015.
Electronic copies of all winning students’ work have been deposited in Scholars’ Bank, the library’s open access archive for UO research, publications, and supporting materials in digital form.
The Undergraduate Research Awards are made possible by endowments established through the generous support of Gretchen and Walt Barger, Lisa and Jon Stine, and Barbara Blinco Sparks.
For more information on the awards--including information about how to apply for the 2015 awards-- visit http://library.uoregon.edu/undergrad-research-award.

Winners of $1,000 in the Thesis Category

Brandon ParryBrandon Parry

Major: Ethnic Studies and History
Paper Title: All-American Babyfaces, Un-American Heels: Race and Nationalism Inside the Squared Circle
Faculty Sponsor: Brian Klopotek, Department of Ethnic Studies
Library Recognition: "David Woken, Miriam Rigby, Yen Tran, Barbara Jenkins, and the rest of the University of Oregon Library staff who saved me hours of time in helping find and access resources that were essential in helping me complete this project."
Student Quote: "Writing this paper has convinced me that academic research is something that I am interested in doing as a career. The staff, space, and materials associated with the University of Oregon made the process of writing a multi-term research paper as painless as it could possibly be. My experience working extensively with library resources has reinforced to me that there is an academic field that exists that is interested in the topics that capture my imagination."

Neema Sahebi

Neema Sahebi

Major: History
Paper Title: Winning the Wrong War: How the United States Lost the Will of the Iraqi People
Faculty Sponsor: Alexander Dracobly, Department of History
Library Recognition: "While I did not work closely with any particular faculty member, the resources I used for the project came almost entirely from Knight Library . . . I used the library’s online database to check out virtually every book in stock on the subject matter. Furthermore, I used the plethora of hyperlinks attached to every book’s profile [in the Library catalog] in order to come across other possible books of interest."
Student Quote: "This project has taught me how to find credible information and, more importantly, how to use it to generate my own thoughts. Perhaps the most valuable lesson I learned, however, is the great importance of exposing myself to ideas that contradict and oppose my own. I have learned that in doing so one pushes his mind to great lengths and tests the validity and integrity of his own thoughts. This paper has taught me to have no fear in completely altering my thoughts and opinions."

Winners of $1,000 in the Single-term Paper Category

Zach BigalkeZach Bigalke
Major: History
Paper Title: Anything But Ringers: Historical Sketches of the Soccer Hotbeds that Produced the 1930 U.S. World Cup Team
Faculty Sponsor: Ellen Herman, Department of History
Library Recognition: "The library system at the University of Oregon provided the raw materials that allowed me to produce this academic creation. The interface of the library’s request system was easy to use, and each time a new book came in the crew at the checkout desk was helpful and friendly in quickly retrieving my materials."
Student Quote: "Until I started work on this paper, I had never been involved in crafting a paper in an academic fashion on a sports-related topic. Combining two of my passions, sports and history, thus allowed me to grow as a writer and a historian and has improved subsequent writing I have produced as a result . . . Each time I searched through the catalog and surfed through the stacks offered an opportunity to expand my understanding of how sports do not exist in a vacuum within society; rather, each new wrinkle illuminated further the fact that sports help shape and are in turn shaped by the societies in which they are played."

Ayantu MegeressaAyantu Megerssa

Major: International Studies, Clark Honors College
Paper Title: Assimilation and Activism: An Analysis of Native Boarding School Curriculum and Native Student Activism in the 20th Century
Faculty Sponsors: Kevin Hatfield, Department of History and Jennifer O'Neal, UO Libraries
Library Recognition: "This research would have been an insurmountable feat without the UO Library resources, and without the incredible breadth of knowledge and willingness to help on the part of UO Archivist and Librarian Jennifer O’Neal . . . I utilized an extensive array of resources throughout my research process, both those owned by the Knight Library, and those accessible to me through ILL and Summit. In Special Collections, I spent a great deal of time working with historic periodicals, such as The Weekly Chemawa American collection, a historic student newspaper published at Chemawa Indian Boarding School in Salem, Oregon."
Student Quote: "Ultimately, utilizing a broad array of library resources allowed me to grow as a scholar as I attempted to piece together primary sources in order to tell my own version of the past. Because information on my topic was not readily available in textbooks or through Google searches, the library guided me in my pursuit of seemingly unattainable information. Because of resources available to me through the UO Libraries, I do not have to settle with accepting the narratives of historians past, but rather I have the power to make history as I see fit."

Mairin PeckMairin Peck

Major: Human Physiology and Spanish, Clark Honors College
Paper Title: Ecuador's Yasuni-ITT Initiative: A Case Study on International Climate Change Mitigation Narratives
Faculty Sponsor: Mark Carey, Clark Honors College
Library Recognition: "Professor Carey put me in contact with [History & Latin American Studies Librarian] David Woken, and a meeting with him yielded a goldmine of primary resources. David was an essential resource throughout my entire research process; without his guidance, my bilingual investigation would not have been possible."
Student Quote: "I was eager to incorporate my existing academic interests into my topic . . . I began investigating the relationships between climate, culture and diet in the region, with a public health focus . . . The movement’s blurring of Western and indigenous ideals fascinated me, and I was intrigued about the potential policy applications. I was also excited about the prospect of performing bilingual research. Reflecting back, I am grateful that the resources available at the UO library--reference librarians, databases, and borrowing services--afforded me the opportunity to conduct this exciting and novel research."

Lisa WilsonLisa Wilson

Major: History
Paper Title: The Sovietization of Commemoration: The Anti-Religious and Ideological Functions of Soviet Secular Life-Cycle Rituals
Faculty Sponsor: Julie Hessler, Department of History
Library Recognition: "During their orientation to resources for Soviet historical research, librarians Heghine Hakobyan and David Woken not only provided a clearer picture of the tools at our disposal, but also conveyed their enthusiasm and readiness to offer further help. I also want to thank all the library staff who maintain the Summit loan system and who kept the library open during the weekend of the ice storm in February, during which I located a number of extremely valuable supplementary sources."
Student Quote: "Because of the relative lack of existing scholarship on this topic, I had to be more creative in my research approach and more diligent in compiling sources than in papers I have previously written. I found my initial assumptions disproven and had to determine my own framework for analyzing the performance, effects, and outcomes of Soviet secular life-cycle rituals . . .  [The East View Information Services database of Russian-language periodicals] granted me invaluable access to primary source material--including discourse on the rituals from Soviet authorities and everyday citizens as well as official statistics on the rites--that would have been otherwise unreachable because of the language barrier."