Student Spotlight

Library Prize Recognizes Outstanding Student Research Skills

Outstanding Student Research Skills

(Left to Right) Jessica Gross, Maaroof Saad, and
Jessica Knapp

Earlier this year, four UC San Diego undergraduates were recognized for the superior and strategic skills they demonstrated in using Library resources while conducting research projects. This annual competition, a partnership between the UC San Diego Library, Student Affairs, and the UC San Diego Alumni Association, provides the winning students, who must be nominated by faculty members, with cash prizes.

This year’s winners of the Library’s Undergraduate Library Research competition demonstrated “the outstanding research skills needed to excel at a major research university such as UC San Diego” said Brian E. C. Schottlaender, the University’s Audrey Geisel University Librarian, at a reception held in honor of the prize winners. “Good academic research does not happen without careful, studious, and strategic library research; these students have clearly learned that. Learning how to conduct research as an undergraduate is such an important part of our students’ education. I’m very pleased that we can continue to support and recognize, with our partners in Student Affairs and Alumni Affairs, these achievements.”

First prize in the 2014 Undergraduate Library Research Prize was given to Jessica Knapp, a fourth year Social Anthropology student, who won a $1000 award in the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities category. Jessica, whose faculty sponsor was Anthropologist Susanne Brenner, completed a research project on “The Effects of Mental Illness on the Javanese Family.” Jessica’s original research focused on the nexus of mental health and family and gender roles within Javanese society. Because very little research had been done in blending these two topics, Jessica actually contributed new knowledge in this field. Her research included a combination of training with Melanesian Studies librarian Kathy Creely and exploration of a variety of specialized resources, including Ethnographic Video Online and dissertation research using the ProQuest dissertation database.

Jessica Gross, also a fourth year Social Anthropology student, won 2nd prize in the Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities category, receiving a $500 award. Her research on “Elite and Religious Women and Their Role in Apothecary Science,” was sponsored by Professor Heidi Keller-Lapp, who serves as the academic coordinator for the Eleanor Roosevelt College’s  “Making of the Modern World” course sequence.

Jessica’s work began with an unpaid internship with Keller-Lapp, which she expanded on with her own research on the role elite women have played in apothecary science. As most research of the past has focused on the exclusion rather than the inclusion of women in this field, Jessica was able to add new knowledge to the existing literature through training and consultations with librarian Sam Dunlap, extensive use of the EBSCO research database, and use of UC San Diego Library’s Special Collections & Archives, among other resources.

Third year Human Biology student Maaroof Saad was the winner of First Prize in Life and Physical Sciences, which included a $1,000 cash prize. Maaroof’s research on “Alcohol-Dysregulated Micro RNA’s in the Pathogenisis of Oropharyngeal Cancer” was sponsored by Dr. Weg M. Ongkeko. Maaroof’s personal focus is on finding a cure for cancer. As there has been little improvement in the survival rate for oropharyngeal cancer, his research on the effects of alcohol consumption will contribute greatly to the literature on this topic. Maaroof exploited a number of medical databases, including Access Science and PubMed, and expressed that he was extremely grateful to Library staff, who guided him in his efforts to access the most up-to-date resources possible.

Second Prize in the Life and Physical Sciences category, which included $500 award, went to Adam Simon, a fourth year Organic Chemistry student. Adam’s research on the “Synthesis of Key Building Blocks for the Preparation of Amnioglycoside Mimetics” focuses on finding new analogs for anmioglycoside antibiotics. His faculty sponsor, Chemistry Professor Xitzhah Tor, was especially appreciative of his research into old and/or classic organic chemistry literature that helped to define a new area of research. Library staff trained Adam on how to mine a number of specialized resources, including the SciFinder and Reaxy databases, and the Merk index, which helped him determine safety factors during his experiment

Exhibits & Events

"That's the Ticket: Voting in the 19th Century."

  • November 4 – December 22, 2014
  • Lobby, Geisel Library.
  • For more information:
  • Webpage.

“HLHW lecture: Hitler’s Furies: Ordinary Women?”

  • November 13, 2014 5:00 to 7:00 pm
  • Seuss Room, Geisel Library.
  • For more information:
  • Webpage.

“Silent Films of LJ Cinema League.”

  • November 13, 2014 7:00 to 8:30 pm
  • Coast Room, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego.
  • 700 Prospect Street, La Jolla
  • For more information:
  • Webpage.

“Annual Turkey Calling Show.”

  • November 26, 2014 Noon to 1:00 pm
  • Seuss Room, Geisel Library.
  • For more information:
  • Webpage.

"HLHW Lecture: A Childhood in Hiding.”

  • January 21, 2014 5:00 to 7:00 pm
  • Seuss Room, Geisel Library.
  • For more information:
  • Webpage.

“National Kazoo Day.”

  • January 28, 2014 Noon to 1:00 pm
  • Seuss Room, Geisel Library.
  • For more information:
  • Webpage.

Domain Editor

Dolores Davies

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