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During UCLA's Undergraduate Research Week (May 20-24), the Library Prize for Undergraduate Research recognizes and honors excellence in undergraduate research at UCLA. This year, thirteen outstanding scholars are being recognized for their use of Library resources for a research paper or course project. Their submitted research will be hosted on eScholarship, the University of California's open access publishing platform.

Winners of these ten prizes, spanning seven categories, are being revealed on the Library’s Facebook, X, and Instagram accounts throughout the week and will be celebrated at a Library program with their advisors and other special guests.

Best research project completed for the Cluster Program ($700)

Researcher: Anne Chen '27
Major: Mathematics
Project: GOEs, PCS, and BMIs: Anorexia Nervosa and the Pressures of Figure Skating
Advisor: Jay Manzano, Assistant Resident Director at UCLA Residential Life

Anne Chen
Anne Chen

Katherine [Kapsidelis] and Makena [Tinney] gave us several tutorials on accessing the online library database and using Interlibrary Loan, which is how I obtained one of the most helpful sources for my paper. They taught us how to use Smart Search functions, research databases, and the Cluster 73 research guide to find sources. They suggested that because our research topics were niche, we would have to continually “zoom in and out” of topics– begin with restrictive search filters, then gradually unfilter to find more sources.

Best research project completed by a first-year freshman ($700)

Researcher: Kavin Ganesan '27
Major: Political Science
Project: The Impact of Natural Resources on Civil Conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Advisor: Tyson Roberts, Ph.D., Lecturer in the Dept. of Political Science; Joshua Goetz, Ph.D. student and Teaching Assistant in the Dept. of Political Science

Kavin Ganesan
Kavin Ganesan

I found UCLA Library resources exceptionally helpful when attempting to access resources that were often locked behind a paywall on other sites. These resources, largely books, were essential to my research. Other search strategies used include specific keywords, such as “DRC, Zaire, conflict, resource curse” largely using Google Scholar and JSTOR, which helped me expand on my knowledge of the texts by finding additional research to supplement the framework provided by the books.

Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences First Prize ($700)

Researcher: Kaitlyn Coons '24
Major: History and Classical Civilization double major, Digital Humanities and Latin Language and Culture double minor
: William Leybourn, the Broker of Knowledge: Reconstructing an Early Modern Intellectual Network
Advisor: Stefania Tutino, Ph.D., Professor, Vice Chair for Academic Personnel & Peter Reill Chair in European History (1450 to Modern) in the Dept. of History

Kaitlyn Coons
Kaitlyn Coons

Intrigued by this –seemingly influential– man who printed Galileo’s works in English for the first time yet
was condemned to the historical periphery by Plescia, I searched Leybourn’s name on the UCLA Library website for more information. The library search returned thousands of resources including both primary and secondary sources.

Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Second Prize ($400)

Researcher: Emma Horio '24
Major: English
Project: "
Blood and Thunder” in the Public Sphere: Deception, Feminist Sentiment, and Sexological Etiologies in Louisa May Alcott’s Sensation Fiction
Advisor: Christopher Looby, Ph.D., Professor in the Dept. of English

Emma Horio
Emma Horio

When I finished and submitted my thesis, I cried happy tears on the fifth floor of YRL, which had witnessed my efforts, setbacks, and frustrations. This project was conceived, written, and re-written in the library and with all of the library’s riches. In short, this project would not exist without the resources UCLA’s libraries have to offer.

Science, Engineering and Math First Prize ($700)

Researchers: Esteffani Maldonado '24, Madeline Louie '24, Kyra Kho '24, Mordecai Wesenachin '24
Major: Esteffani: Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics; Madeline: Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics,
Dirt's Hidden Defenders: Antibiotic Production in the Rhizosphere of Sage Hill
Advisor: Tejas Bouklas, Ph.D., Lecturer; Dominic Garza, Teaching Assistant; Juliet Stephenson, Teaching Assistant; in the Dept. of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics

Esteffani Maldonado, Madeline Louie, Kyra Kho, Mordecai Wesenachin
Esteffani Maldonado, Madeline Louie, Kyra Kho, Mordecai Wesenachin

During our time at UCLA, our team has benefited from the resources provided by the UCLA Library. We leveraged different services such as the Research Guides and the UCLA virtual private network (VPN) off campus. The Research Guides assisted in directing us to the correct resource databases among the immense array available to us. Due to the vast amount of information, the Research Guides posed as a trustworthy and reputable jumping off point for us to begin researching our project.

Science, Engineering and Math Second Prize ($400)

Researcher: Zoe Fu-Chen '24
Major: Marine Biology
The Role of Biological Evolution in the Persistence of Religion: Does Religion have Adaptive Value?
Advisor: Anthony Baniaga, Herbarium Curator at the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden

Zoe Fu-Chen
Zoe Fu-Chen

After finding the aisle in which the book was located, I was also able to find several other books that were immensely helpful for my thesis. The analysis on adaptive value that formed the bulk of my paper required a deep understanding of biological evolution and the specifics of natural selection. Although some online-accessible papers cover evolution, foundational evolutionary theory is best learned from academic books that are not widely available online nor in non-university libraries.

Best project using resources from UCLA Library Special Collections First Prize ($700)

Researcher: Alexandria Gilligan '24
Major: History
“Little Bronze Tokyo”: Housing and Employment for Black & Japanese Americans in Los Angeles during World War II, (1940-1950)
Advisor: Minayo Nasiali, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Dept. of History

The majority of my research material was sourced through the UC Library Search engine, an invaluable tool that helped me to efficiently conduct a targeted exploration of UCLA Library's massive collections. This search engine allowed me to navigate the variety of available resources, from scholarly articles and dissertations to special collections and digital databases. As a result, UC Library Search streamlined my research process and ensured my access to relevant and credible materials.

Best project using resources from UCLA Library Special Collections Second Prize ($400)

Researcher: Isabella Durgin '24
Major: English major, Geography minor
Animate Materiality: Hypertextuality in Lynd Ward’s Illustrated Frankenstein, in Conversation with Patchwork Girl
Advisor: Chris Mott, Ph.D., Senior Continuing Lecturer in the Dept. of English

Isabella Durgin
Isabella Durgin

From visits from subject librarians and classroom integrations with Library Special Collections, UCLA Library has been an instrumental part of my academic career. For nearly all of my classes, I have checked out books from YRL, requested books from SRLF and ILL, and, in three of my courses, I have visited Library Special Collections. I feel comfortable using the UC Library Catalog and other databases to jumpstart my projects.

Best project on music after 1900; Funded by the Hugo and Christine Davise Fund for Contemporary Music ($700)

Researcher: Ashley Dao '24
Major: Musicology
Chúng Tôi Đi Mang Theo Quê Hương: Intergenerational Nostalgia, Trauma, & Empathy in the Musicking of Little Saigon
Advisor: Raymond Knapp, Ph.D., Chair of Musicology and Distinguished Professor in the Dept. of Musicology and Director of Center for Musical Humanities

Ashley Dao
Ashley Dao

Some of my fondest memories with the UCLA Library include days that I came to the Music Library between classes with my Trader Joe’s grocery bag, where I was greeted by friendly, familiar student-worker faces who would lug over a pile of monographs and critical readers from the holding shelf onto the check-out desk. I would fill my bag with books, and this became somewhat of a ritual for me throughout my years of study at UCLA.

Best project using resources from the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library ($700)

Researcher: Lauren Heiberg '24
Major: History
Charitable Control: Regulation of the Poor at the British Lying-In Hospital
Advisor: Tawny Paul, Ph.D., Associate Adjunct Professor in the Dept. of History

Lauren Heiberg
Lauren Heiberg

I knew from the start of the course that I wanted to explore the British Lying-In Hospital account book, which was listed on our syllabus for later in the quarter. This account book was new to the Clark Library archive at the time. It was incredibly exciting to have access to a source with limited digital availability and not much existing research. The book also perfectly reflected my interests. As a history major on the pre-med track, I’m incredibly passionate about the history of medicine.