Winners of the 2015 UCLA Library Prize for Undergraduate Research

Congratulations to this year's winners of the 2015 UCLA Library Prize for Undergraduate Research!

This prestigious award recognizes and honors excellence in undergraduate research at UCLA, as exemplified through the thoughtful use of library collections in the creation of an outstanding research project or paper. The prizes consisted of seven categories, and winners were awarded cash prizes ranging from $250 to $450 for major and minor projects in the arts and humanities, social sciences, sciences, use of Special Collections, and use of the Clark Library. Winners were chosen by a panel of librarians, faculty, and a former prize winner. This year's prize winning papers ranged from pirates to mathematical image processing to a research-based website that shares stories of black prisorners in Los Angeles in the 1920's and 30's. 

Its inspiration comes from Ruth Simon, BA '58, a lover of books and libraries. Guided by her passion for reading and research and wishing to share her devotion to libraries, Simon established the Ruth Simon Library Prize for Undergraduate Research, the first endowment of its kind at UCLA. Its goal is to inspire and reward UCLA undergraduates for conducting outstanding library research now and for generations to come. Winning projects and reflective essays will be posted on eScholarship, the UC’s open-access digital publishing platform.

For more coverage of this year's ceremony, profiles on select winners, and to view a recording of the proceedings, please see the features in the Daily Bruin and UCLA Newsroom.

2015 Winners  
Best Major Project in the Arts and Humanities  Annie Sundelson
  “Putin’s Dirty Little Secret: HIV/AIDS in the Russian Federation”
  Faculty sponsor: Yelena Furman (Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Languages and Cultures)

Best Minor Project in the Arts and Humanities 

Ann Zeng


“Numeral-Classifier Reduplication in Beijing Mandarin”


Faculty sponsor: Jessica Rett (Linguistics)


Best Major Project in the Social Sciences 

Yiming Ha


“A Clash of Perceptions: Deceit in the Ming-Japan Negotiations during the Imjin War”


Faculty sponsor: Katsuya Hirano (History)


Best Minor Project in the Social Sciences 

Alison Mally


“Medical Denialism: Where Must Society Draw the Line?”


Faculty sponsor: Jeffrey H. Miller (Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics)


Best Major Project in the Sciences 

Jing An

  “Beltrami Energy Based Partitioning Model for Image Segmentation”
  Faculty sponsor: Luminita Vese (Mathematics)

Best Minor Project in the Sciences 

Brenda Pack

  238U/232Th zircon geochronology for the most recent eruptions of El Chichón volcano (Chiapas, Mexico)”
  Faculty sponsor: Axel Schmitt (Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences)

Best Project Incorporating Resources from UCLA Library Special Collections

Magdalyn Schmall, Lucas Bensley, and Neda Hefzi


“The Black Prisoners Project” (website)


Faculty sponsor: Kelly Lytle Hernandez (History)


Best Project Incorporating Resources from the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library

Michael Stinson

“A Good Death”


Faculty sponsor: Carla Pestana (History)

Photo credit: Don Liebig/ASUCLA