Undergraduate Research Awards

Applications Due: Friday, March 30, 2018

The Giovale Library Undergraduate Research Awards recognize students producing outstanding research projects such as papers, videos, posters, and blogs that demonstrate information literacy and the effective use of library resources.

A judging committee comprised of faculty, students, staff and librarians will select three winners:

  • First place: $200
  • Second place: $100
  • Emerging researcher award: $50 for work completed by a first or second year student

View the Award Rubric and application information below to understand how submissions are judged.




To be eligible for the Giovale Library Undergraduate Research Award you must:

  • Be currently enrolled as an undergraduate at Westminster College;
  • Have completed the research project under consideration for a credit course or under the direction of a faculty member at Westminster College during either the May/Summer 2017, Fall 2017, or Spring 2018 semester;
  • Agree to allow Giovale Library and Westminster College to use your research project and application materials to promote the Award and undergraduate research conducted at the College.

If you are a first or second year student, you will qualify for the Emerging Researcher Award.


To apply for an award, submit your research project, a complete bibliography, and a 500 – 700 word reflection on your library research experience using the online application form. You will also need to include the name of a faculty sponsor. The faculty sponsor should be the professor who advised the project or taught the class in which the work was completed. Please inform your professor that you are applying for the award. 

In your reflection about your research experience, you may want to address the following questions:

  • Did this project build on a previous paper or ideas from other classes?
  • In what ways did the library and its resources help shape your ideas for your projects?
  • What did you discover about the tools and techniques for research in the library?
  • What did you learn about finding and evaluating information on your topic, or in your discipline?
  • What discoveries did you make in the library by chance or coincidence? And, which through thoroughly planned research strategies?
  • What lessons about the general research process did you take away from the experience?
  • Would you do anything differently because of what you learned from this research process?

Please note that the judges rely heavily on what they learn of your research through this reflection. You will probably need at least a page or so, or a comparable length multimedia project, to conduct a quality reflection.


2018 Award Winners

First Place


Kaitlin Bradley, for her paper, “The Economic History of Venezuela Through the 20th Century: Re-Evaluating Venezuela's Economic Crisis"

Faculty Advisor: Gary Marquardt

“This research process has taught me about the importance of revisiting and reevaluating previous work and questioning sources and research methods. The importance of diverse and interdisciplinary research became apparent …. I learned to be flexible in my research without losing direction.  While I’ve made significant progress in understanding the Venezuelan economic crisis through my research, that same research has taught me to not become complacent in my understanding of the topic, to always keep researching and looking for new perspectives and explanations.”

Kaitlin Bradley, Reflective Essay

Second Place Winner


Jessica Taghvaiee, for her paper, “The Non-Citizen Nightmare: An Analysis of Racist U.S. Immigration Policies”

Faculty Advisor: Leonardo Figueroa-Helland

“… researching for this paper taught me a lot about the resources that were available to me through Giovale Library. I was able to have access to physical materials, explore multiple social science databases, use interlibrary loan, and even talk to a librarian about my research thanks to the resources Giovale Library provided me with. By using these resources and having the willingness to ask for help, I was able to conduct research that helped me write a thorough and scholarly-backed paper on the racism of U.S. immigration policy. Knowing how much work I put into researching for this paper, I am proud of the final result.” 

Jessica Taghvaiee, Reflective Essay