Deadline: Friday, March 31, 2017, at 5:00 p.m.

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 3 prizes:

  • First place: $200
  • Second place: $100
  • Emerging researcher award: $50 for a project from a 100-level course

View the Award Rubric and reflection tips below to understand how submissions are judged.

Questions? Contact Chloe Barnett: 801-832-2266 or


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

  • Be currently enrolled as a 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 2016, Fall 2016, or Spring 2017 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.
  • Have a faculty member submit a letter of support for your project.

Reflection Tips

In addition to reviewing the judges’ selection rubric, you may find the following questions useful as you reflect on your library research experience.

  • 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 as a result 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. 


Information for Faculty Sponsors

In order for their application to be considered, students must have a letter of support from their instructor. Letters should be emailed to Chloe Barnett (

What to Address in the Letter

Please focus on how this student’s work meets the award criteria. Discuss the overall intellectual quality of this undergraduate research project and its contribution to the scholarship of the discipline. Your thoughts on how the project demonstrates the following will be especially helpful to the judges in their selection process:

  • Sophistication, originality and/or unusual depth or breadth in the use of library collections, including, but not limited to, printed resources, databases, primary resources and materials in all media;
  • Exceptional ability to select, evaluate, and synthesize library resources and to marshal them in the creation of a project in any medium that show originality and/or has the potential to lead to original research in the future; and,
  • Evidence of significant acquisition of information literacy skills, and the development of a habit of research and inquiry that shows the likelihood of persisting in the future.

It might help for you to view the judges’ Award Rubric, which will help you to understand how we are evaluating your student’s work.

2016 Award Winners

First Place

First Place: Avenel Rolfsen

Avenel Rolfsen, for her senior thesis, "People on the Periphery: The Situation of Jewish Women During World War II"

Faculty Advisor: Gary Marquardt

I built this paper off a number of published memoirs as well as primary sources and blips in larger books. I have applied themes from African history as well as Middle Eastern to inform my argument. Some African historians claim that during the colonial period women gained autonomy an idea I have applied to my research. Furthermore, I have looked at historical examples of prostitution in the Middle East to inform my understanding of prostitution in North Africa. I have used articles about women and French Colonial troops in West Africa to inform my understanding of the way women interacted with the military. If there is one things that I have learned from this research it is that the information you are looking for is often never where you think it will be, and that one most cast their net broadly to conduct truly effective research.

Avenel Rolfsen, Reflective Essay

"Most impressive in this paper is its analysis and original approach to an under-, and most likely un-researched, topic and region that had been lurking right beneath the historian’s nose. North Africa has taken a prominent place in WWII literature but its social elements are largely unexplored. Rolfson’s piece makes good use of the available literature on the Jewish labor camps in North Africa during WWII, occupied by Jewish males, and turns the coin to ask, what did Jewish women do during this period? The question is simple. To her surprise, Rolfson not only discovered that historians aren’t asking about women, but fail to acknowledge their activist approaches in mitigating their oppressive circumstances throughout this period."

Gary Marquardt, Faculty recommendation

Second Place

Second Place: Emma DeLoughery

Emma DeLoughery for her senior thesis project and paper "Simulating Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium and Change in Allele Frequency over time using Python"

Faculty Advisor: Brian Avery

Almost everything we do runs on computer code, yet finding scholarly sources that explicitly address and discuss the uses and capabilities of that code is a little more difficult. For my senior thesis project I built a simulation using the coding language Python to model population genetics according to the Hardy-Weinberg law. In writing my thesis paper based on the simulation, I wanted to find instances of other scientists who had used Python in their work. I used the GriffinSearch function available from the Giovale Library, as well as the PubMed database and Google Scholar to find resources…. I found myself crossing disciplines by finding sources not just in science but also in education, as I ultimately hope my simulation will be used in the classroom.

Emma DeLoughery, Reflective Essay

My initial expectations for this project were that if Emma wrote the code for the most basic population genetics equations and made them somewhat user friendly, that would be great . . . .Emma exceeded all of my expectations, turning this into both a research project for both of us, but also a potential teaching tool for me.

Brian Avery, Faculty recommendation

Emerging Researcher

Emerging Researcher: Amy Richards

Amy Richards, for her essay, "Societal Roles in the Development and Perpetuation of Eating Disorders"

Faculty Advisor: Matthew Heimburger

. . . sometimes I was unable to find the information no matter how many relatable keywords I tried or how wide the parameters. As a result I would return to a basic web browser such as Google or my library books to try to find other words I had yet to think of. Yet even then I often could not find what I wanted, so soon I began to realize that many of my initial assumptions and arguments might not have been correct or up-to-date. So sure enough in using keywords corresponding with the opposite of what I expected, I found information on each topic I desired to speak to. This was quite startling and eye-opening to me . . . .

Amy Richards, Reflective Essay

Amy’s work on eating disorders is an extraordinary piece of student research for a freshman to conceive and achieve. It is both sweeping in its scope and careful in its detail, and manages to bring new light and context to a topic many of us think we already understand.

Matthew Heimburger, Faculty recommendation