UC San Diego Expands Undergraduate Library Research Prize

Enhanced award program recognizes record number of undergraduate students

Pictured left to right: (standing) Dani Brecher Cook, Associate University Librarian, Learning and User Experience; David Artis, Dean of Undergraduate Research Advancement and Director of the Undergraduate Research Hub; Rishi Yalamarty, Life and Health Sciences Winner; Annie Do, Data & GIS Lab Honorable Mention; Mia Elliot, Special Collections & Archives Winner; Jingyi Chen, Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities Winner; Erik Mitchell, University Librarian (sitting); Saachi Shenoy and Srianusha Nandula, Data & GIS Lab Co-Winners; and Aashi Patel, Special Collections & Archives Honorable Mention.

Seven UC San Diego students have been selected to receive the 2024 Undergraduate Library Research Prize (ULRP) awards and honorable mentions. An annual awards program that enriches the undergraduate student experience at UC San Diego, the ULRP celebrates the strategic use of UC San Diego Library services, resources and expertise in support of the university’s mission.

Now in its 18th year, the ULRP award program has been expanded to include two new areas of study (Data & GIS and Special Collections & Archives), allowing more undergraduates to submit their scholarly work and demonstrate their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The original award categories included Life & Health Sciences; Physical Sciences & Engineering; and Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities.

“Once again, we’ve been fortunate enough to bestow the highly sought-after Undergraduate Library Research Prize upon numerous well-deserving UC San Diego students,” said David Artis, Dean of Undergraduate Research Advancement and Director of the Undergraduate Research Hub at UC San Diego. “Kudos to the Library for expanding the award categories, thereby ensuring a diverse and equitable program that covers several academic disciplines and allows more students to be recognized.”

Awards are given at the end of each spring quarter at a recognition ceremony at Geisel Library. This year, honorable mention honorees will have a book of their choosing plated in their name and have their work showcased in eScholarship, the University of California’s official Open Access Platform. Winners in each category will receive the same, along with a $1,000 cash award.

To be considered for the prize, students must be nominated by a faculty member and present their project at research-focused events, such as the Undergraduate Research Conference and Summer Research Conference. Projects submitted for UC San Diego course credit are also eligible.

“After the 2023 awards ceremony, we saw a need to make this award program more accessible to students of varying disciplines,” said Dani Brecher Cook, Associate University Librarian, Learning and User Experience, and Administrator of the Undergraduate Library Research Prize. “Seeing us go from two to seven awardees in one year brings us great joy. We look forward to continuing to grow the program and maintaining our commitment to supporting diverse and impactful student research.”

The UC San Diego students receiving the 2024 Undergraduate Library Research Prize are:

Data & GIS Category

  • Winners: Srianusha Nandula, Revelle College, and Saachi Shenoy, Revelle College, “Enhancing Historical Understanding with Retrieval Augmented Generation.”
    • Nominated by Professor Colin Jemmott (Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute)
  • Honorable Mention: Annie Do, Sixth College, “tRNA-Derived Fragments as Post-Transcriptional Regulators of Oncogenes and Tumor Suppressor Genes in Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma.”
    • Nominated by Professor Weg Ongkeko (Department of Surgery)

Life & Health Sciences Category

  • Winner: Rishi Yalamarty, Seventh College, “A Blood-Based Diagnostic Approach for Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma.”
    • Nominated by Professor Weg Onkeko (Department of Surgery)

Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities Category

  • Winner: Jingyi Chen, Thurgood Marshall College, “Domestic Abuse and Women’s Legal Consciousness: Cases from Magazines and Newspapers in China in the 1930s.”
    • Nominated by Professor Weijing Lu (Department of History)

Special Collections & Archives Category

  • Winner: Mia Elliott, Eleanor Roosevelt College, “Uncovering History through Archival Poetry: Susan Howe’s The Midnight.”
    • Nominated by Professor Ameeth Vijay (Department of Literature)
  • Honorable Mention: Aashi Patel, Thurgood Marshall College, “The Circle of Violence: Eigner’s Poetry amid the Socio-political Unrest of the 1960s.”
    • Nominated by Professor Ameeth Vijay (Department of Literature)

“Being selected as a recipient of the Undergraduate Library Research Prize this year is a great honor,” said Jingyi Chen, a second-year Political Science – Data Analytics major and winner of the 2024 ULRP for Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities. “I would like to take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to the Library and its fantastic librarians and staff. Without their support, my research project could not have been realized.”

The ULRP award program is co-sponsored by the UC San Diego Library, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Campus Life and UC San Diego Alumni. For more information, visit lib.ucsd.edu/ulrp.

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