UC San Diego Students Receive Library Research Prize for Outstanding Research Skills

Congratulations to the 2017 Undergraduate Library Research Prize Winners!

Recognizing that outstanding student research goes hand in hand with knowledgeable use of library resources, collections, and services, the UC San Diego Library has announced four honorees for the 2017 Undergraduate Library Research Prize. Their research topics ranged from fish communities living in low oxygen zones in the Gulf of California to the role of women as playwrights in Restoration England.
The annual award is sponsored by the UC San Diego Library, the Vice Chancellor for Students Affairs, and the UCSD Alumni Association. Awards are given in the Social Sciences, Arts, Humanities and Physical and Life Sciences categories. They include a cash award of $1,000 and $500 for first and second place, respectively.

“It’s very rewarding to see the students’ passions, growth as scholars, and their special relationships with their faculty mentors,” said Tammy Nickelson Dearie, Interim University Librarian. “While the winning entries showcase the rich intellectual diversity of student research taking place across campus, there’s a common thread. Each of these students deepened their research experience by investing extra time and effort in using the resources in the UC San Diego Library.” 

Yuanhao Qu
Yuanhao Qu

In the Life and Physical Sciences category, First Prize was awarded to Yuanhao (Jerry) Qu, a Warren College sophomore, for his research on the role of HPV in the pathogenesis of head and neck cancer through piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs). Qu conducted his research in Dr. Weg Ongkeko’s lab at the Veteran’s Hospital, who commented, “Jerry is an ideal student, always able to quickly understand and apply an unfamiliar principle. He shows an immense passion for research and an unparalleled work ethic, he spent countless hours on the bench and in the Library demonstrating his expertise in using library resources.”

Second Prize in the Life and Physical Sciences category went to Maryanne Beckwith, a senior from John Muir College who graduated in June 2017. She was nominated by her mentor, Dr. Lisa Levin, a professor in the Biological Oceanography department at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography. Beckwith’s research analyzed demersal fish communities in the Gulf of California. Levin noted, “Maryanne showed tremendous initiative in utilizing library scientific studies that were only available in Spanish. She was able to translate international texts and greatly improved the quality of her research.”

First Prize in the Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities category went to Sarah Prentiss, a fourth year student from Sixth College. Prentiss’ research focused on women and feminine identity shown through the plays of the Restoration period in England. She worked under the mentorship of Theater Professor Janet Smarr who noted, “Sarah learned to scan tables of contents, indexes, and mine from text references in footnotes. Her curiosity and the Library resources were essential in helping her present her research in a streamlined presentation at the 30th Annual UC San Diego Undergraduate Research Conference held last April.”

Image of Attendees
Attendees enjoyed hearing about the rich student research taking place across campus.

The Second Prize for Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities was awarded to Megan Finch, a fourth year student in Sixth College who was nominated by Sociology Assistant Professor Kevin Lewis. Finch’s research explored the impact of divorce on college students’ behavior and identity in romantic relationships. Lewis added, “I had the pleasure of watching Megan develop from a bright and eager undergraduate to a skilled researcher ready to succeed in graduate school.”

To be considered for the Undergraduate Library Research Prize, students must be nominated by faculty members and must participate in either the annual UC San Diego Undergraduate Research Conference held in the spring, or in other university programs that foster and recognize student research and scholarship. The Undergraduate Research Conference is one of three major undergraduate scholarly meetings that the Office of Student Affairs Academic Enrichment Program coordinates each year that afford students from all academic disciplines the opportunity to present findings of research conducted under the guidance of UC San Diego faculty members.