Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 University Libraries Undergraduate Research Project Contest!
Beckie Jaeckels won first prize and a $500 scholarship for her paper “Written in Stone: A Critical Look at the Nation’s Dealings with Racial Discussion in 2017.” Her paper is structured around her work with Dr. Berkley Hudson as a Discovery Fellow. Dr. Berkley describes the paper as an exploration of “the twists and turns that have led to today’s debate about the role and the legitimacy of monuments dedicated to the Confederacy and its Lost Cause and those connections with enslavement and with contemporary racial strife and brutality.” Beckie cites a wide variety of 38 primary and secondary sources, from traditional print sources to tweets.
Autumn McLain won second prize and a $250 scholarship for her research paper “Jonathan Swift, Misanthropy, and ‘The Voyage to The Land of The Houyhnhnms’.” Autumn began her research with primary documents, Swift’s correspondence around the time when he was drafting Gulliver’s Travels, before delving into secondary sources. Her course professor Dr. Stephen Karian says that this strategy “allowed her to foreground her own words and ideas and to prevent them from being subsumed by those of other scholars–something that many undergraduates struggle with when writing research papers.”
The winners’ papers are archived in MOspace, MU’s digital repository, and linked above.
Thanks to the Friends of the University of Missouri Libraries for sponsoring these awards.
For senior journalism student Victor Topouria, shying away from opportunities isn’t an option. When he saw the call for the University Libraries Undergraduate Research Contest, he immediately submitted his research for consideration. His instincts were correct because his paper, The fabric road to power: geography of the textiles trade along the new Silk Road and China’s path to geopolitical dominance through the textiles supply chain, won first place and a $500 scholarship.
His paper was originally written for Dr. Hobb’s geopolitics class, but it ended up more interdisciplinary than he anticipated. This interdisciplinary approach required Topouria to investigate multiple resources for his research; resources with which he was not at all familiar. ” The library is one of the most underappreciated places on campus. Sure, everyone loves it as a study space, but I think if all of us took advantage of its resources just once, we would find it difficult to be satisfied with Google.The librarians I met were perhaps the most helpful people I’ve worked with during my time at Mizzou. I could not have completed my research without them.”
Born in Columbia, Missouri, and spending most of his childhood in Tibilsi, Georgia, Topouria says his degree will give him the versatility to pursue different passions. He wants current and future Tigers to be open to different perspectives. “Be willing to have your mind changed. Mizzou is full of interesting humans with totally different perspectives and worldviews. If your ideas, opinions, and goals remain exactly the same as when you arrived, you’re doing college wrong. Everything is a learning opportunity, and Mizzou is a place that grants you the freedom to learn, in and out of the classroom. You just have to want it!”