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Everything is a Learning Opportunity

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!”

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Taira Meadowcroft

Taira Meadowcroft is a Health Sciences Librarian at the University of Missouri. She focuses on quality improvement, reference, and marketing for the University of Missouri Libraries.