Undergraduate Research Award

The Woodruff Library Undergraduate Research Award recognizes and rewards Emory College undergraduate students who:

  • make extensive use of Woodruff Library’s collections and research resources in their original scholarship
  • show evidence of critical analysis in their research skills (i.e., locating, selecting, evaluating, and synthesizing information).

Undergraduate Research Award Details

Application Guidelines

Application Deadline

The deadline for application is Monday, February 29, 2016, by 5:00 p.m.

Number of Prizes

Up to three per year ($500 each). First-year students are encouraged to apply! Awards supported by the Elizabeth Long Atwood Fund.


To be eligible to win, applicants must:

  • be current Emory College undergraduates at any class level and in any discipline (humanities, social sciences, or sciences)
  • have completed their research project in the form of a paper, digital project, or poster since March 1 of the preceding year for an Emory University credit course
  • allow library staff to display their research project for public viewing following receipt of the Undergraduate Research Award

An evaluation panel comprised of Emory University faculty and librarians will focus primarily on the evidence of the applicant's research strategy, process, and personal learning, as summarized in an essay. Expectations for achievement will be commensurate with the applicant's class year and the requirements of the discipline. See more on award criteria below.


Presented in conjunction with the Undergraduate Research Symposium held at the Dobbs University Center Commons each April. For more information visit http://college.emory.edu/home/academic/research/sire/symposiums/index.html

Application Procedure

Applications will be submitted through Blackboard (see below) and must include the following:

  • An application cover sheet.
  • A signed letter of support from the supervising faculty member or instructor, submitted with the official Woodruff faculty cover sheet. Individual faculty members may nominate up to three students for this award.
  • A 500-750 word essay describing your research strategies and use of library tools and resources.  (See essay tips.)
  • A 150-word abstract/summary of the project.
  • A final version of the research project, which may be in the form of a paper, digital project, or poster.
  • A bibliography or other appropriate listing of sources consulted (See bibliography tips.)

Interested students should self-enroll through Blackboard:

  1. Login to Blackboard, click on Organizations.
  2. Search for “undergraduate research award”.
  3. In the search results, click the arrow next to the organization ID, and select Enroll.
  4. On the Self Enrollment page, click Submit to confirm your enrollment.
  5. Click OK to enter the Undergraduate Research Award site.

If you have any questions or to report issues enrolling in the Blackboard site, please contact the committee at: RESEARCHAWARD@LISTSERV.CC.EMORY.EDU

Undergraduate Research Award Criteria

Submissions will be judged based on how well they demonstrate the following:

  • 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 locate, select, evaluate, and synthesize library resources and to use them in the creation of a project that shows originality and/or has the potential to lead to original research in the future; and
  • Evidence of significant personal learning and the development of a habit of research and inquiry that shows the likelihood of persisting in the future.

An evaluation panel comprised of Emory University faculty, librarians and other educators will focus primarily on the evidence of the applicant's research strategy, process, and personal learning, as summarized in the research essay. Expectations for achievement will be commensurate with the applicant's class year and the requirements of the discipline.

  • Primary focus of judging should be the research essay and bibliography as evidence of the research process.
  • The project itself provides evidence of the appropriateness and synthesis of the research.
  • The letter of support should be used to learn about the initiative and independence shown by the student and to give an indication of the originality of the research and where it falls within its discipline.

An excellent submission should:

  • Demonstrate use of complex research tools such as primary resources, data sets, archival finding aids and specialized databases
  • Utilize a variety of types of information sources
  • Make use of Emory’s collections and services to their fullest
  • Show originality of thought and the potential to lead to original research in the future.
  • Show evidence of significant personal learning and the development of research and inquiry skills
  • Show careful evaluation of quality of information sources
  • Include correct and complete citation of materials, with annotations if appropriate

Essay Tips

An important part of your entry is the research essay, which will serve as evidence of your research process. The judges will use your essay to evaluate your use of library resources and collections. Some possible questions to consider when writing your essay might include:

  • What did you learn about the process of doing research during the course of your work?
  • What discoveries did you make through carefully planned research, and what through serendipity?
  • How will what you learned researching this project inform your future research work?
  • What did you learn about finding and evaluating sources?
  • What new discoveries did you make about library tools and techniques?

Bibliography Tips

Your bibliography is a crucial part of your entry. When creating your bibliography, remember:

Past Winners

Research Award Winners for 2015

  • Dominique Hayward, “Innocents’ Deaths.” Faculty sponsor: Carol Anderson
  • Abigail Holst, “The Atomic Bomb of Pesticides: A Historical Perspective on DDT.” Faculty sponsore: Elena Conis
  • Alyssa Weinstein, “Forgetting our History: America’s Failure to Protect Human Rights in Rwanda and Syria.” Faculty sponsor: Carol Anderson

Honorable Mention

  • Jacob Teich, “Overcoming the Ghost of Leo Frank: Atlanta Jews and the Civil Rights Movement.” Faculty sponsor: Carol Anderson

Research Award Winners for 2014

  • Fiona O'Carroll, "'The Instinct of Every Real Woman': The Ideas of the Anti-Suffrage Movement in the U.S., 1868-1920." Faculty sponsor: Patrick Allitt
  • Laurabeth Goldsmith, "Theresienstadt: Concentration Camp Camouflaged as the 'Model Jewish Settlement'." Faculty sponsor: Carol Anderson
  • Ryan Sutherland, "Exoticism and Musical Appropriation: The Javanese Gamelan in Debussy's 'Pagodes' (1903) and Russian Folk Music in Stravinsky's 'Le Sacre du Printemps' (1913)." Faculty sponsor: Elizabeth Clendinning

Honorable Mention

  • Chloe Burrell, "Cruelty: The Shifting Historical Definition of Marriage." Faculty sponsor: Judith Miller

Research Award Winners for 2013

  • Megan Corbat, “Descriptive and Substantive Representation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Persons in Connecticut’s Legislature: Single-Axis, Intersectional, and Qualitative Approach”
  • Elizabeth Graham, “Cultural Relativism versus Human Rights: US Foreign Policy on Female Genital Circumcision”
  • James Zainaldin, “Asclepius at Epidaurus: An Interpretation of the Sacred Space of Healing”

Research Award Winners for 2012

  • Hannah Coleman, “Clinton’s Strategic “G” Word: The United States’ Failure in Preventing the Rwandan Genocide” (first-year student award)  Abstract
  • Zachary Domach, “The Anglo-Norman Kingdom and Rome: William the Conqueror, Lafranc of Bec, Alexander II, and Gregory VI”  Abstract
  • Hyeok Kang, “Big Heads and Buddhist Demons: The Korean Military Revolution and the Northern Expeditions of 1654 and 1658”  Abstract

Research Award Winners for 2011

  • Naveed Amalfard,"A Blind horse upon a Treadmill: A Document Analysis of Hammond's Mudsill Theory" (first-year student award)  Abstract
  • Emily Jastromb, "Facing History: Memory and Recovery in the Aftermath of Atrocity"  Abstract
  • Simon Mettler, "The Effects of Ballistic Missiles on International Crises"  Abstract

Honorable Mention

  • Katie Kamura, "The Hidden Casualties of World War II: The Struggle for Remorse, Redress, and Recognition in Japan and the United States"  Abstract

Research Award Winners for 2010

  • David Elkind, “Information Warfare: Missile or Missive?”
  • Patrick Jamieson, “Foreign Criticisms of the 1871 Paris Commune: The Role of British and American Newspapers and Periodicals.”
  • Shiva Kooragayala, “American Transportation.”

Research Award Winners for 2009

  • Reina Factor, “The New Book, or, Childhood's Gift: The changing view of childhood in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries." Presley Pizzo, “Typology of Sonority Profiles in Word-final Consonant Clusters.”
  • Christina Welsch, “The 'Great and Meritorious Services' of Lord Robert Clive: National identity, the East India Company, and the parliamentary enquiry of 1772-1773.”

Honorable Mentions

  • Sarah Fell, “Redefining a National Identity: The portrayal of women in West German Cinema during Allied occupation.”
  • Benjamin Hein, “Adenauer's Step Dance: The precarious pursuit of rearmament prior to June 25th, 1950.”