Researchers Receive Libraries’ Awards at Expo – OHIO University Libraries

Researchers Receive Libraries’ Awards at Expo

Posters, papers and excited researchers filled every ramp and corner of the Convocation Center as the Ohio University student body gathered for the 2018 Student Research and Creative Activity Expo on April 12.

A new online map detailed the location of each of the more than 800 presenters, and among them were seven winners of awards given by the University Libraries.

Each year, a team of librarians and staff awards undergraduate students, graduate students and students who work in the Libraries with monetary awards. Joyce Douglas, the library support associate who organizes the Libraries’ awards, said students submit applications that are then judged according to the clarity of the research as well as the researchers’ use of the Libraries’ materials.

The team then reviews presentations at the Expo to determine first-and-second-place winners, Douglas added, judging the students on design, creativity and clarity, among other qualities.

“The Expo was wonderful as always,” Douglas said. “Seeing the terrific projects each year is our reward for the work we do at the Library.”

Read below for more thoughts from the Libraries’ winners.

Seema Mahato, first-place winner in the graduate student category, poses with Scott Seaman, dean of Ohio University Libraries, who presents her with an award. Mahato, a third-year doctoral candidate studying education research and evaluation, presented her project titled “Logic Model, Theory of Change or Both Insights from an Academic-Community Partnership Project.” She said the Libraries has been the “engine” for her research, adding, “Look at the cool things we have in the Library. When you don’t know if you are motivated enough, just hang around in the Library, see other people studying—the ambiance, and everything. I know I can depend on the Library for [all my research].”


Bethany Bella, who took the first-place award in the undergraduate category for her research titled “Ecotourism for ‘Empowerment?’ An Ecofeminist Examination of Women’s Roles in Conservation-Based Sustainable Development,” shows Seaman how her work came together. Bella, a specialized study major in feminist political ecology, said the Libraries’ resources were essential for her project, which required a full literature review. “It was challenging to find the right keywords to [find] what I was interested in researching. Sherri Saines [subject librarian for social sciences] was very helpful; we sat down a couple times and tried to go through where the literature is on this topic. I used a lot of the inter-library loan resources to get articles or book chapters that were not available right away.”


Sidney Travis, who took first place in the Libraries’ students’ category, poses after Seaman handed her the first-place award. Travis, a senior anthropology major who has worked at Alden Library for three years, presented her project “Spatial Distribution Analysis of Taphonomic Processes at the Patton Cave Site Using ArcGIS.” Travis said as a student worker, she is extremely familiar with the resources the Libraries’ offers. “Using the Libraries, I was able to get resources on specific [sources] that I needed, and using papers that I [found] online and other papers from other rock shelters, I [was] better able to analyze the bones that I used for my project.”


Sidney Travis, who took first place in the Libraries’ students’ category, shows Seaman some of the pieces in her collection. Travis, who studies anthropology, studied material from the Patton Cave site in Ohio.


Tara Handley, who studies athletic training, shakes Seaman’s hand after he awards her the second-place award in the graduate category. Handley, who titled her research “Changes in Athletic Identity in High School Athletes Before and After Injury,” said the Libraries provided the “greatest support” in all steps of her research process. “My research began at the Library…that was my quiet place to really focus…I was really able to hone in, spending hours just reading. [The Libraries] really provided me the support I needed to build this research from the ground up.”


Seaman presents Cassidy Cleland, a political science major, with the second-place undergraduate award. Cleland presented “Raising Expectations and Failing to Deliver: The Effects of Collective Disappointment and Distrust Within the African American Community.” Cleland based her research on literature she read using the University Libraries databases. “I spent—I don’t even want to know how many—hours in the library study rooms since I’ve started writing this…from drafting my proposal to finishing it,” Cleland said. “I have taken out so many books from OhioLink…it would have cost me an arm and a leg to do on my own.”


Xinyue Ren, who received the second-place award for the Libraries’ student categoy, tells Seaman about the research she had been working on.  To complete her project titled “Using Online Learning Tools to Obtain Competency-based Knowledge in the Just-in-Time Learning Manner,” Ren used both journal articles and the writing center at Alden Library to put together her project. Receiving the award from the Libraries has given Ren a new sense of motivation, she said. “I feel like my research has been recognized by someone, and [the Libraries] see the values of my research.”


Austin Waag, a graduate student and winner of the Libraries’ choice award, explains his research on brown bats in Yellowstone National Park to Seaman. Each year, the team of librarians at the Expo select a presentation that catches their eyes, and Waag’s work with the bat communities and white-nose syndrome was the 2018 winner.


Only some of the more than 800 presenters could fit on the main floor of the Convocation Center (seen here). Others crammed into the hallways and ramps, all excited to share their work.


All photos by Delia Palmisano/Ohio University Libraries