W&M Libraries Announces Undergraduate Library Research Award Winners

William & Mary Libraries announced the recipients of its inaugural Undergraduate Library Research Awards. The winners are students who submitted papers that illustrated exemplary use of W&M Libraries tools and resources and the development of information-gathering skills. A total of four awards are granted each year in two categories: Freshman/Sophomore and Junior/Senior.

Junior/Senior Category 

First Place: Meredith Barber ’20 - $750 

Headshot of Meredith Barber

Meredith Barber ’20 won the first place award in the Junior/Senior category for the second chapter, “The ‘Cherry Tree Rebellion’: Jefferson’s  Controversial Addition to the Washington Memorial Landscape, 1936-1939”, of their honors thesis focusing on the historical memory of Thomas Jefferson from 1936-1945. The chapter explores the ‘Cherry Tree Rebellion’ in 1938, where 150 women chained themselves to Japanese cherry trees around the Tidal Basin in protest of their removal for the construction of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. In selecting Barber’s paper, the award committee was struck by the extensive primary source research, the quality of writing demonstrated in the chapter, and the multiple library and archival collections were accessed to complete the work.

Second Place: Sam Laveson ’20 - $500 

Headshot of Sam Laveson

Sam Laveson ’20 took the second place award in the Junior/Senior category for their paper, “Compliments, Compliment Responses, and Gender.” The paper examines the exchange of compliments by cisgender men and women in same-sex interactions, where the results of this study gives insight on how to give compliments that are mutually beneficial towards both parties. ​In selecting Laveson’s paper, the award committee was impressed by the research used to explore the topic and articulate a clear argument.

Freshman/Sophomore Category: 

First Place: Helen Heaton ’23 - $750 

Headshot of Helen Heaton

Helen Heaton ’23 earned the first place award in the Freshman/Sophomore category for their paper, “HIV in the Rural American South.” The paper discusses the factors contributing to the prevalence of the HIV epidemic in the rural American South which federal efforts need to commit to in order to effectively end HIV in this region of the country. The award committee enjoyed seeing the types of resources gathered to explore the topic, the themes drawn out in the paper, and Heaton’s reflection of their research process.

Second Place: Sydney Kennedy ’22 - $500 

Headshot of Sydney Kennedy

Sydney Kennedy ’22 has received the second place award in the Freshman/Sophomore category for their paper, “The Proto-Portraiture of North Etruscan Cinerary Urns and the Philosophy of Elite Self-Worth.” The paper looks at how Etruscan funerary communicates social identity and self-worth of social elite. The award committee like the varied use of scholarly sources, exploration of the topic and inclusion of images to highlight the variation of Etruscan urns.