W&M Libraries Announces Undergraduate Library Research Award Winners

The William & Mary Libraries Undergraduate Library Research Awards recognize the creative and original library research completed by William & Mary undergraduate students. Awards are given to students whose papers best illustrate 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

Headshot of Georgia Thoms

First Place: Georgia Thoms ’23 - $750 
Georgia Thoms ’23 has received the first place award in the Junior/Senior category for their paper, “Comparison of Female Role in Ritual Cults to Ancient Greek Society.” The paper interrogates the accuracy of women's seclusion in ancient Greek society through the examination of three religious sites. In selecting Thoms’s paper, the award committee was struck by the cohesive argument and the extensive and well-utilized bibliography. 

Second Place: Justin Oei ’23 - $500
Justin Oei ’23 has received the second place award in the Junior/Senior category for their paper, “Theology in African American Spirituals and White Protestant Hymnody: A Comparative Study.”

Headshot of Justin Oei

The paper uses comparative analysis to examine the theological content in Black spirituals and white hymnody and how that theology differs.  ​In selecting Oei’s paper, the award committee was impressed by the number of archival collections, research collections, and library services used to complete the work. 

Freshman/Sophomore Category:

Headshot of Brooke Hemingway

First Place: Brooke Hemingway ’25 - $750 
Brooke Hemingway ’25 has received the first place award in the Freshman/Sophomore category for their paper, “They are United as Me Now: Chloe Whittle in Norfolk During the Secession Crisis.” Utilizing the diary of white secessionist, Chloe Whittle, the paper explores one Norfolk resident’s support of the confederacy during the Secession Crisis of 1861. The award committee was impressed with the contextual framing, including newspapers, Whittle family papers, and scholarly research used to elucidate the meaning of diary entries.

Second Place: Sarita O’Neill ’24 - $500

Headshot of Sarita O’Neill

Sarita O’Neill ’24 has received the second place award in the Freshman/Sophomore category for their paper, “Fertility Trends and the Rising Costs of Children.” The paper studies the relationship between the rising costs associated with raising children and fertility rates. The award committee like the varied use of scholarly sources and topical sources, including statistical data.