UC Berkeley Library

Past Winners & Honorable Mentions - Charlene Conrad Liebau Library Prize for Undergraduate Research

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2017 Winners and Honorable Mentions

Leah Chavez

Leah Chavez
Lower Division
Prize Winner

In Miners Undermining Geology: The Gold-fueled Chokehold on the California Geological Survey of 1860, Leah Chavez found that gold-mining interests effectively shut down the first California Geological Survey because of its heavy focus on things other than where to find gold. “As I trekked across campus, I began to understand just how interdisciplinary my research was,” Chavez explains. “Aside from Bancroft and Main Stacks, I used materials from the Earth Sciences and Maps Library, the Biosciences Library, and the Institute of Governmental Studies Library.”

Justin Germain

Justin Germain
Upper Division
Prize Winner

Through his History thesis, Housewives Save the City from the “Cement Octopus”! Women’s Activism in the San Francisco Freeway Revolts, 1955–1967, Justin Germain showed that deep research doesn’t require travel. His research inspiration included bibliographies of books, library catalogs, the Oral History Center at The Bancroft Library, information from the US Census, and materials in several special collections. The research reveals significant relationships between women’s political activism and urban development in the early 1960s.

Michelaina Johnson

Michelaina Johnson
Upper Division
Prize Winner

For her senior thesis, Evading Dam-Nation: Land Use History of the Lower Cosumnes River Watershed, ca. 1820-2016, Michelaina Johnson explored the real-world implications of research. Her Prize essay describes a “year-and-a-half long quest that led me to hiking through the largest oak riparian forest in California, to interviewing Central Valley farmers, visiting eight archives, and exploring the literary treasure troves of UC Berkeley’s library system.” Johnson is the second two-time winner in the history of the Prize; she was honored in 2015 as well.

Ramon De Santiago

Ramon De Santiago
Upper Division
Prize Winner

Ramon de Santiago did extensive research at Berkeley and at a shipwreck museum in Florida for Across Three Oceans: Shipwrecks as Early Modern Globalism, the thesis for his senior Art History seminar. He used materials in Spanish, German, and Portuguese to show that ivory carvings found in a shipwreck off Florida give evidence of global maritime trade between Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and New Spain (Mexico) in the 1600s. Santiago enjoyed the old-fashioned method for finding sources — “walk the stacks and see what we can find!”

Theodora Serbanescu-Martin

Theodora Serbanescu-Martin
Upper Division
Prize Winner

Swooping from freeways to classical music, Theodora Serbanescu-Martin’s senior thesis in Music is titled Brahms’s Piano Exercise Mode and the Politics of Friendship. Her “original research [is] quite astonishing for an undergraduate,” writes Associate Professor of Music History Nicholas Mathew. “Based on and inspired by a one-of-a-kind autograph fragment of a piano exercise, with a dedication to a female friend, by the German composer Johannes Brahms, held in the Hargrove Music Library.”

Stephanie Cong

Stephanie Cong
Lower Division
Honorable Mention

Before embarking upon research for An Examination of Forced Marriages and Their Impact Under the Khmer Rouge, “I had never even been inside most Berkeley libraries, let alone used research databases,” Stephanie Cong explains. “This spirit of inquiry — rather than the pursuit of a perfect grade or GPA — is to me the essence of the best in research,” writes Associate Professor of South & Southeast Asian Studies Penelope Edwards of the freshman scholar.

Julie Lee

Julie Lee
Upper Division
Honorable Mention

In her research for 따뜻한 서러움 (Warm Grief ): Uncanny Narratives of Trauma and Kinship in Oh Jung- hee’s The Yard of Childhood, Julie Lee made an important discovery about developing search terms: even a simple word can have multiple meanings that require changing one’s search strategy. “I learned firsthand that searching for ‘trauma’ in various databases yields different results,” Lee explains. “It sounds obvious, but I had not previously considered how bias appears even in search terms.”

Bita Mousavi

Bita Mousavi
Upper Division
Honorable Mention

In researching her senior thesis Victory or not, we believe this to be our duty:’ Pan-Islam in Early Revolutionary Iran, Bita Mousavi was inspired by her passion for post-revolutionary Iranian cinema. Mousavi effectively showed that Pan-Islamism, not sectarianism, was an original goal of the Iranian revolutionary generation. Her sophisticated use of the library catalog led her to discover little- known Iranian lm journals and newspapers. “Rather than dismiss evidence, I recalibrated my research question,” Mousavi explains.

2016

Winners | Honorable Mentions

2015

Winners | Honorable Mentions

2014

Winners | Honorable Mentions

2013

Winners | Honorable Mentions

2012

Winners | Honorable Mentions

2011

Winners | Honorable Mentions

2010

Winners | Honorable Mentions

2009

Winners | Honorable Mentions

2008

Winners | No Honorable Mentions

2007

Winners | No Honorable Mentions

2006

Winners | Honorable Mentions

2005

Winners | Honorable Mentions

2004

Winners | Honorable Mentions

2003

Winners | Honorable Mentions