2013 Prize Winners

Stephanie Au

Succession in Galls on Syzygium malaccense and Their Impact on Leaf Aging

Alana Mailes

Tracing the Influence of Giulio Caccini’s Le nuove musiche on Seventeenth-Century English Composers

Matej Silecky

The Post-Soviet Development of Elite-Level Athletics in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan

Paige M. Walker

Medieval Female Spirituality and the Wound of Christ in Folio 331r of Bonne of Luxembourg’s Prayer Book


Stephanie Au
Succession in Galls on Syzygium malaccense and Their Impact on Leaf Aging
Biology and Geomorphology of Tropical Islands
Professor George Roderick

Au’s project, examining the development of plant galls in the Pacific Ocean, was developed over the course of a semester of field research at the UC Gump Research Station on the island of Moorea in French Polynesia. Au identified her topic, did extensive research using the databases that provide access to the literature in her field, and through that exploration, identified a research question that had not yet been addressed. To support her work, she had to look broadly through the literature to find studies on similar organisms, and on the phenomenon that she was researching as it applied to other species. Au’s bibliography illustrates a wide range of resources: scholarly articles, plant identification databases, monographs, reference works, and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) data. Ultimately, she says in her research essay, her sources “provided a solid foundation for the research she conducted and aligned with the conclusions she drew from her research experiment. Instead of contradicting her findings, her data added to the current research done on galls and filled a niche that was not observed before.” In his letter of support, Professor Rockerick gave high praise to Au’s work, saying it “is a model in all respects,” and commended her on her extensive research, particularly as much of it had to be accomplished remotely.

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Alana Mailes
Tracing the Influence of Giulio Caccini’s Le nuove musiche on Seventeenth-Century English Composers
Music Honors Private Study
Professor Davitt Moroney

Mailes’ Honors project in Music explored the role of Italian vocal ornamentation in 17th-century English music, which has resulted, according to Professor Moroney, in “new research in untouched territory.” Since little tangible evidence of her subject remains, Mailes had to delve deeply into the collections of The Library, examining original manuscripts, microforms, books, journals, musical recordings and scores, demonstrating a “sophistication unusual in an undergraduate.” Her research also took her to London and Oxford to view 17th –century English source material. Her research essay demonstrates the iterative nature of her research: she continually returned to the research question informed with new findings in order to refine and improve the thesis. The process has taught her the importance of patience, flexibility, and persistence in Humanities research, and the skills and understanding she has acquired will serve her well as she pursues graduate studies.

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Matej Silecky
The Post-Soviet Development of Elite-Level Athletics in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan
Introduction to Central Asia
Professor Sanjyot Mehendale

Silecky’s paper explores the nature of elite athletics in Central Asia during the Soviet and Post-Soviet period. When Silecky selected his topic, his professor was concerned that he might not be able to find the sources that he needed to fully explore how five Central Asian countries engage with the Olympic Games. As Professor Mehendale pointed out in her letter of support, “Silecky had to first find scholarly work on the Soviet and Post-Soviet periods to enhance his knowledge on 20th century Central Asia. Subsequently, he had to firm-up his grasp of the history of the Olympic Games…. In addition, Silecky had to gain insight into elite sport participation in each of the five former Soviet republics.” To accomplish this, Silecky accessed both print and electronic materials through the Library’s catalog and article databases, as well as web-based resources on Olympic athletes. He compiled an extensive bibliography of news articles, books, and media footage, thus managing, according to his professor, to weave “together both academic and non-scholarly sources into a coherent research paper.”

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Paige M. Walker
Medieval Female Spirituality and the Wound of Christ in Folio 331r of Bonne of Luxembourg’s Prayer Book
History of Art Honors Thesis
Professor Diliana Angelova

This History of Art Honors Thesis offers a close examination of a single illustration of Christ’s side wound from Bonne of Luxembourg’s prayer book. In her letter of support, Professor Angelova expresses admiration for Walker’s research skills, stating that her thesis "would not have been possible had it not been for her mastery of the various research tools currently used in the humanities.” With only a rudimentary knowledge of Western Medieval Art, Walker turned her interest in the illustration into a work that, according to her professor, offers “an interpretation that explained the contradictory allusions evoked by the image of the wound, and one that also situated the particularities of the image within its broad art historical, historical, theological, and personal contexts.” To find the resources she needed, Walker used both national and local catalogs, databases of images and articles, manuscripts and rare books in Bancroft Library, digitized primary source collections, and books from local and off-site facilities. In her reflective essay, Walker demonstrates both a sophisticated understanding of research tools as well as recognition of the value of serendipitous discoveries in the stacks.

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