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2003 Prize Winners - Charlene Conrad Liebau Library Prize for Undergraduate Research

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Joseph Scalice History 7B Professor Charles Postel/ GSI Dylan Esson
Benjamin Botts History 101 Professor William Taylor
Wendy Chang Music H195 Professor Richard Taruskin
Boris Rodin Classics H195 Professor Leslie Kurke

Freshman Joseph Scalice's paper, titled "Macario Sakay and the struggle for Kalayaan: continuity in the Katipunan guerilla movement, 1892-1907," was completed for History 7B, a large lecture class with the requirement that each student do an original research paper using primary sources. In his research essay, Joseph wrote,

"When I was offered the chance to write a research paper for History 7B in this my first semester here at Berkeley, the choice of topic was obvious. I desired to know more about Sakay. What I embarked upon was an incredibly thrilling voyage of discovery in what are in many ways still uncharted waters of historical research."

His instructor Dylan Jim Esson observed in his letter of support,

"Joseph has achieved his goal of revealing the life of Sakay by researching in the Bancroft Library, where he has benefited particularly from access to the David P. Barrows papers-- among other manuscript collections. No scholars have ever consulted the Barrows Papers for information on Sakay, and Joseph has made some striking discoveries"

Esson went on to comment on Joseph's persistence in the face of obstacles.

"Although UC Berkeley collections have provided new leads about Sakay's life… the information … is still very difficult to synthesize because Sakay… left little written documentation behind. Despite these obstacles, Joseph has persisted … in producing a valuable piece of scholarship that, for the first time, chronicles Sakay's rise to power as well as his eventual demise."

Ben Botts will graduate next Fall. His prize-winning senior history thesis was "Venture and adventures in Central America: John Lloyd Stephens and the U.S. vision for pan-American history, 1838-1852." During his research he made some surprising discoveries and became a skilled historian. As he wrote in his research essay,

"I learned that a systematic approach to research is essential, but is not the only strategy necessary for success....Slowly, I began to understand the necessity of various research methods working in synergy. Simultaneously, I read and transcribed manuscripts, consulted hundreds of pages of published primary literature, systematically searched for secondary sources, and serendipitously discovered some important primary and secondary sources.... For me, the convergence of these processes is what made the research creative and enjoyable."

Professor Taylor remarked on Ben's independent approach to the research.

"With little collaboration from his research advisor early in the project Ben mastered a rich, difficult and heretofore unstudied Bancroft Library collection… This combination of close, careful study of the correspondence and extensive reading in secondary sources yields one great surprise and the discovery of a particular document that casts new light on Stephens's salvage of ancient art activities."

And Walter Brem, curator for Latin American collections at Bancroft Library, remarked on his ability to gather and synthesize a variety of sources.

"Of his primary sources: manuscripts, published archival sources, and contemporary published views not only mesh, they speak to each other directly and indirectly… he systematically employed the several kinds of tools [needed, and] scoured the notes and bibliographies of his sources for …sources not captured in catalogs or indexes."

Wendy Chang wrote her senior thesis in Music on "The evolutions of Fantasia." Her research was distinguished by remarkable breadth, bringing in relevant material from the fields of law, psychology, audio engineering, and popular culture, as well as deep research into music as she delved into the Disney film. Her research essay describes how her initial topic morphed into something more,

"I think the biggest lesson I've learned in completing my thesis was to not try to control my research. I went where my research took me, and I followed up any strange ideas I had or others had. I let my research guide me and not the other way around. I learned that it's okay to go off the path... Honestly, I couldn't have picked a better undergraduate major because I feel that the research skills and the work ethic I've developed as a music major will definitely be applicable in scientific research as well."

Her advisor, Professor Taruskin concurred.

"She is an insatiable asker of Why, and this led her into investigations of the music business and the entertainment industry, the music appreciation "racket," the sociology of taste… and a great deal more. Most impressive of all to me was the way she wove it all into a complex but lucid narrative."

Boris Rodin's Classics senior thesis, "Representations of epidemia in choral lyric poetry: a study of ritual action in Pindar and Bacchylides," illustrates a case where library resources have been used to exhaustively research a particular topic.

His advisor, Professor Leslie Kurke called Boris's thesis, "a remarkable piece of work, both in the ambition and originality of its argument and in its extraordinary deployment and synthesis of bibliographic resources."

She emphasized the difficult of the undertaking.

"Classics is a discipline with a long and rich scholarly tradition, so that any foray into the field imposes heavy demands on the student's industry and resourcefulness. Boris was completely up to this challenge, first making excellent use of electronic and traditional media… Furthermore, Boris learned with startling rapidity to navigate the intricacies of finding the correct editions and commentaries of a vast range of Greek literary and non-literary texts…I would stress that any topic in Greek religion... offers the student no single, centralized database of primary or secondary literature, so it requires exceptional resourcefulness to locate relevant materials."