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2005 Prize Winners - Charlene Conrad Liebau Library Prize for Undergraduate Research

Content section: 
Allison Clark Russian Roulette or Liberty Cheese? The "60 Day Rule" for Raw Milk Cheeses
Ajay Limaye & James Kealey A Rising Tide Sinks These Stones: The Imperiled Heritage of the Winnemem Wintu
Melissa Machit "Dolor Dulce:" The Timeless Tangibility of Mortal Suffering Francisco de Figueroa and the Fernan Nunez Collection: An Edition
Elizabeth Mattiuzzi Hetch Hetchy: The Clash of Progressive Conservationism and the Preservationism of John Muir
Carissa Richards Prescription for Disaster? Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Prescription Medications
Jason Suarez Controlling the Uncontrollable: The Spanish Influenza of 1918-1919 in San Francisco

Allison Clark

"Russian Roulette or Liberty Cheese? The '60 Day Rule' for Raw Milk Cheeses"
Environmental Sciences
Professor Sally Fairfax

Allison Clark's Honors thesis explores the heated controversy revolving around raw milk cheese regulations. She states,

"I was often surprised that rhetoric, even in scientific journals, did not match the facts presented and so the library was important in allowing me to compare claims to their references. I also found that articles and books describing the history of dairy contained context that gave my analysis greater depth and complexity. I accessed discussions of pasteurization from the early twentieth century through the NRLF: although modern reviews contain similar information, reading the original texts gave me a better sense of this time period. In an age where resources are increasingly found only in electronic forms, I appreciated the opportunity to peruse texts from the 1920s because even the original page layouts confer information about the past."

Professor Fairfax adds:

"I am most impressed with her research skills across numerous fields of inquiry. The result is an interdisciplinary thesis that reads well and also reads smart. She has not simply pitted the food nuts against the science establishment which is how most of the literature portrays this issue. Allison has done enough of the institutional legwork so that she can present the food nuts as such, while also pointing out the economic advantages of the current, poorly rooted in science, yet nominally scientific regulations to large producers. She has marshaled an enormous array of resources to raise important questions about the regulatory system that needs fixing, As she delved deeper into the material, and as she looked at how others frame arguments, she grew from a mere scientist into a very sophisticated analyst, presenting a complex story with grace and myriad different kinds of data."

Ajay Limaye & James Kealey
" A Rising Tide Sinks These Stones: The Imperiled Heritage of the Winnemem Wintu"
Earth and Planetary Sciences
Professor George Brimhall

In order to understand the cultural and historical context of a modern-day proposal to raise Shasta Dam, they researched traditional mythology, historical law, and current public policy and interviewed tribal leaders of whom they write,

"Provided us with the quotes and ideas we eventually used to express their connection to the land in subjective terms, but we wanted to prove that, by a legal standard, the tribe deserved a voice in decisions regarding the use of their ancestral land. We decided to seek primary sources that might corroborate this history. In the Boalt law library , we searched for records of a land allotment to the Winnemem through the Dawes Act. Perhaps most excitingly, we stumbled over an alternate name for Winnemem tribe-The Ylacca. We went back to the treaty and found that the Ylacca were a signing party. We realized that this document was, then, the treaty we had sought: after weeks of looking, we had found for ourselves a resource pivotal to the history of the tribe."

They concluded that:

"When conducting a research project, it is tempting to ask questions that you know can be answered; but by asking more difficult questions, we embarked on a journey that-while often frustrating-led us to some exciting and gratifying discoveries."

Faculty sponsor Professor George Brimhall states:

"Their reference strategy included a broad use of several libraries on campus, specifically, the Bancroft, Boalt Hall and Anthropology Libraries. Their research required considerable tenacity and finesse in order to succeed in getting the interviews and land access needed for their study. They explored diverse library resources, and used a broad range of media in their presentation."


Melissa Machit
"Dolor Dulce; The Timeless Tangibility of Mortal Suffering Francisco de Figueroa and the Fernan Nunez Collection: An Edition"
Comparative Literature
Professor Joe Duggen

Senior Melissa Machit's honors thesis "Dolor Dulce;" The Timeless Tangibility of Mortal Suffering Francisco de Figueroa and the Fernan Nunez Collection: An Edition" explores the work of Francisco de Figueroa, a Golden Age poet well known and admired in the 17th century but relatively unknown between then and the late 20 century. Machit observed:

"This relationship between author-text-manuscripts was completely new to me. Before this project, I had only even thought of "research" as reading books written by others. I was looking for information in the Library because I really wanted to know who Figueroa was, what his historical and literary context was, and where he fit into literary history. I know the research strategies I learned will be very useful to me in graduate study and future research. After doing this project I now know how to read medieval and golden age script, synthesize modern sources with older ones, date and describe manuscripts, and find books and journal articles regarding specific topics. Yet I still have not lost the awe I felt at the power of words to transcend centuries of time the first time I looked at the manuscripts."

Professor Joe Duggen, French and Comparative Literature, observes,

"While Ms. Machit worked closely with me on the paleography and transcription of the manuscript, as well as on the deciphering of the other two Figueroa manuscripts in the Bancroft collection, her research on the poet's life was conducted with a great deal of independence. During the past year and a half, she has grown into a skilled reader of 16th century Spanish hands, adept at codicology to the extent of dating a manuscript on the basis of internal evidence alone. Ms. Machit's level of literary sophistication has increased accordingly and her understanding of the materials and processes through which early modern literature was produced is far beyond that of her student contemporaries, and, in fact beyond what many graduate students acquire."

Elizabeth Mattiuzzi
"Hetch Hetchy: The Clash of Progressive Conservationism and Preservationism of John Muir"
History 7B
Professor Leon Litwack
GSI Andrea Kwon

Elizabeth Mattiuzzi's history 7b paper, " Hetch Hetchy: The Clash of Progressive Conservationism and Preservationism of John Muir," explores a similiar environmental impact situation from an exclusively historical perspective. The germ for her project began as a chance encounter she had during an internship in San Francisco.

"While looking through dusty volumes at the Commonwealth Club this semester, I came across original transcripts of discussions on the Hetch Hetchy water project. I was inspired to use the Berkeley libraries to explore other primary sources that would tell me what kinds of language strategies early environmentalists had used."

"I was initially intimidated by the fact that I could not simply wander in and browse the Bancroft library's collection, but I found it was remarkably easy to conduct research there after learning how to use the collection. I accepted my reader's card with the pride of receiving a diploma. I found that when looking at sources in the library for a limited period of time, I had to think carefully about their significance to my paper; I had to decide the direction of my paper early on in my research in order to select and analyze sources. Specialized libraries like the Environmental Design library, the Biosciences Library and Water Resources Library provided interesting information for my papers. All of the information I found using the library system allowed me to alter my assumptions, articulate my research question, and gain a new perspective on the passion and pragmatism accompanying both sides of the Hetch Hetchy debate."

GSI Andrea Kwon has this to say about Mattiuzzi's approach:

"As a result of her persistence, she was able to locate and use a diverse array of sources; they ranged from the Commonwealth Club transactions to Congressional Records to Muir's own writings. Of particular interest was one map, which she included in the appendix to her paper, displaying the engineering schematics of the reservoir's construction. Elizabeth's poignant explanation of the map tied directly to her central argument-that perhaps above all, the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir marked the triumph of pragmaticism over Muir's appeals for the appreciation of nature's inherent value. I believe the research paper assignment allowed Elizabeth to learn and attain valuable skills, not because she was required to do so, but because she took advantage of the opportunity this project offered."

Carissa Richards
"Prescription for Disaster? Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Prescription Medications"
Mass Communications
Lecturer Jonathan Gray

"This experience has made me aware of an important research reality: that the same set of data can give rise to a wide range of plausible, educated opinions and interpretations, to numerous political ends. In retrospect, my research experience has proven to be both thrilling and intense, a relentless pursuit of information on a fascinating topic. My interest in DTCA and its implications increased exponentially during research, and I wish that page length boundaries were not a factor in limiting my project. This seems reflective of what can only be likened to an addiction (albeit benign!)-simultaneously intellectual and visceral-to the collection and synthesis of disparate material, applied to a persuasive and enlightening analysis."

Mass Communications Lecturer, Jonathan Gray observes,

"In short, her work has been highly innovative in approach, and bold in its multi-pronged nature. Great reading doesn't always translate to great work; Tissa, however, has woven all of this material together into a thesis that is heads and shoulders above her peers. Her work reads like graduate work, partly because she has the uncanny ability to pick out the statistics, facts and theoretical arguments that really matter, discriminating with skill between relevant and irrelevant material. She has made herself a veritable expert on DTC advertising. Along the way she has become a library pro, and has discovered a real love of research that will no doubt carry forward into her future work."

Jason Suarez
"Controlling the Uncontrollable: The Spanish Influenza of 1918-1919 in San Francisco"
History 101
GSI Dylan Esson

History major, Jason Suarez, also selected a global theme with a local
perspective for his senior thesis, "Controlling the Uncontrollable: The Spanish Influenza of 1918-1919 in San Francisco." He states:

"Particularly, I wanted to know how the city of San Francisco dealt with the influenza on a public health and governmental level. At the California Historical Society in SF I found several political manuscripts dating to the time of the influenza that contained letters from the public health dept. These manuscripts were useful in making interpretations and inferences related to public health in SF.

Throughout the semester I was constantly astonished by the findings I made, and it is these discoveries that kept me enthused and yearning to make new finds. I learned that research is primarily strategic, but serendipitous as well. Chances are that the original research goal will change by the end of the project, which makes research even more exciting knowing you might make a remarkable discovery the next day."

History GSI Dylan Esson has this to say about Jason's research experience:

"Jason showed himself to be an assiduous researcher and a good writer. He was in contact with six campus libraries in addition to making multiple trips to the California Historical Society, San Francisco Public Library. As well as contacting Special Collections at SU and UCSF archives.

Through extensive searches, Jason has tracked down a number of newspaper articles, letters, diaries, photographs, maps that shed light on the political and social conditions of SF following WWI. Using city maps Jason skillfully shows how the Spanish flu spread throughout SF. He then tackles the issue of how the flu changed the city as municipal officials devised schemes to stop the virus' spread from block to block."