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Reward recognizes undergraduate research

The Jim and Mary Lois Hulsman Undergraduate Library Research Awards recognized the six winners of their inaugural competition Wednesday afternoon in Zimmerman Library. The awards recognize students who produce outstanding research using library resources and sophisticated information literacy skills.

“The idea for this program came from our library faculty and staff,” said Associate Dean of Public Services Mark Emmons. “They lobbied to create a recognition program that would celebrate outstanding research done by our (University of New Mexico) undergraduate students.”

There were two categories for students to enter their research essays in — emerging and advanced researcher. Entries were judged by a panel of library employees and academic experts, and three winners from each category were ultimately chosen.

Cindy Pierard, director of Access Services at the College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences, is one of the many members of the Hulsman Award Working Group. The group has been diligently working since last school year to create and kick off the awards program.

“The challenge and the reward for this first year was the excellence of the work that we received and the variety of projects that were submitted,” Pierard said.

She said there were entries representing different departments across the University, showing the great diversity of work that students are doing.

The winners of the undergraduate research awards received a monetary prize, and their work is published.

The first-place winner in the advanced researcher category was Jesse Yelvington. His research explored queer poetry and empowerment. Yelvington, a senior, said this is something he has been interested in since high school.

He said he wanted his project to be very community-oriented and community-involved. He interviewed several LGBTQ poets around Albuquerque to find what empowerment meant to them.

“It’s nice to see all my hard work recognized,” Yelvington said. “I’m glad that it will be more accessible for folks to be able to find it and read about it and see the pictures.”

The second-place winner in advanced research was Ashley Koger with her essay, “The Fight for Historical Representation and Accuracy: Statues of the Confederacy.”

In third place was Patrick Latimer with his astrophysics research, “Water Fountain Masers in Proto-planetary Nebulae.”

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The second category, emerging researcher, is for students doing work in 100- and 200-level courses.

The first-place winner in the emerging researcher category was Ellerie Freisinger. Her work pertained to the racial conditioning in the novel, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Anastasiya Andriyash won second place. Her project was based on John F. Kennedy’s Civil Rights Address. She not only utilized the online databases and thousands of books belonging to UNM Libraries, but also sifted through boxes of microfilms to find old records from The Wall Street Journal.

Andriyash said, prior to this project, she did not realize just how many resources the campus library has available for students.

Luisa Pennington received third prize in the emerging researcher category. Pennington is a sophomore majoring in communication and journalism at UNM. She said that one of the best parts of the award is having her work published for others to read.

“It’s kind of a big deal for me, because it reassures me that pursuing a career in publications will make me happy,” Pennington said.

The work from all six winners can be found online at the UNM Digital Repository.

Catherine Stringam is a freelance reporter with the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at or on Twitter @cathey_stringam.

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