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Research Paper Awards

Papers written by individual undergraduates during 2021 semesters will be accepted for consideration. Students may submit only one paper for each competition, but only one award will be granted per individual.

Two prizes of $1,000 each will be awarded. One for the best Writing Studies paper and the second for any other undergraduate paper.

Note: Funds may be taxable and may impact financial aid.

Application Procedure

To apply, students must submit the following to LibAward@american.edu:

  1. Completed application cover sheet with student name, title of project, title of course, name of professor, and date of submission to competition.
  2. Letter of recommendation from the faculty member who taught the course for which the paper or project was prepared. Applicants must request the letter, and the professor must send it directly to LibAward@american.edu.
  3. A brief 500 to 700 word reflective essay describing research strategies and the application of library tools and resources in completion of the project.
  4. A bibliography or other listing of sources consulted, if not already included in the paper.
  5. A final version of the project. Written papers should be double spaced and may be of any length. Digital projects should be submitted electronically. For other formats, please contact LibAward@american.edu.
  6. All documents must be submitted as Microsoft Word files.

Congratulations to the 2020 - 21 Winners!

  • Rachel Boose, 2021 Writing Studies Award for “Looking to Civil Rights to Save the Planet.”
  • Niamh Burns: 2021 Library Undergraduate Research Award for “Astrophysical Contributions to the Great Filter: A Shakespearian Tragedy.”
  • Jonah Kaufman-Cohen: 2021 Library Undergraduate Research Award for, “They want not only to hand over the bricks but also to lay them in place themselves: Expectations and Experience of Women in the Labor Zionist Movement.”
  • Owen McCoy: 2021 Library Undergraduate Research Award for “The Impact of Government Type on Global Digital Activism Targets: A Comparison of Digital Activism in Authoritarian and Democratic Regimes.”

Faculty sponsors, Professors Kate Haulman, CAS—History, William T. Parsons, Physics, Kimberly Cowell-Myers, SPA and Kate Wilson, acting co-chair of the Literature Department. 

Application Deadline

Papers must be submitted by March 31, 2022 for consideration.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Substantial use of library resources and collections in any format, including but not limited to printed resources, databases, primary resources, and materials in all media

  • Ability to locate, select, evaluate, and synthesize library resources and to use them in the creation of a project that shows originality and/or has the potential to lead to original research in the future

  • Evidence of significant personal learning and the development of a habit of research and inquiry that shows the likelihood of persisting in the future; and originality of thought, mastery of content appropriate to class level, clear writing and a high quality of presentation