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Deadline for annual Library Research Awards nears

By Lauren Chavez and Shannon Hernandez, Apr. 26, 2022

Cal Poly Pomona students will have up until April 29 to submit applications for the University Library’s seventh annual Library Research Award, which showcases students’ research and celebrates their use of library resources. The event will be held through a virtual Zoom ceremony on May 19.

The award will recognize students for their creativity in utilizing the University Library’s resources, collections and services in three different categories: individual awards, group awards and honorable mentions. Current undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the spring 2022 semester may apply for a chance to be granted a Bronco  gift cards through the suitable category.

The annual awards celebrate student research made possible thtough the use of University Library materials. (Lauren Chavez | The Poly Post)

Robert Strauss, Special Collections and Archives coordinator, shared that the evaluation criteria for the reflective essay in the application is what influences the committee most to decide on winners.

“I was kind of surprised,” said Ray Martinez, a psychology student and second-place winner of the undergraduate research category in 2021.“Not because I lacked the confidence in my work, but I just didn’t expect it. After getting over the shock, I knew that this was a huge accomplishment because when I applied, it was the first time hearing about the award from my professor and I decided to use my class assignment and research it deeply.”

Martinez described the application process as straightforward. There is a sum of 60 points, including four components: the application form, the reflective essay at 30 points, the project at 20 points and a works cited list at 10 points.

Any kind of work can be submitted, said Digital Collections Coordinator Ryan Rush. Whether it was for a class or outside research, as long as students can describe how they used library resources such as special collections, access or database or interlibrary loan, they qualify to apply.

Previous winning projects range in subject from public opinion on mental health to modern treatments for preservations for whole and cut avocados.

2019 Library Research Award winners: Larissa Shen (left), Lorenzo Dumlao (center), Johans Acosta (right).

“Since student success is central to our mission, the library really wanted to get a better sense for how students were using the library’s resources and services during their academic endeavors,” said Katie Richardson, department chair of the University Library and head of Special Collections and Archives

Although the library is recognized as a location where students  study, there are a variety of services and staff available in the event students need assistance with researching on a specific topic, according to Library Dean Pat Hawthorne.

The library offers research consultations, where students can meet one-on-one with a librarian to receive a more personalized consultation and guidance in their topic.

Hawthorne shared that there is a librarian assigned for every college at Cal Poly Pomona and even if a student is associated with a specific college, it is important to speak with an expert in the topic of their research.

“You’re going out, you’re being inquisitive, you’re gathering research, applying critical thinking skills and what we call information literacy competencies to evaluate the research you found or its relevance to your topic and paper and your thesis or your research question,” said Hawthorne.

Engaging in research introduces students to a more investigative approach, said Hawthorne. This will aid students once they go into their chosen profession by being able to apply their critical thinking skills, the ability to find the information they need and be able to access that information. Then, use it ethically and understand its relevance and quality.

“I think doing research is really cool; you get to learn more on topics you have interest in,” said Martinez. “I’m not applying for the award this year, but I have been involved in research on campus. Since I’m a sophomore, I do think about applying again in future years.”

Since the Library Research Award is an annual event at Cal Poly Pomona, students have a time frame to use their researched projects from summer 2021 to this spring and put toward their application as long as the students meet the eligibility criteria.

According to Richardson, the annual ceremony is an anticipated event filled with excitement in learning about the students’ process of conducting research, utilizing library tools that are available to all students and the ability to tune in on their hard work.

A Zoom link will be available to students that are interested in attending the virtual ceremony on May 19 through the Library Research Award page.

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