$500 Award | Applications due 3/08/2024 | Winners published in Digital Commons
Information Services is excited to announce the winner of the 6th annual $500 Connecticut College Prize for Undergraduate Library Research:
Nhi "Sandy" Doan '23
For the project:
"Evaluation of Animal Models and Previous Studies on PTSD"
Written in the Fall 2020 semester for Professor Ruth Grahn's course, Neuroscience: Individual Research (NEU 391).
An excerpt from Doan's application:
"I compiled a list of review articles and books about the use of animal models, the inconsistencies in the research, and some studies that employed animal models to assess the drug efficacy. Additionally, because animal models have been used in various psychiatric disorder testing, I narrowed my topic into animal models of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because PTSD has a clear triggering cause, which seems to be easier to manipulate in clinical research."
"I narrowed the search down by entering for specific terms, such as 'PTSD', 'posttraumatic', 'stress disorder', 'anxiety disorder'. I also looked at past papers of the authors I had found and discovered more works that were relevant to my study. I set some parameters, such as publishing time and field."
"One of the main time-consuming factors in science research is that there is so much information to peruse. I developed various strategies for the different sections of the paper, but all articles had to come from reliable and reputable sources. All of the websites should be nonpartisan, government-run, or academic. I would choose books and review articles for general topics (e.g. advantages and limitations in using animal models). For specific sections like animal research in PTSD, I limited myself to research articles."
"I read through the methodology to see if there were any differences in the way they carried out the experiment (some of them did the research during daylight hours, which is not optimal in the case of rats because they are active at night). At the end of my papers, I was required to compare the methodology and results, so I was careful to consider the way the researchers designed the study, even at the smallest level of detail like sexes, strains, and time of the experiment. When examining the papers, I always tried to answer a question: Does this paper offer me a different vantage point? If not, how is it different from other papers (method, subjects...)?, and so on."
"Even though I am only at the beginning of my research career, I am glad that I took this class early so I could develop necessary skills to prepare for the summer research."
The full-text of winning research statements is available in Digital Commons.
Many thanks to everyone who submitted their work or sponsored a student for this year's competition. The Library Prize Committee was impressed with the variety of disciplines and research methods employed in this year's applications. To give three examples, we have decided to recognize the accomplishment of three runners-up who will receive Honorable Mention at this year's Honors & Awards Ceremony:
We are thankful to have received truly inspired and inspiring entries for this year's prize, not just from a variety of departments — including English, First Year Seminar, German, Government & International Relations, Neuroscience, and Psychology — but from students in all class years, including first years, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Indeed, this year's winners hail from every class year!
The annual prize was awarded for the first time in 2016. It is the first award at Connecticut College specifically created to recognize excellence in the research process. Its purpose is to honor students who have demonstrated excellence in research, and to motivate students to learn and deploy sophisticated research strategies. The competition is judged by a team of librarians and faculty (see Library Prize Committee).
All currently enrolled undergraduate students are eligible for the prize, and any student work for a grade (excepting work for honors projects) was accepted. Entrants submitted a copy of their work and a research statement describing their process, along with a bibliography and a note of recommendation from a faculty member.
Students are encouraged to consider applying, and faculty, similarly, are encouraged to suggest that students apply.
The Library Prize Committee is grateful to the Friends of the Connecticut College Library for their generous sponsorship of this award.
The Connecticut College Prize for Undergraduate Library Research is adapted from UC, Berkeley, Library Prize for Undergraduate Research; Temple University, Library Prize for Undergraduate Research.