Undergraduate Library Research Award (ULRA)

About ULRA
Apply
Winners
FAQ
Selection Committee
Call for Entries
  • About the Undergraduate Library Research Award

    Hesburgh Libraries and the Flatley Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE) award the annual Undergraduate Library Research Award (ULRA) to undergraduate students whose work demonstrates the highest levels of scholarship and information literacy. Established in 2010 to promote intellectual discovery and the advancement of lifelong learning, the ULRA recognizes undergraduates who demonstrate excellent research skills that utilize a breadth of library resources, collections, and services for their scholarly and creative projects. Research projects are evaluated by teaching faculty and members of the ULRA selection committee

    The contest is open to all currently enrolled undergraduate students not already possessing a baccalaureate degree, and whose research/projects meets the following requirements:

    • Research/projects should be completed for a credit-bearing course or supervised research project sometime during the current academic cycle (Summer, Fall, and Spring semesters).

    • Research/projects must integrate library research.

    • Research/projects and accompanying essay may be in any electronic format and must be submitted through the online application portal.

    • Research/projects must be recommended in writing by a project advisor, thesis advisor, or course instructor.

    • Research/projects may be completed in any medium (e.g., paper, video, painting, photograph, web site, mobile application, etc.). However, all projects must be submitted online for consideration. Therefore, an electronic version of the project must be available for submission (e.g., PDF for paper, MP4 for video, JPG/TIFF for a painting or photograph, URL for web site, etc.).

    • Foreign-language research/projects are eligible. However, the application essay must be written in English.

    • Research/projects completed by an individual or group are eligible. However, awards are presented to individuals, not to a group. Therefore, each group member must submit a separate essay outlining not only his/her use of library resources, but his/her specific contribution to the group project. A separate letter of recommendation for each group member is also required.

    Winners are awarded a cash prize, and have both their winning project and a recorded 3-5 minute lightning talk preserved in CurateND, Notre Dame's digital institutional repository. 

     

    Meet the 2016 Winners

    Important Dates

    Application Window Opens
    March 27, 2017

    Application Deadline
    April 21, 2017, 11:59 PM (EDT)

    Award Notifications
    April 26, 2017

    Award Recipient Lightning Talks Recorded
    April 27, 2017 - May 1, 2017

    ULRA Awards Reception at the Undergraduate Scholars Conference
    May 5, 2017

     

  • Apply for the ULRA

    Step 1—Ask your Advisor to Write and Submit a Letter of Recommendation

    Ask your instructor, faculty mentor, or advisor to write and submit a letter of recommendation in support of your research/creative work. The recommendation should address the following prompts:  

    • Please briefly describe the nature of your role as an advisor/supervisor of this student's project.  

    • Please comment on the quality of the research and the depth of inquiry demonstrated by the student's project.

    • How did the student's use of library resources and/or services (such as print, electronic, database, special collections, etc.) contribute to the outcome of this research project?
    Note: It is your responsibility to ensure that your advisor submits the letter of recommendation before the deadline. Your advisor will not be able to submit his/her letter of recommendation until you have initiated your application (see Step 2). If your advisor’s letter of recommendation is not received by the due date, your application is not eligible for consideration, even if your component was received on time.

    Step 2—Initiate your Application

    Visit the ULRA online application portal, and click, "Start a Submission for 20##." Complete the required fields on the next page, and then click, "Start ULRA Application" to save your new application. You may edit all of your application information at any point until you submit it for review.

    Note: Once you initiate your application, two automatic email alerts will be generated:

    • the person you select as your advisor will receive an automated email alert with information about how to submit a letter of recommendation for your application.

    • you will receive an automated email alert confirming that your application has been initiated.

    Step 3—Write and Submit your Application Essay and Final Research/Project

    Essay
    Write a 800 - 1000 word essay in English about the library resources consulted in the creation of your research or creative work. This work must have been completed for a credit-bearing course or supervised research project sometime during the current academic cycle (Summer, Fall, and Spring semesters), and must integrate library research. The essay should demonstrate a deep and significant understanding of the research process and inquiry methods and focus on the unique contributions made by the resources of the Hesburgh libraries. See the ULRA Application Guidelines for tips on writing a successful essay.

    Final Project  

    Research/projects may be completed in any medium (e.g., paper, video, painting, photograph, web site, mobile application, etc.). However, all projects must be submitted online for consideration. Therefore, an electronic version of the project must be available for submission (e.g., PDF for paper, MP4 for video, JPG/TIFF for a painting or photograph, URL for web site, etc.).

    Senior Thesis, Honors Thesis, and Capstone project applicants may submit a representative sample of their project for consideration in order to meet the deadline; however, the final version of the project must be submitted to the Selection Committee by 11:59 PM (EST) the day before the award ceremony. Any award winner who has not submitted a final version of their project by this deadline will forfeit their award.

    Click Here to Start an Application!




    Award Levels

    Senior and Honors Theses

    1st Place $1000
    Honorable Mention $500

    20000–40000 Level

    1st Place $500
    Honorable Mention $250

    10000 Level

    1st Place $500
    Honorable Mention $250
  • 2016
    2015
    2014
    2013
    2012
    2011
    2010
    • 2016 Winners

      • First Prize, Senior/Honors Thesis

        Thomas Lis
        The Myth of Locarno: Versailles, Poland, and the Continuity of French Foreign Policy, 1919-1936

        College of Arts & Letters
        Economics, History
        John Deak, advisor

      • Honorable Mention, Senior/Honors Thesis

        Kelly McGee
        Faltering 'Frames of Exception': Feminist Contestations of Gendered Nationalism via Family Law and Artistic Productions in the Occupied West Bank

        College of Arts & Letters
        Arabic, Political Science
        Atalia Omer, advisor

      • First Prize, 20000–40000 Level Course

        Brittany Sanok
        The Evolution of Death in John Donne's Holy Sonnets

        College of Arts & Letters
        English, International Economics
        Susannah Monta, advisor

      • Honorable Mention, 20000–40000 Level Course

        Madeline Cole
        The Lenore Mooney Papers and The Great War: Conceptualizing the World of an Individual

        College of Arts & Letters

        History
        John Deak, advisor

      • First Prize, 10000 Level Course

        August Bonacci
        Generation IV Reactors: A New Hope

        First Year of Studies
        Michael Westrate, advisor

      • Honorable Mention, 10000 Level Course

        Madeline McKenna
        Homosexuality Arguments in Leviticus

        College Science
        Neuroscience and Behavior
        Gerald Knoppers, advisor

    • 2015 Winners

      Awards Reception

      Winners were announced and honored at the ULRA Awards Reception, held during the Undergraduate Scholars Conference (USC) in DeBartolo Hall on May 1st, 2015 at 2pm.

      • First Prize, Senior Thesis

        Madelynn Green
        From Decay to Cool: Street Art and Urban Renewal in Kreuzberg, Berlin and the East End of London

        College of Arts & Letters
        Political Science
        Dr. Ricardo Ramírez, advisor

        Read the essay

      • Honorable Mention, Senior Thesis

        Emily Mediate
        Disabling Donor Demands: The Coercion of the International HIV/AIDS Agenda

        College of Arts & Letters
        Africana Studies, Pre-medicine
        Dr. Terrence McDonnell, advisor

        Read the essay

      • First Prize, 20000–40000 Level Course

        Nicholas Turner
        A Review of Origami and its Applications in Mechanical Engineering [link to journal abstract]

        College of Engineering
        Mendoza College of Business
        Mechanical Engineering, MBA
        Dr. Mihir Sen, advisor

        Read the essay

      • Honorable Mention, 20000–40000 Level Course

        Julia Banasikowski
        Slaughter, Suit, and Sorrow: The Experience of Witomiła Wołk-Jezierska and the Katyń Massacre

        Mendoza College of Business
        College of Arts and Letters
        Accountancy, European Studies (minor)
        Dr. Alexander Martin, advisor

        Read the essay

      Drops of H20 (The Filtered Water Treatment)’ by J. Lang, CC 3.0 Attribution .

    • 2014 Winners

      • senior thesis

        Mia Counts
        First Prize
        The White City: The Effect of Urbanization on Ethnic Integration in Colonial Merida
        Dr. Karen Graubart, advisor

        Peter Cummings
        Honorable Mention
        Democracy and Student Discontent: Chilean Student Protest in the Post-Pinochet Era
        Dr. Scott Mainwaring, advisor

      • 20000–40000 level papers

        Shelby Niemann
        First Prize
        Death in Irish Ballads: 
        Dr. Ian Newmann, advisor

        Iona Hughan
        Honorable Mention
        Charles Villiers Stanford and the 'Irish Symphony'
        Dr. Christopher Chowrimootoo, advisor

      • 10000 level papers

        Caroline Trustey
        First Prize
        Medical Marijuana and Epilepsy
        Dr. Michael T. Westrate, advisor

        William Billups
        Honorable Mention
        Historically Black Colleges and Universities' Relationship with Civil Rights: Then and Now
        Dr. Stuart Greene, advisor

    • 2013 Winners

      • senior thesis

        Brianna Kunycky
        First Prize
        Tragedy of the Colonial Commons: The Development of Ugandan Water Policy
        Dr. Paul Ocobock, advisor

        Jessica Millen
        Honorable Mention
        The Transparent Children: Exploring the Latino Community Experience of School Desegregation in South Bend, Indiana
        Dr. Maria McKenna, advisor

      • 20000–40000 level papers

        Brianna Leon
        First Prize
        La Educación: El Antídoto Para el Sexismo
        Dr. Marisel Moreno, advisor

        Austin Hagwood
        Honorable Mention
        Overwhelming Teacups: Criticism, Consciousness, and Disturbing the Universe in T.S. Eliot’s 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock'
        Dr. Romana Huk, advisor

      • 10000 level papers

        Kelly McGee
        First Prize
        Combatting Al Qaeda: Is Leadership Decapitation Effective? And if not, What is?
        Damian Zurro, advisor

        Bridget Doyle
        Honorable Mention
        Re-inventing the Library
        Dr. John Duffy, advisor

    • 2012 Winners

      • senior thesis

        Caroline Maloney
        First Prize
        God-daughter of a Witch and Sister to a Fairy: Pamela Colman Smith and the Celtic Twilight

        Elise Garton
        Second Prize
        Islamaphobia and Public Discourse in Spain: Prejudice, Historical Memory, and National Identity

      • 20000–40000 level papers

        Vienna Wagner
        First Prize
        Mark of Cain: Evil's Medieval Masquerade

        Kristyn Jeffers
        Second Prize
        Eleanor Clubs: Black Cooks, White Kitchens, and Political Conflict in the Depression Era American South

      • 10000 level papers

        Julianne Carson
        First Prize
        How Far is Too Far? Stem Cell Research and Ethics

        Emily Mediate
        Second Prize
        Justification for the Impeachment of Andrew Johnson: Divisions After the War

    • 2011 Winners

      • senior thesis

        Robyn Grant
        But Who Will do the Dishes? Negotiating Socialism with Femininity in Mujeres Magazine
        Department of History
        Dr. Jaime Pensado, advisor

      • 20000–40000 level papers

        Erin Bolte
        Review of Outcomes and Measurement Tools for Improvement in Behavior for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
        Department of Biochemistry
        Dr. Joshua Diehl, advisor

        Brigid Mangano
        Guillaume Baudinier and the Meaning(s) of 'Italianness' in Nineteenth Century France
        Department of Art, Art History, and Design
        Dr. Kathleen Pyne, advisor

      • 10000 level papers

        Hannah Lin
        Leveling the Field: Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
        Department of Film, Televison, and Theatre
        Dr. Aaron Magnan-Park, advisor

    • 2010 Winners

      • First Prize

        Eleanor Huntington
        Any Soil Can Host a Dead Body: Land Rights, Displacement, and Genocide
        Department of History
        Dr. Lauren Faulkner Rossi, advisor

      • Honorable Mentions

        Connor Kobeski
        Identification and Valuation of the Grand Calumet River Ecological Services
        Department of Biological Sciences
        Dr. David Lodge, advisor

        Jared McBrady
        The Pope, the Presidents, the Bishops, and the Bomb
        Department of History
        Rev. Wilson D. Miscamble C.S.C., advisor


  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Q. how are library resources defined?

    Library resources include, but are not necessarily limited to:

    • Online library catalogues (e.g., Hesburgh Libraries, WorldCat, Library of Congress, etc.)
    • Library electronic resources (e.g., ebooks, articles, databases)
    • Library collections (e.g., books, audio-visual media, Rare Books and Special Collections, Archives)
    • Particular people in the library (e.g., consultations with librarians, curators, or archivists)
    • Particular spaces or places in the library (e.g., group study rooms, sound booth, One Button Studio)
    • Particular technologies made available by the library (e.g., loanable laptops, printers, desktop applications)

    Q. What is an ULRA award winner lightning talk?

    An ULRA Award Winner Lightning Talk is a pre-recorded video talk that would normally take place during the ULRA Awards Reception during the Undergraduate Scholars Conference. Instead of scheduling your live talk about your award-winning project, winners will be asked to pre-record a 3-5 minute talk about their research process and project. This recording will be done in the Hesburgh Library’s One Button Studio.

    Q. Are group/team projects eligible?

    Yes. However, awards are presented to individuals, not to a group. Therefore, each group member must submit a separate essay outlining not only his/her use of library resources but his/her specific contribution to the group project. A separate letter of recommendation for each group member is also required.

    Q. Are foreign-language projects accepted?

    Yes. However, the accompanying application essay must be written in English.

    Q. What does the question asking if I am submitting a "representative sample of my project" or "the final version of my project" mean?

    Senior Thesis, Honors Thesis, and Capstone project applicants may submit a representative sample of their project for consideration in order to meet the deadline; however, the final version of the project must be submitted to the Selection Committee by 11:59 PM (EST) the day before the award ceremony. Any award winner who has not submitted a final version of their project by this deadline will forfeit their award.

    Q. How do I submit multiple project files if my project has several components?

    You may upload multiple files on the "Attach Files" page of the online application by clicking "Choose Files," and then using Ctrl+click (Windows) or CMD+click (Mac) to select more than one file to attach.

    Q. How do I submit a project without a file?

    You may copy/paste a URL for a web site, video, or other project that is hosted online.

  • ULRA Selection Committee

    Hesburgh Libraries

    Laura Bayard (Chair)
    Outreach Services Librarian

    Aedin Clements
    Irish Studies Librarian

    Randal Sean Harrison
    Emerging Technologies Librarian

    Mandy Havert
    Digital Research and Outreach Librarian,
    Education Subject Librarian

    Julie Tanaka
    Western European History Librarian,
    Program of Liberal Studies Librarian,
    Curator of Special Collections

    Julie Vecchio
    Assistant Director, Center for Digital Scholarship

    Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement

    Yvonne Mikuljan
    Assistant Director of Undergraduate Research

    Jeff Thibert
    Interim Director, CUSE
    Assistant Director of National Fellowships

  • Call for Entries

    Undergraduate Library Research Award Now Accepting Submissions

    Entries are now being accepted for the 7th annual Undergraduate Library Research Award (ULRA) competition sponsored by the Hesburgh Libraries and the Flatley Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE).

    Established in 2010 to promote critical thinking, intellectual discovery, and the advancement of lifelong learning, the ULRA recognizes undergraduate students who demonstrate excellent research skills by their broad use of library expertise, resources, collections, and services in their scholarly and creative projects.

    Along with their projects, entrants must submit an essay (800 - 1000 words) about the library resources consulted and integrated into their research or creative work. The essay should show a deep and significant understanding of the research process, outlining inquiry methods and highlighting specific, unique Hesburgh Libraries contributions. Entry Requirements

    “The Fall Senior Thesis Camp was invaluable to my research process. The social aspect of the camp was especially motivating,” said 2015 First Place Senior Thesis winner, Madelynn Green. “My research process involved fieldwork tasks: observations, interviews, field notes and documentation and Hesburgh Library tasks: consulting electronic journals, print sources, websites, subject librarians, research specialists and attending senior thesis camp.”

    College of Arts and Letters, Political Science, Dr. Ricardo Ramírez, advisor

    From Decay to Cool: Street Art and Urban Renewal in Kreuzberg, Berlin and the East End of London

    “I began two summers ago in the Engineering Library, where I was able to find several textbooks on geometric folding algorithms and computational geometry,” said Engineering student, Nicholas Turner, 2015 First Prize winner in the 20000–40000 Level. “To write a successful review paper, it was necessary to capture the entire current state of the art. Extensive use of the library’s print sources, electronic journals, and loan system allowed me to gain a thorough perspective on origami engineering.”

    College of Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Mendoza College of Business, MBA, Dr. Mihir Sen, advisor

    A Review of Origami and its Applications in Mechanical Engineering

    Emily Mediate, Honorable Mention, Senior Thesis winner said, “From the text-mining course to the Stata course and more, the Center for Digital Scholarship was invaluable in the data synthesis and analysis process. The library was most beneficial in the data development, collection, and analysis stages of my thesis process. Librarian Doug Archer helped me to think critically about how the data that I collected would provide the connections between variables.”

    College of Arts & Letters, Africana Studies, Pre-medicine, Dr. Terrence McDonnell, advisor

    Disabling Donor Demands: The Coercion of the International HIV/AIDS Agenda

    Winners will be awarded 6 cash prizes in the 3 different levels. See 2015 winners at library.nd.edu/ulra/#winners.

    Senior and Honors Theses

    1st Place–$1000

    Honorable Mention–$500

    20000–40000 Level

    1st Place–$500

    Honorable Mention–$250

    10000 Level

    1st Place–$500

    Honorable Mention–$250

    Winning projects and recorded 3-5 minute lightning talk videos will be preserved in CurateND, Notre Dame's digital institutional repository. Winners will be recognized at the ULRA Awards Reception at the Undergraduate Scholars Conference.

    For information, tips, and submissions visit library.nd.edu/ulra.