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Announcing the Monroe Library Student Research Competition Winners

By Loyola University on Tue, 05/03/2022 - 13:51

Congratulations to our scholars!

The Monroe Library is pleased to announce the three winners of the Monroe Library Student Research Competition. This year saw a sweep of the competition by students working in the field of history who conducted research on projects that all focus on social justice. The winning pieces were distinguished by the variety of appropriate sources they used, as well as the sophistication and complexity with which those sources were integrated into each author’s original work.

Let’s hear more about the research projects and their authors, all of which were written during the 2021 calendar year.

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The winner in the Freshman/Sophomore category is first-year History major Andrea Norwood, for the paper, “A Changing Identity: Loyola’s LGBT+ Organization Over the Years (1991-2012).” Written for Prof. Allison Edgren’s class, The Historian’s Craft, this paper traces the history of LGBT+ organizations on Loyola’s campus over a twenty-year period. 

Norwood’s research was conducted using digitized archival sources, including The Maroon and The Wolf, which can be found on the Monroe Library’s Special Collections and Archives website. She notes: “I had never based my research extensively on primary sources before, so the process of looking into an archive was completely new to me,” making the sophisticated synthesis of her findings all the more notable. 

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The winner in the Junior/Senior category is junior Molly Sullivan, whose paper, “An Analysis on How We Got Here: The Explosion of COVID-19 Conspiracies,” was written for Prof. Mark Fernandez’s class, American Conspiracies. In it, Sullivan, a double major in Sociology and Spanish, looks at the spread of disinformation during the pandemic and its negative social impact.

Especially intriguing was her resourceful use of existing data to identify patterns that describe the spread of disinformation via social media. Focusing her analysis on the scapegoating of marginalized groups during the COVID-19 pandemic, she explains the impulses motivating individuals who spread conspiracy theories: “Overwhelmed by skepticism and fear, sharing false claims disguised as knowledge allows individuals to take back some options in daily life.”

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The winner in the senior capstone project category is honors History major Analene McCullough. Her senior thesis, written with the support of faculty advisor Prof. Mark Fernandez, is entitled “The Students for a Democratic Society and the Weather Underground: Transition to Violence.”
 
McCullough conducts thorough research, synthesizing a range of materials -- especially primary sources -- into a very readable narrative. This is impressive and crucial work in telling a story that has, as she notes, mostly been shared in fragments. And, as she argues, this is a story that is unusually relevant in today's political climate.

Congratulations to this year’s winners!