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USC Libraries Research Award

This LibGuide provides information about the USC Libraries Research Award. It includes submission guidelines, requirements, previous award winners and jury members, as well as additional information about primary source materials at USC.

Previous Award Winners

2021 Winners:

Undergraduate Student Winners

1st Prize
Adam Jackman
“Avarice and Ambition: John Adams’s Fight Against Commercial and Private Interest” 

2nd Prize (4x)
Tiffany Chou
“Strategic Use of Patent Portfolios in Cloud Computing Enterprises”

Ayaka Kimura
“Representing Ūman Ribu Japan’s Radical Feminist Movement as seen through Print Media”

Ellen Minkin
"Jewish Childbearing in Ghettos During the Holocaust” 

Abigail Rawlinson
“All ’Bout the Money: Governor Ronald Reagan & Higher Education” 

3rd Prize
Brynn Sauer
“A Triple Threat: Investigating the Relationship Between Payment Schemes, Personality, and Performance”

Graduate Student Winners

1st Prize:
Saar Shahar
“Artistic Incentives and the Quest for Status: John Webber and the making of Captain Cook’s Death”

1st Prize:
Ann Tran
“USC in 1970: Politics, Race, and the Antiwar Movement."


2020 Winners:

Undergraduate prizes:

First prize: Christopher Aranda, a junior majoring in history, for “Mickey’s Army: Frontierland in the Creation of the American Western Myth,” written for History 457: The American West, taught by Alice Baumgartner

First prize: Sophie Hammond, a senior majoring in history and English, for the history honors thesis, “‘The Moral Regeneration of Civilized Humanity’: Bourgeois Women’s Movements in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna,” advised by Paul Lerner

First prize: Ryan Nhu, a senior majoring in Creative Writing; Law, History, and Culture, for “Compromising: On Richard Aoki, Midcentury Radicalism, and the Limits of Solidarity,” written as an independent research project in History for Professor Alice Echols

Second prize: Morgan Harler, a senior majoring in political science, for “Social Identity Theory Skews 27 Emotions Study: An Investigation of Political Polarization and Emotions,” an experimental honors thesis in political science

Second prize: Edward Mack, majoring in international relations, for “Of Millets and Murder: A Discourse on the Ottoman Genocides, From Cause to Effect,” written for International Relations 437: Comparative Genocide, taught by Patrick James

Third prize: Annie Li, a freshman majoring in Business Administration and Accounting, for “It's Not Just the Devil That Wears Prada,” written for Deborah Sims’ Writing 150 class

Third prize: Bridgett Purcell, a senior majoring in French and Communication, for “Of Myths and (Wo)men: The International Implications of the Enlightenment in “Voltaire to Jeanne Antoinette Pompadour—1750 August 20,” written for French 370: Equality and Difference around the Enlightenment, taught by Natania Meeker

Graduate prizes:

First prize: Judy Zhou, a first-year PhD student in Biokinesiology and a recent Doctor of Physical Therapy graduate, for “Infant reaching in the first year of life: a scoping review of typical development and examples of atypical development"

Second prize: Ryan Nhu, a senior majoring in Creative Writing; Law, History, and Culture, for "Violent Affect(ions), Queer Desires,” written for Viet Thanh Nguyen’s class English 504: Theories of Race, Class, and Gender


2019 Winners:

Undergraduate Papers

1. Place
Matthew Tomazic 
Paper: The Hand That Signed the Paper: Treaty Breaking and Native American Legal Resistance to Genocide
Class: HIST 446: Resistance to Genocide, Fall 2019, Professor Wolf Gruner

2. Place
Shir Attias 
Paper: The US-Russia BMD Confrontation: A study of American Perception of Russian Rhetoric on US BMD and the Implications for Future Arms Control
Class: IR (International Relations)494 Honors Thesis Seminar, Fall 2019, Professor Jacques Hymans

3. Place
Ashlyn Elliot 
Paper: Shadow Couriers. The Dissemination of Information by Women as Resistance to the Third Reich
Class: HIST 446: Resistance to Genocide, Fall 2019, Professor Wolf Gruner


Graduate Papers

1. Place
Michael Anthony Turcios 
Paper: Decolonial Expressions in Barrio Film of 1970s East Los Angeles
Class: CTCS 677: Colonialism, Cinema and Culture”, Spring 2019, Professor Priya Jaikumar

2. Place
Ryan Nhu 
“Coming Out” on the Global Stage: Queer Theory and International Human Rights Law
Class: POIR 648: International Human Rights Law and Policy, Spring 2019, Professor Alison Dundes Renteln


Winners of the 2018 USC Libraries Research Award

Graduate Student Award:

1st prize:

Darshana Mini

  • Paper: “To Tame a Savage Land: Photographs, Documentaries, and Travelogues as Colonial Texts in the New Hebrides (1860s-1920s).” 

  • Major: Cinematic Arts

Undergraduate Student Awards:

1st prizes:

Nikhil Vettikattu

  • Paper: "Collaboration or Resistance? Prisoner Physicians in Concentration Camps"
  • Major: Human Biology & Jewish Studies

Griffin Hale Williams

  •  Paper: "Marching to What End" The Death Marches and the Final Solution"
  •  Major: History

2nd prizes:

Annie Ly

  •  Paper: "Witchcraft as a Vehicle of Resolution during the Jacobean Era"
  •  Major: Health and Human Sciences

Ryan Kazemaini

  •  Paper: "Weapon of Coercion: How North Carolina Eugenicists Utilized Propaganda to Enforce Sterilization"
  •  Major: History

Winners of the 2017 USC Libraries Research Award

Undergraduate Thesis Award:

Jacob Lokshin

  • Paper:  “Whose War is it Anyway? Examining Decision-Making in the Construction of U.S.-Afghan Policy During the Carter Administration”
  • Major: History

Allison Smith

  • Paper: “The News from Nowhere: William Morris's Icelandic Landscapes”
  • Major: English

Undergraduate Research Papers

First place: Anna Lipscomb

  • Paper: “China's Regional Identity Crises: Exploring Identity in Xinjiang and Taiwan's Relations with Beijing”
  • Majors: International Relations, East Asian Languages and Cultures

Second place: Matthew Simon

  • Paper: “Global Evolution: How Globalization shaped the National Basketball Association into an International Power”
  • Majors: Communication and Political Science

First-Year Undergraduate Paper Award:

Rebecca Breitstein

  • Paper:  “La Ventana a la Cultura: El Papel del Idioma en la Educación Primaria”
  • Major: Business Administration


Graduate Student Awards:

Emily Rauber Rodriguez

  • Paper: “Hidden Follies: The Lost Labor Behind Arthur Freed’s Unmade MGM Musicals”
  • Program: Cinema and Media Studies

Michael Turcios

  • Paper:  “Debates and Questions for Studying Black Murals: The Case of Noni Olabisi’s ‘To Protect and Serve’ (1996)”
  • Program: Visual Studies


Winners of the 2016 USC Libraries Research Award

Undergraduate papers:

Tying for first prize:

José Alaras.

  • Paper: "La frontera lingüística de los inmigrantes en el sector de salud"
  • Major: Biochemistry

Brittney Kidwell.

  • Paper: "Portrait of the German-American Economic Relationship from 1933-1945"
  • Majors: History and Economics

Tying for second prize:

Roberto Nazario.

  • Paper: "The Work and Struggles of Jewish Physicists and Mathematicians in Nazi Germany"
  • Major: Physics

Rebecca Teper.

  • Paper: "Analyzing the Effects of Political Preferences and Negative Advertising on Voting Decisions"
  • Major: Business Administration

Graduate papers:

First prize:

Darshana Mini.

  • Paper: "The Great Indian Road Trip: Constructing the Picturesque Colony in 1940s and 1950s Travelogue films"
  • Program: PhD, Cinema and Media Studies


Winners of the 2015 USC Libraries Research Award

Tying for first prize in the honors thesis category:

Emily Hodgkins.
Paper: “Beat Music and the Politics of Youth Identity in the German Democratic Republic, 1949–1965”

Alexander Finkelstein.
Paper:  “Los Angeles Transformation: 1863–1876,”

Undergraduate papers category

1st prize
Mahima Verma. Paper:  “Unpackaging Life magazine’s photographic essay of the 1946 Calcutta Riots.”

Tying for second prize:

Sareen Palassian. Paper: “The Femme Fatale in LGBT Science Fiction”

Diana Kruzman. Paper: “Uncontacted No Longer: Globalization’s Impact on Kinship, Conflict and Ritual Cannibalism Among the Korowai of Papua.”

Honorable Mention

Sasha Pearce. Paper:  “Mary Stuart in Letters"


Winners of the 2014 USC Libraries Research Award

First Place Graduate Student Winner:

Natalie Dame
Major: Slavic Languages and Literatures
Paper: Russia in Distress or the Tortured Virgins in the Russian Satirical Journals of 1905-1906

First Place Undergraduate Student Winner:

John Merritt
Major: History
Paper: South Tyrol, Südtirol, or Trentino? National Community on the Linguistic Frontier of Austria and Italy, 1848-1945

Second Place Undergraduate Student Winner:

Leslie Chang
Major: History
Paper: Charles Dickens and the Ethics of Accounting



Winners of the 2013 USC Libraries Research Award

First Place ($500):
Nitya Ramanathan
Major: International Relations, minor- Human Rights, Resistance to Genocide
Semester in which the Research Paper was written: Fall 2013
Academic Class Level: Junior
Title of paper: How do We Put Ourselves Back Together? An Analytical Comparison between Transitional Justice in Rwanda and South Africa

Second Place ($200):
Diem-Tran Nguyen
Major: History (Minor: Natural Science),
Semester in which the Research Paper was written: Fall 2013
Academic Class Level: Senior
Title of paper:
The Paradoxical Treatment of Male Homosexual Prisoners During the Holocaust



Previous Jury Members

Jury Members Research Award 2020

USC Libraries faculty and staff Anthony Anderson, Amy Chatfield, Lisa Marie Crow, Nora DeVita, Elizabeth Galoozis, Sandra Garcia-Myers, Samir Ghosh, Cari Kaurloto, Eddie Loh, Sophie Lesinska, Sue Luftschein, Suzi Noruschat, Michael Oliveira, Bree Russell, Linda Truong, Michaela Ullmann, and Ruth Wallach; Jennifer Sopchockchai Bankard of the USC Dornsife Writing Program, Joan Flores-Villalobos of the USC Dornsife History Department, Carmen Lee of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Cory Nelson of the USC Dornsife Writing Program and the Writing Center, and Ashley Uyeshiro of the USC Chan Division of Occupational Therapy; along with last year’s student winners Matthew Tomazic and Michael Anthony Turcios.


Jury Members Research Award 2019

Undergraduate Student Papers

Special Jury French language:
Danielle Mihram & Olivia Harrisson

General Jury undergraduate students: 

Alyssa Elaine Brissett, Suzanne Noruschat, Eddie Loh, Nikhil Vettikattu (student winner 2018), Tang Li, Andy Rutkowski, Prof. Lindsay O’Neill, Griffin Williams (student winner 2018), Javier Sepulveda Garibay, Melissa Miller, Annie Ly (student winner 2018), Tyson Gaskill, Prof. Christopher Smith  


Graduate Student Papers

Jury graduate student papers:

Sue Luftschein, Anthony Anderson, Stacy Williams, Darshana Mini (2018 Graduate student winner), Alyssa Elaine Brissett, Suzanne Noruschat, Eddie Loh, Nikhil Vettikattu (student winner 2018)


2017 Research Award Jury:

  • Jose Alaras, student, biochemistry major  (2016 Research Award winner)

  • Rebecca Corbett, Japanese Studies Librarian, USC Libraries

  • Elizabeth Galoozis, Head of Information Literacy, USC Libraries (lead)

  • Karin Huebner, Director of Programs, Harman Academy for Polymathic Study

  • Kevin Klipfel, Instructional Design & Assessment Librarian, USC Libraries

  • Sue Luftschein, Head of Special Collections, USC Libraries

  • Danielle Mihram, Reference and Instruction Librarian, USC Libraries

  • Darshana Mini, Ph.D. student, School of Cinematic Arts (2016 Research Award winner)

  • Suzi Noruschat, Southern California Studies Specialist, USC Libraries

  • Andrea Parra, Associate Professor (Teaching) of Spanish

  • Eimmy Solis, Social Sciences Data Librarian, USC Libraries

  • Shalini Ramachandran, Science and Engineering Librarian, USC Libraries

2016 Research Award Jury for undergraduate student papers:

  • Sean Nye, Assistant Professor for Practice in Musicology

  • Emily Hodgkins, USC History, 2016 & 2015 USC Libraries Research Award winner

  • Melanee Vicedo, Head, Education and Social Work Library Services

  • Andrew Justice, Head, Music Library

Special jury for Spanish-language papers:

  • Liana Stepanyan, Associate Professor, Spanish & Portuguese, Dornsife College

  • ​Maria Mercedes Fages Agudo,Senior Lecturer, Spanish & Portuguese, Dornsife College

 2016 Research Award Jury for graduate student papers:

  • Kristin Diehl, Associate Professor of Marketing

  • Helga Haraldsson, Head, Business and Accounting Libraries

  • Sue Luftschein, Head, Special Collections

2015 Research Award Jury:

  • Carolyn Caffrey Gardner (USC Libraries)

  • Jack Merritt (1st place undergraduate student winner 2014)

  • Rotem Gilbert (USC Thornton Music School)

  • Natalie Dame (1st place graduate student winner 2014)

  • Elizabeth Galoozis (USC Libraries)

  • Michaela Ullmman (USC Libraries) (ex officio)

  • Sue Luftschein (USC Libraries) (ex officio)


2014 Research Award Jury:

  • Nitya Ramanathan, 1st Place Winner, USC Libraries Research Award 2013

  • Glenda Goodman, Postdoctoral Fellow, History Department

  • Gian-Maria Annovi, Assistant Professor of French & Italian

  • Elizabeth Namei, Assistant University Librarian and Reference and Instruction Librarian

2013 Research Award Jury Members:

  • Leo Braudy, University Professor and Leo S. Bing Chair in English and American Literature and Professor of English and History

  • Tyler Cundiff, USC Sophomore, Political Science, Communication, Human Rights

  • Joseph Hawkins, Director, ONE Archives at the USC Libraries

  • Lindsay O'Neill, Lecturer, USC Dornsife, Department of History