The Leatherby Libraries is proud to announce the winners of the 2021 Kevin and Tam Ross Undergraduate Research Prize. This year was a groundbreaking one for the contest: we received a total of nineteen applications, more than in most previous years; additionally, we opened up the prize to groups, as group research is of increasing importance, especially in the sciences, and we want to encourage and support group research. As a result, our first place went to a group project!

Continue on to learn more about each winning project, including statements from the winners and links to read the winning entries on our institutional repository, the Chapman University Digital Commons.

  • First place went to Heather Andrini, Ashley Okhovat, and Sydni Au Hoy, for their project, “Psychogenic Non-epileptic Seizures Disorder: Treatment after the Diagnostic Odyssey.”
    • Heather writes, “Receiving this prize is an absolute honor. It validates the hard work, time, and energy we have put into the project over the years. This accomplishment will serve as fuel for us to continue working on this worthwhile project that we all have learned so much from. Thank you so much to Dr. Gregory Goldsmith, Dr. Juliana Lockman, Ms. Rebecca Green, and Chapman’s Leatherby Libraries for all of your support!”
    • Ashley writes, “Winning this prize is extra rewarding because of how much time and effort we have put into this project the last three years. We are so excited to share our work and continue our research on psychogenic non-epileptic seizures! Special thank you to Dr. Gregory Goldsmith for his continuous support throughout the years, Leatherby Libraries for providing us with resources, and everyone else who has contributed to our journey!”
    • Sydni writes, “We are honored to have our project shared with the Chapman community! This project served as an excellent research experience and pushed us to explore as many resources as possible. Our team sincerely appreciates all the support we received from our advisor, Dr. Gregory Goldsmith, Dr. Juliana Lockman, Rebecca Green, the external mentors and professors we collaborated with, and Chapman’s Leatherby Libraries!”
      Collage of three photos, arranged side by side, of young women smiling for the camera.

      First place winners Heather Andrini, Ashley Okhovat, and Syndi Au Hoy (l. to r.)

  • Second place went to Jolie Binstock, for her project, “Loneliness as a Predictor of Physical and Mental Health Problems in University Students.”
    • Jolie writes, “Being invited to research with Dr. Julia Boehm was an honor, and finding a correlation between the variables I studied, which had not previously been researched in university-aged students, made it even more rewarding.  The resources provided by Leatherby Libraries granted me with the information to support my research, and having my work acknowledged by the Kevin and Tam Ross Undergraduate Research Prize panel added an additional layer of motivation to continue participating in research.”
      A young woman in a pink sweater smiling for the camera.

      Second place winner Jolie Binstock

  • Third place went to Nicole Saito, for her project, “Sovereignty, Statehood, and Subjugation: Native Hawaiian and Japanese American Discourse over Hawaiian Statehood.”
    • Nicole writes, “I am incredibly honored to be a recipient of the Kevin and Tam Ross Undergraduate Research Prize. I could not have completed this project without the mentorship of Dr. Robert Slayton, Dr. Jeffrey Koerber, and Dr. Stephanie Takaragawa from Chapman University, and Dr. John P. Rosa and Archivist Dawn Sueoka from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. I am indebted to them, as well as my family and friends, for their support. My work on Native Hawaiian and Japanese American experiences in the long arc toward Hawaiian statehood is an ode to the islands I love, and my way of paying tribute to my Japanese American heritage. In a period wrought with prejudice against the AAPI community, this recognition has given me crucial reaffirmation: AAPI histories and voices matter.”
      A young woman in a blue dress smiles for the camera.

      Third place winner Nicole Saito

Taylor Greene, Chair of Instructional Services and of the Kevin and Tam Ross Undergraduate Research Prize committee, writes, “I was incredibly happy with the entire process of the 2021 Kevin and Tam Ross Undergraduate Research Prize. I have been involved with the prize since 2015 and have chaired the selection committee since 2018 and one of the most significant things I’ve noticed in just the past few years is the diverse range of applicants we receive for the prize. With this year’s addition of group projects, we received submissions from an even greater range of applicants who used library resources effectively and in a variety of ways. But the most important and rewarding part of this prize is seeing undergraduate students put their information literacy skills and abilities to use in creating great research projects. For librarians, our goal is to help students become more resourceful searchers for information and critical thinkers about the information they consume and produce. Our winners for the 2021 prize show that excellent information literacy skills lead to great research, making all the work we librarians do worthwhile.

I would like to sincerely thank all of the applicants to this year’s Kevin and Tam Ross Undergraduate Research Prize and also give my heartfelt thanks to the faculty and librarians who gave their time and effort at this busy time in the semester to help select the winning applicants.”

Kevin Ross, Interim Dean of the Leatherby Libraries and donor supporting this prize, wrote about his and his wife’s decision to fund the Undergraduate Research Prize: “My wife Tam and I decided to fund this prize for the following two reasons:

First, both of us believe in the importance of being information literate. Information literacy is important for students conducting useful and relevant research that informs both the public and the academic community, and is crucial to the success of any university. This Undergraduate Research Prize provides our students an opportunity to showcase their research abilities by connecting their own individual research interests with our outstanding librarians and abundance of library resources.

Second, becoming information literate is even more important in this information age as our students begin to face the challenges associated with living independently as working adults.”

The selection committee included the following faculty members and librarians: