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2019 Willock Award recipients announced

Friday, February 15, 2019

Congratulations to our 2019 Katheryne B. Willock Library Research Award recipients: Margherita Berti, Elif Burhan, Srujitha Marupuru, Erin Pelley, Tala Shahin and Sean Tomlinson. This eighth annual award of $1,000 recognizes students who use library services and resources for their research and is generously funded by the late Katheryne (Kate) Willock.

Here’s what the students had to say about using the Libraries for their research:

Margherita Berti, a PhD student in the Second Language Acquisition and Teaching program and a foreign language instructor, researched how virtual reality environments can be implemented in the language classroom to support student learning and foster cultural awareness. “With the help of librarians, databases, technologies and library spaces I successfully carried out this research project,” she said.

Elif Burhan is also a PhD student in the Second Language Acquisition and Teaching program. Her dissertation project focused on academic discourse socialization, a field that investigates how international students learn to use the academic language of their disciplines. She said that the Libraries “accompanied [her] during this fourteen-month journey by facilitating four major research steps: finding a research gap, writing the dissertation proposal, data collection, and data analysis.”

Srujitha Marupuru, a PhD student studying sleep disorders, conducted a systematic review on the potential use of melatonin drugs and their effects on sleep outcomes in the elderly. Associate Librarian Jennifer Martin helped Srujitha design a robust search strategy and access relevant journals and databases. Srujitha presented a research poster at the 2018 American College of Clinical Pharmacy Conference in Seattle and said “this was only possible due to the services and experts of the library.”

Tala Shahin, a senior pursuing a dual degree in Physiology and Arabic, worked in an interdisciplinary team of engineers, computer scientists and physicians to develop and  enhance  telemedicine  as  a  means  of  alleviating  patient  secondary  injury  and  maximizing access  of  care  to  rural  areas. She said that the library provided her team with “a myriad of resources which were utilized for research and data collection.”

For her Honors College senior thesis, Erin Pelley studied the links between food insecurity, toxic stress and metabolic diseases in Latino children, and how mindfulness techniques can be used to combat rising levels of obesity and diabetes in this population. She said: “The help from librarians and other staff members helped me get started and develop a unique project that will contribute to the field of public health.”

Sean Tomlinson is pursuing his MA in the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies and writing his thesis on the accounts and experiences of Taha al-Hashimi, a WWI Ottoman veteran from Baghdad. He relied on interlibrary loan for Arabic language memoirs, and Assistant Librarian Niamh Wallace referred him to digitized 1920s Arabic newspapers and other primary source materials.

UA Libraries Vice Dean Sarah Shreeves presented the award to students at the Graduate & Professional Student Council (GPSC) Student Showcase on February 13, 2019. Judges included Libraries faculty and staff members Lisa Duncan, Carol Howe, Paula Johnson, Yvonne Mery, John Miller-Wells and Fernando Rios.

Willock Award Graduate Student Winners
Srujitha Marupuru, Elif Burhan, Margherita Berti, Vice Dean Sarah Shreeves, Sean Tomlinson