McConnell Library celebrates 2015 Winesett Awards for Library Research

The winners of the 2015 Winesett Awards for Library Research were announced and celebrated in McConnell Library on May 1.

Funded by the Hazel Grove Winesett Endowment, the awards are made annually at the end of the spring semester to recognize the academic year’s most creative and original library research by undergraduate students.

"As we are every year, we were impressed by the quality of our students' work," said Professor Candice Benjes-Small, chair of the Winesett Awards for Library Research Committee, noting the range of research topics from disciplines across campus.

The top prizes—four awards of $750 each—were granted to students whose papers or projects best illustrate the exemplary use of McConnell Library’s tools, resources and development of information-gathering tools.

Winners in the upper division (seniors and juniors) were:

  • Gabrielle Carraccio for "'Autism and therapeutic horseback riding," nominated by Professor Wendy Eckenrod-Green
  • Sarah Hughes for "Tobacco use among adolescents in Franklin County, Virginia," nominated by Professor Erin Cruise

Winners in the lower division (freshmen and sophomores) were:

  • Abigail Maimborg for "Health in college," nominated by Professor Shalin Krieger
  • Christopher Smith for "Sciaenops ocellatus," nominated by Professor Karen Powers

Five student finalists each received $100 finalist awards:

  • Claire Adams for "Oscar Wilde's homosexual themes within fairy tales," nominated by Professor Lindsey Kamerer
  • Annabel Bergin for "The emergence of ISIS," nominated by Professor Brock Cutler
  • Maria Minadeo for "The use of SSRI antidepressants in children and adolescents," nominated by Professor Nancy Taylor
  • Julie Petty for "The burgeoning truth: A cross cultural comparison of autism diagnosis between the United States and South Korea," nominated by Randy Taylor
  • Sharon Roller for "Development of a digital antemortem bone fracture healing staging system for use in child death investigations," nominated by Professor Donna Boyd

This year, the library received more than 52 completed applications for the Winesett awards.

The keynote speaker for the ceremony was Professor Nancy Taylor, who spoke of the importance of curiosity and its tendency to reveal a larger world to researchers of all kinds.

"Based on the research titles, I can tell you are already naturally curious, that you think about things a lot," Taylor said to Winesett participants. "When you are genuinely interested in one thing, it will always lead to something else. Let your curiosity be your guide."

The annual library research contest was named in honor of 1938 alumna Hazel Winesett, a lifelong educator from Pulaski who was remembered as a woman with a warm and modest heart who loved to travel. Upon her death in 2002, Winesett left the McConnell Library an $820,000 endowment, the largest such gift that the library had received.

Her gift allowed the library to implement many projects, including the Winesett awards. In addition to the annual library research award contest, the Winesett endowment has been used to help fund numerous initiatives, such as expanding resources, upgrading furnishings and equipment, and establishing the McConnell Library Archives and Special Collections' annual Winesett Book Collecting Contest.

Copies of this year's prize-winning papers will be permanently housed in the McConnell Library University Archives and will be made available online.


From left: Sharon Roller, Julie Petty, Sarah Hughes, Gabrielle Carraccio, Christopher Smith, Abigail Maimborg, Claire Adams and Annabel Bergin.

May 4, 2015