Seven A&L students receive 2024 University of Notre Dame Library Research Award

Author: Becky Malewitz

University of Notre Dame Library Research Award written in navy blue and gold with a navy and gold mosaic outline of the Word of Life mural

The 2024 University of Notre Dame Library Research Award competition resulted in 12 awards given to students, seven of which majored in the College of Arts & Letters. These annual awards, sponsored by the Hesburgh Libraries, sponsored by the Hesburgh Libraries, are earned by undergraduate students who demonstrate excellence in research skills by using a breadth of library resources and services for their course assignments, research projects and creative endeavors.

“This year’s Library Research Award recipients demonstrate, through research excellence, the many ways that the Hesburgh Libraries contribute to undergraduate scholarly output,” said K. Matthew Dames, Edward H. Arnold Dean of Hesburgh Libraries and University of Notre Dame Press. “Our faculty and staff are dedicated each day to advancing academic excellence, knowledge creation and human flourishing.”

Undergraduate students were invited to submit a brief essay describing the many ways in which they used library resources for a project or assignment completed during summer 2023, fall 2023, or spring 2024.

Capstone Project or Senior Thesis Award Category

First Place — Klaudia Malik, psychology

Klaudia Malik

Klaudia Malik won first prize for her honors senior thesis, "Are Conscientious Learners Better? Personality and Decisions to Stop Learning." Advised by G. A. Radvansky, director of graduate studies and professor in the Department of Psychology, Malik’s work examined memory conformity, which occurs when our memories are influenced by other people’s memory reports.

She credits her research success to Psychology Librarian Cheri Smith, who connected her with the database PsycInfo, workshops at the Navari Family Center for Digital Scholarship (NFCDS) run by Co-Interim Directors Dan Johnson and Julie Vecchio, and the Library’s annual Thesis Camp held during spring break.

“This knowledge and experience was invaluable for my growth as a researcher, and I am confident that it prepared me well for my future research endeavors as I pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology this upcoming fall,” Malik said.

Malik said that Hesburgh Libraries resources played a part in her research journey from the start. Using PsycInfo, she was able to locate relevant literature, narrow down her research topic and hypotheses, and choose appropriate methods and measures. Through Johnson’s Introduction to Zotero and Introduction to Github and Markdown workshops, Malik learned how to properly manage citations and manage her statistical code. She was able to organize and clean her data thanks to Vecchio’s Data Organization in Spreadsheets and Data Cleaning with OpenRefine workshops. Through Thesis Camp, Malik learned time management skills and was able to stay engaged and motivated to kickstart her thesis and write an abstract in order to apply for a conference.

Second Place — Bupe Lughano Kabaghe, political science and global affairs

Bupe Lughano Kabaghe

Bupe Lughano Kabaghe won second prize for her honors senior thesis, "Advocacy or Family Relations? Exploring Pathways for Women into the Zambian National Assembly." Advised by Rev. Robert A. Dowd, C.S.C., a professor in the Department of Political Science and president-elect of the University, Kabaghe’s work centered around women’s participation in the Zambian parliament.

While researching, Kabaghe took advantage of “the plethora of resources available through the Hesburgh Library.” She consulted with Mark Robison, interim program leader of Collection Strategy and Acquisitions and political science and peace studies librarian, who pointed her to databases such as the Political Science, Social Science and International Political Science Abstract databases. There, she was able to explore her research topic. Robison also introduced her to RefWorks and Zotero for organizing literature and references, a recommendation she says revolutionized her research process.

In addition to getting help learning and finding resources inside the Library, Kabaghe consulted with Robison to better understand how to conduct archival research in a government library. She later used Robison’s advice while researching in the archives of the Zambian National Assembly.

“Guided by the advice of Mark Robison, I navigated the intricacies of archival research, mining through government order papers and parliamentary debates spanning over two decades. Additionally, I conducted interviews with key stakeholders, seeking to understand the pathways for women into political leadership,” she said.

Upon returning from her research trip, Kabaghe used the Transcription Station, another Hesburgh Library resource in the NFCDS, which helped streamline her transcription process.

Sophomore, Junior, or Senior Award Category

First Place — Chizoma Duru, economics

Chizoma Duru

Chizoma Duru won first prize for her research paper, "Climate Change in Africa: A Cross-Country Analysis of Unemployment and Migration Effects." Advised by Yong Suk Lee, an assistant professor of technology, economy, and global affairs at the Keough School of Global Affairs, Duru conducted a comparative analysis between Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa on effects of climate change on the economic indicators, unemployment and internal migration rates.

Duru credits the “multitude of library resources at her disposal” for helping her research thrive. She used OneSearch and Google Scholar to source objective, up-to-date information. She credits the Access World News Research Collection, the Climate and Sustainability Library and World Bank databases for her data sourcing. The Hesburgh Libraries computers also gave Duru free access to Stata: Statistical Software, which allowed her to organize and analyze her data. She also credits her research success to the variety of Library workspaces.

“As a Nigerian woman, I am extremely grateful to be in a school that grants me resources, which range from high-value technology to purposeful study spaces and much more, to conduct research for the betterment of my people,” she said. “These Hesburgh Library resources, which I may not have had the opportunity to operate outside of spaces like Notre Dame, continue to empower the next generation of scholars who venture into fields that will educate, empower and impact positive change in various communities worldwide.”

First Year Student Award Category

First Place — Ethan Chiang, global affairs

Ethan Chiang

Ethan Chiang won first prize for his research paper, "Fragile Harmony: The Perils of Power-Sharing Agreements in Post-Conflict Societies." Advised by Darlene Hampton, and instructor in the University Writing Program and associate advising professor in the Office of Undergraduate Studies, Chiang’s paper examined whether consociationalism is effective at healing sectarian divisions in post-conflict societies or simply inflames existing tensions and impedes stable governance.

Chiang described the Hesburgh Library as invaluable in helping him to discern and refine his research topic while providing access to a diverse set of sources. His journey began with a class in the Hesburgh Library, where students learned about available resources and how to use them. Engineering Librarian Willie Baer demonstrated OneSearch and how using Boolean operators in advanced search can generate more accurate results.

Chiang took advantage of library subscriptions to the New York Times and JSTOR, a digital library of academic journals, books and primary sources to further his research. He participated in workshops such as Bringing Order to Qualitative Madness with ATLAS.ti with Mark Robison, interim program leader of Collection Strategy and Acquisitions and political science and peace studies librarian, and Introduction to Text Mining with Eric Lease Morgan, digital initiatives librarian in the NFCDS.

“My engagement with the library speaks to its mission to serve as 'a hub for intellectual life’ and to foster Notre Dame’s larger engagement with the community of scholars around the world,” he said.

Second Place — JohnPaul Mitiguy, mechanical engineering

JohnPaul Mitiguy

JohnPaul Mitiguy won second prize for his research paper, "Effects of Birth Rates on China’s Agricultural Economy." Advised by Elizabeth Capdevielle, an assistant teaching professor in the University Writing Program, Mitiguy researched birth rates in China during the last decade.

Mitiguy credits Global Affairs and Sociology Librarian Jessica Kayongo for introducing him to various online resources that would expand the research beyond what he found on Google. Kayongo demonstrated features on Hesburgh Libraries’ website that would allow Mitiguy to take advantage of FindText, refine searches with Advanced Search, and use the Chat with a Librarian tool. She also helped the freshman initiate his first Interlibrary Loan request. In addition, Mitiguy found several library databases, JSTOR, ProQuest and ProQuest E-book, Gale Academic OneFile and SpringerLink, to be indispensable in his research.

“Through access to academic databases, news subscriptions, outstanding librarians and assistants, research spaces, and Interlibrary Loans, Hesburgh Libraries provides comprehensive resources to undergraduate researchers,” Mitiguy said. “The accessibility of OneSearch and the availability of supportive librarians like Ms. Jessica Kayongo allow first-years like me to practice thorough academic research at Notre Dame.”

Group Project Award Category

Brooke Friedman, neuroscience and behavior; David Diaz, science preprofessional

Brooke Friedman
David Diaz

Seniors Brooke Friedman and David Diaz won honors for their research on Ellis-Van Creveld Syndrome. Advised by Barbara Calhoun, the Reisenauer Family Director for Patient Advocacy Initiative and director of the Minor in Science and Patient Advocacy in the Department of Biological Sciences, Friedman and Diaz were able to update a decade-old report on Ellis-Van Creveld Syndrome for the National Organization for Rare Disorders.

Because of the nature of a rare disease such as Ellis-Van Creveld Syndrome, it was important for Friedman and Diaz to be able to search a variety of medical journals for up-to-date information. Using OneSearch, the pair located contemporary articles about the syndrome in lesser-known medical publications. In addition, Friedman attended the Building a Better Lit Review with VOS Viewer workshop conducted by Julie Vecchio, which was helpful in visually organizing their literature review. The team also credits their success to the physical library spaces, noting that they spent many hours collaborating at the library trying to rewrite the report so that it would be understandable to anyone looking for information on the syndrome.

“This project would not have been possible without the assistance of the Hesburgh Libraries, specifically through OneSearch, the VOSViewer workshop, digital manuscript access, and reading rooms. We are truly grateful to have had this support along our journey,” Friedman said.

Emerging Scholar Award Category

The Emerging Scholar Award is a specialty category of the Library Research Awards that recognizes excellence in conducting independent research or projects.

David Rae, philosophy and theology

David Rae

David Rae won an award for his research into Blessed Basil Anthony Moreau's spiritual exercises, advised by Rev. Kevin G. Grove, C.S.C., assistant professor in the Department of Theology. He worked with Father Grove, researching a book presenting Father Moreau’s spiritual exercises.

Moreau’s exercises have served a key role in the Congregation of Holy Cross since its founding and have been prayed for more than 150 years. After using resources such as OneSearch and Google Books, Rae found himself at the door of the University Archives on the 6th floor of the Hesburgh Library, where Assistant Archivist Joe Smith helped him to locate the directory, or little book of prayers, for the Congregation of Holy Cross and bring it to the library from the Annex. The book became a highlight of Rae’s research as he was able to identify three invocations cited by Moreau.

“With the help of the amazing team at the Notre Dame Library, future generations of Holy Cross priests and others could now more closely follow in the footsteps of Blessed Moreau,” he said.

Digital Scholarship Award Category

The Navari Family Center for Digital Scholarship (NFCDS) Award is a specialty category of the Library Research Awards. This award recognizes excellence in leveraging digital scholarship resources, tools and methodologies in research and projects. Students can win the NFCDS Award in addition to another category or as a stand-alone recognition.

Bupe Lughano Kabaghe, political science and global affairs

In addition to winning second place in the Capstone Project or Senior Thesis Award Category, Bupe Lughano Kabaghe received an NFCDS Award for the use of digital scholarship throughout the research process (see awardee profile above).

Klaudia Malik, psychology

In addition to winning first place in the Capstone Project or Senior Thesis Award Category, Klaudia Malik received an NFCDS Award for the use of digital scholarship throughout the research process (see awardee profile above).

Alexandra Indacochea, architecture

Alexandra Indacochea

Alexandra Indacochea earned an NFCDS award for her capstone senior thesis, "A Building Arts College for Arequipa, Peru," advised by Professor Michael Lykoudis, former Francis and Kathleen Rooney dean of the School of Architecture.

To learn more about her grandfather's hometown, Arequipa, Peru, and study Spanish Architecture, Indacochea used several resources in the Architecture Library. The senior consulted with Architecture Librarian Jennifer Parker, who helped her obtain research materials through Interlibrary Loan and apply for a Fagan grant, which allowed Indacochea to travel to Peru during spring break. After returning, she compiled her research using Refworks and worked with Makerspace & Graphics Specialist Matt Noffsinger to create a 3D print for her final presentation. (Learn more about 3D printing services available at the NFCDS.)

“The final piece of the puzzle the library assisted with was creating a printed model for my final presentation," she said. "This project has been the most complex and rewarding of my time here, and I am glad I reached out to professors and faculty for help and utilized the resources available to me.”

Natalie Modugno, political science and applied and computational mathematics and statistics

Natalie Modugno

Natalie Modugno earned an NFCDS award for her research paper, "Analyzing Preclearance Formulas: Detecting Discrimination After the Shelby Decision." Modugno was advised by Tom Mustillo, an associate professor of global affairs and director of the governance and policy concentration for the Master of Global Affairs program in the Keough School of Global Affairs. Modugno examined whether the preclearance formula used in a section of the Voting Rights Act struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013, or another proposed hypothetical formula, could help identify race-based state exclusions to voting.

While researching, Modugno contacted the Research Data Services Consulting Team to help her open a .dat file that she was struggling with. The team not only helped her access the file, but they also pointed her toward an R Package that she was able to open in RStudio. The package was easy to access and contained all of the information that Modugno sought.

“Within minutes, I had a team of individuals helping me with my inquiry. When I provided the team with more information, they were able to help me," she said. "This insight was game-changing for my research and helped me forge ahead in my analysis.”

Victoria Ryan, electrical engineering

Victoria Ryan

Victoria Ryan earned an NFCDS award for using digital scholarship resources for an essay for her Digital Empires class titled, "Zhufu Yan and Shu-li Tzu: An Exploration of the Impact of Social Networks, Geographical Mobility, and Criminal History on Official Careers in Ancient China." Advised by Liang Cai, an associate professor in the Department of History, Ryan wrote about Zhufu Yan, a scholar who traveled to the capital to serve the emperor during the Han Dynasty. Using Yan’s biography, Ryan created a visualization of his social network using Gephi, a visualization and exploration software that helps create graphs and networks.

Ryan says her project would not have been possible without using library resources, specifically the NFCDS staff and OneSearch. Library faculty spoke with Ryan’s class throughout the semester to familiarize students with the programs needed to complete their assignments. Digital Projects Specialist Adam Heet taught the class how to create a spreadsheet for Gephi to create a custom social network diagram. NFCDS Co-Interim Director Julie Vecchio also spoke to the class about creating timeline visualizations using Timeline.JS.

“Overall, the work that I completed for Digital Empires was made possible with library resources," she said. "Adam Heet and Julie Vecchio provided excellent tutorials and resources on how to use Gephi and Timeline.JS, respectively. Not only did their guidance allow me to complete my assignments in this course, but I feel as though I’ve developed new skills that I’ll be able to implement in other applications.”