Since 2014, the NEIU Libraries have recognized outstanding student efforts in the area of library-based research through the annual Library Award for Excellence in Research. The award is given to students who demonstrate outstanding ability to identify, locate, select, evaluate, and synthesize library resources and to use them in the creation of an original research project. Student award winners receive a cash prize of $300 and recognition for their outstanding efforts. We would like to congratulate the winners of the 2021 NEIU Libraries Award for Excellence in Research!
Cassandra Ceballos, Graduate student in Biology: Use of Algae In A Wastewater Treatment System
Cassandra completed her undergraduate degree at NEIU in 2014 and returned in 2018 to obtain a Master’s in Biology. She is currently conducting thesis research and hopes to graduate after defending in the fall.
For her graduate research, Cassandra researched the use of algae in a Revolving Algal Biofilm reactor, a novel wastewater management treatment system. Cassandra turned to numerous NEIU Libraries databases with information in biology, including Biological Abstracts, BioOne Complete, and Academic Search Ultimate, as well as the NEIU Libraries search box. She began with broader searches, using sophisticated techniques such as truncation, to gain a general understanding of the topic. Subsequently, she employed Boolean operators and filters to narrow her results. With the Libraries’ Worldshare interlibrary loan service, Cassandra requested more than 60 peer-reviewed journal articles. To obtain books during the pandemic, she viewed electronic books through the Libraries’ subscription to ProQuest Ebook Central and picked up physical books from NEIU and our I-Share partners through the contactless Grab & Go service.
In her own words: “I would like to acknowledge my advisor, Dr. Jennifer Slate, who has provided me with diligent guidance throughout this process.”
Elizabeth Hanks, Graduate student in TESOL: The Role of Implicature in the English Language Classroom
Elizabeth is in her final semester of the MA TESOL program at NEIU. After graduating in May, she will begin a doctoral program in applied linguistics at Northern Arizona University.
As part of her TESL 477 course, Elizabeth conducted a literature review on implicature (i.e. the understanding listeners reach from paying attention to spoken words along with unspoken elements such as intonation, gestures, facial expressions, and context) to address a gap she identified in the professional literature. To ensure comprehensive results, Elizabeth employed a variety of advanced search techniques, such as citation chaining, when mining NEIU Libraries databases and Google Scholar. She took full advantage of WorldShare interlibrary loan services to request articles not immediately available in full text, and organized her citations with the open source reference management software, Zotero. Her bibliography represents seminal and recent research from authors, journals, and academic presses of the highest quality.
In her own words: “Thanks to Dr. Stone for sparking my interest in this topic, and thanks to all my mentors who have taught me how to conduct research.”
Mariel E. Portillo Ibanez, Undergraduate student in Psychology: The Effects of Aging on Self-Esteem and Mental Health in Women
Mariel has been at NEIU for four years, taking some time off to take care of her family, including her mom, partner and one-year-old baby girl. She plans to graduate this winter 2021 with a degree in Psychology and minor in Child Advocacy. While at NEIU, Mariel has participated in Student Government, volunteer activities through Future Health Professionals and the Beta Honor Society Club, and been a Student Ambassador. NEIU has opened the doors to her academically, professionally and personally. She has traveled to other states, and met incredible people, and for those experiences she is forever grateful.
Mariel researched how aging affects women’s self-esteem and mental health, paying particular attention to how mass culture affects women’s perceptions of their aging bodies. Mariel was motivated to identify protective factors that support women’s physical and mental health as they age. Mariel began her research using NEIU Libraries databases including PsycInfo, Ageline, and Abstracts in Social Gerontology. She applied advanced search techniques and subject limiters to build a core body of scholarly journal articles from the fields of psychology and gerontology. She then searched additional subject-specific databases to retrieve select articles from the fields of sociology, gender studies, and media studies. She utilized both Google Scholar and the Libraries’ interlibrary loan service to retrieve the source of the theory that grounded her research.
In her own words: “My research could not have been possible without the support, guidance, and patience that the research librarians have. They have flexible times, the knowledge and techniques to help understand and find the appropriate sources and databases that can help shape the paper into more professional research. Guidance and mentorship from Research Librarians like Ed Remus shapes our understanding and confidence on how to utilize the databases appropriately to better find the correct sources."
Colleen Touhy, Undergraduate student in Psychology: The Effects of Recreational Screen Time in Conjunction with E-Learning on the Development of Children
Colleen transferred to NEIU in January 2016 to pursue a degree in Psychology and had to press pause when she had her son. She returned in January of 2020 and anticipates graduating in Spring 2022. She was accepted into McNair Scholars program this year and hopes to go to graduate school for clinical psychology. She is passionate about pursuing knowledge and helping people to heal from trauma.
Colleen researched the effects of increased screen time on children due to Covid-19. This research grew out of personal interest and concerns shared with other families and children about spending more time in front of screens while spending more time at home. Using research found through NEIU’s library databases, Colleen described sophisticated use of PsycInfo’s limiters and differentiated research results by ages. Her essay noted a lack of initial resources that was overcome through altering search strategies and utilizing the Libraries’ interlibrary loan service. Her impressive bibliography had a mix of research that spanned medicine, early child development, and therapeutic methods from The Lancet, International Journal of Early Childhood, and The American Journal of Family Therapy.
In her own words: “I am super grateful for this award and would like to thank Professor Takahashi for recommending me to submit my paper. I also would like to thank Professor Young who taught me how to do research and even helped me when I was no longer his student.”