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What's Happening at the NEIU Libraries?

Celebrating the winners of the 2022 NEIU Libraries Award for Excellence in Research!

by Robin Harris on 2022-05-09T13:40:00-05:00 | Comments

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 2022 NEIU Libraries Award for Excellence in Research!


Brooke Alyssa Mullins, Graduate student, Linguistics: The Inauthentic Use of African American English on Social Media 

Brooke researched the inauthentic use of African American English by non-black individuals on social media platforms, such as TikTok and Twitter. To find peer-reviewed sources, Brooke turned to NEIU's Libraries databases, including the Black Studies Center database and Social Sciences Abstracts. She consulted with the Linguistics Librarian, to refine her search techniques and utilized interlibrary loan to obtain articles not held at NEIU. When possible, Brooke chose peer-reviewed publications, but due to the nature of her topic also used non-academic sources that had reliable background research and sound methodologies. Her bibliography included research from a variety of academic backgrounds, as well as contemporary non-academic writings.


Brooke has been a Linguistics graduate student at NEIU for one year, and hopes to graduate in the Spring of 2023 before pursuing a PhD in Linguistics. In addition to her studies, she is a tutor at LSC in Ronald Williams Library. 


In her own words: I am very grateful for this award and would like to thank Dr. Hallett for providing feedback and essential readings, as well as Linguistics subject guide Chris Straughn for helping me and countless other students understand how to find reliable sources through NEIU's library.


Cristina Zhunio, Graduate student, World Languages and Cultures: Ecuadorian Indigenous Movements and Decolonial Feminism: A Practice in Task-Based Pedagogy

 For her project, Cristina designed two ninety-minute lessons for college students in an upper-level Spanish course. The topic of these lessons was an examination of the Ecuadorian indigenous protests of the nineties through a decolonial feminist lens. Cristina selected a rich variety of primary and secondary sources from the NEIU Libraries and beyond, consciously applying search terms and selection criteria that would center decolonial discourse and Kichwa principles. In her research process, she utilized a great variety of library services and resources, including library databases, the library catalog, interlibrary loan for items not immediately available at NEIU, and a consultation with the World Languages and Cultures Librarian.


Cristina has been a student at NEIU since 2018, and expects to graduate in May 2023. She first enrolled as a student-at-large, and in 2020 enrolled in the Master’s program in Latin American Literatures and Cultures. During those years, she has worked as a graduate and research assistant in the Department of World Languages and Cultures, as well as received the RCA scholarship twice and presented at the SECOLAS conference in 2021. She  will also be presenting at the Cultural Studies Association conference this June and has a co-authored article manuscript in review.


In her own words: I am truly grateful to Dr. Sarah Bey West, who encouraged me to apply and who has been my mentor at NEIU. We have worked together on many projects, and all of them contributed to the successful completion of this particular assignment. I would also like to thank Mary Thill, who was also very helpful in getting me started with the research process. 


Alvin Sadural Gutierrez, Undergraduate student, Teacher Education, University Honors Program: The Effects of Various Classroom Seating Arrangements on English Learners’ Academic Achievement

Alvin's topic on how seating arrangements in classrooms impact student learning was informed by his interest in creating inclusive classroom experiences as a pre-service teacher, as well as his own experiences as a student. The research process integrated a nuanced approach to selecting keywords while utilizing a wide range of library services including: NEIU Libraries databases, interlibrary loan, and research consultations with the Education Librarian. Alvin's approach to source selection was exceptional, noting the importance of remaining “neutral and observant," "questioning the purpose" of sources, and utilizing high quality peer-reviewed and current publications.


As a current third-year student at NEIU, Alvin is majoring in Elementary Education in the Goodwin College of Education. He is currently serving as Co-President of Pin@y Club and is President of the Student Advisory Board of the University Honors Program. He has also been re-elected to serve another term as Treasurer in Student Government. Alvin was recently presented with the President's Inclusive Excellence and Diversity Award and has been on the Goodwin College of Education Dean's List of Recognition with a 4.0 GPA ever since his first year at NEIU in 2019. He has served as a Student Success Coach, a Student Ambassador, and an Orientation Leader. His anticipated graduation date is the Spring of 2023, and he cannot wait to become certified to teach future generations to come! 


In his own words: I would like to first thank the Library Research Award Selection Committee for selecting me as a recipient of this award. Special thanks goes to Education Librarian Michelle Oh for providing such exceptional assistance during my research, especially when I was in need of credible, most up-to-date sources. A special shout out to my faculty advisors who have continued to support not only my research, but my journey as a pre-service teacher. Thank you to Dr. Gina Wells, Professor Jeremy Babcock, and Dr. Amina Chaudhri for all of your critical feedback and input to help me craft a project that will forever be implemented in my classroom. And of course.... with utmost sincere gratitude and appreciation, I would like to thank my family for being such incredible role models throughout my lifetime. I would not be the person I am today without you all. 


Brian Ray, Undergraduate student, Psychology, University Honors Program: The Modern Meditation: The Effect of Video Games and Yoga on Mindfulness Scores

 Inspired by his positive experiences playing video games, Brian’s study hypothesized that active video game players would experience increases in mindfulness and mood equal to or greater than the increases in mindfulness and mood experienced by active yoga participants. Brian’s research process was methodical. To review the existing literature, Brian moved from Google searches to advanced searches in library databases including PsycINFO and PsycTESTS. Brian then narrowed his focus to find a handful of studies that informed the design of his experiment. Brian sought multiple consultations with the Psychology librarian throughout his research process. His sources hail from fields ranging from neuroscience, psychiatry, and behavioral psychology to exercise science and computer science.


Brian transferred to Northeastern in August of 2019 to complete his undergraduate degree in psychology. After graduating this May, he plans to begin looking into Master's and Doctorate programs in Clinical or Social Psychology with the long term goal of working in the the field of Sport and Performance Psychology. 


In his own words: With COVID lockdown leading to isolation, there was never a more appropriate time to find simple, easy entry activities to do from your home that can improve your mood and mental health. This study was designed with that in mind. The early research was challenging, but the library staff assisted with the use of the online databases such as PsycInfo and PsycTests. PsycTests specifically helped in finding peer-reviewed and validity tested psychological measures to implement into the experiment. I am extremely thankful for all of my experiences with the student body and faculty, and look forward to what is to come.


Honorable Mention:

Alethea Busch, Graduate student in Educational Inquiry and Curriculum Studies: Addressing the Achievement Gap: Teacher and Administrator Perspectives

Briana Mesick, Undergraduate student in Literacy, Leadership, and Development, University Honors Program: Exploring Creativity in HRD Interventions



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