One of my joys as coordinator for the library’s annual research awards, now in its 14th year, is seeing the papers, posters, and web projects roll in as the deadline approaches. Each new submission is a surprise and a confirmation of the diligence, intelligence, and creativity of Trinity students. More than ever before, I could not wait to dive into the process and the results of work completed during a year of uncertainty and profound distraction.

As we prepared for this year’s selection process, we expected the late semester launch along with other factors to result in a lower number of applications. It would also not have been surprising if participation dropped due to our inability to provide a cash award to this year’s recipients. I am pleased to confirm, though, that while we saw fewer submissions compared to 2019, our numbers for 2020 are still on par with previous years. To all of the students who sent in their work and completed the research narrative, and to all of the professors who encouraged students to participate, you have my gratitude.

Each year, the selection committee for the Research Thing Prizes tackles a challenging job of reading, viewing, and experiencing student papers and projects from across disciplines with the task of assigning “winners.”  I use that term loosely here.  Every submission is a win, and I can only imagine how many projects and papers are completed by our students each year that never receive an audience outside of a grader’s eyes.

Join me in recognizing this year’s prize recipients:

Kalei Lucas-Marinelli (class of 2022)
“Pandemic-Induced Mortality Salience and Jury Decision-Making”

Kalei Lucas-Marinelli’s research narrative reflected a rich process involving theory, data collection, and the complexities of research methods. “I learned so much about the importance of creating a strong theoretical framework for an investigation in the sciences, and even more about the significance (and humility) of finding my hypotheses were entirely wrong. In some ways, having contradictory data made me excited to explore the untapped potential in this particular topic, and I hope to continue learning and growing as a researcher in the psychological sciences.”

Avani Sastry (class of 2021)
“The City in the Mist: Imagining Shanghai in Yang Yongliang’s Phantom Landscapes

Completed as part of her study abroad experience, Sastry’s research narrative describes the different states of work and insight involved in completing this paper.  In particular, she notes that the most valuable resource in achieving her research and writing goals was time: “the time to read more thoroughly, think more deeply, and write more critically.”

Visit our online gallery to see these and a selection of other entries from this year’s prize process. Of note are the committee’s special citations for best poster (Benjamin Falcon, Class of 2022), the performance award (Kendal Southwell, Class of 2024), and the creativity award (Merriam Scafide, Class of 2024).

For more information on the Research Thing Prize, including frequently asked questions about the process, visit our website.