Outstanding student researchers receive 2024 Library Research Awards

May 6, 2024
By: Guest Contributor

Four students were selected to receive Worcester State University Library Research Awards this spring in recognition of their academic excellence and dedication. The library awards committee honors students to support their research and to foster the broader growth of scholarly and creative activities on campus. 

The awards were given to students who presented at the annual Celebration of Scholarship and Creativity on April 24. Many of the students who participate in the annual event work closely with Teaching and Learning Librarian Vicki Gruzynski at the beginning or middle of their projects. Gruzynski and other library staff don’t see the results until the end of the semester at the Celebration of Scholarship and Creativity, the culmination of the  students’ hard work and learning.

“The level of research being produced by our undergraduate and graduate students deserves to be shared and celebrated,” said Gruzynski. “I’m thrilled this event can uplift the interesting and innovative work happening on our campus. It’s so rewarding to be able to see the end results at the Celebration of Scholarship and Creativity. The library is fortunate to have financial support to award our stellar students for their dedication to scholarly pursuits.”

Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Henry Theriault, who organizes the Celebration of Scholarship and Creativity, says the Library Research Awards are a great way to showcase the crucial connection between the university’s library and the student research it serves.

“Our cutting edge library and outstanding librarians provide student researchers essential support as they develop exemplary work that represents the best Worcester State has to offer,” Theriault said. “The library’s recognition of these top-achieving students adds yet another dimension to its contributions to the research culture at Worcester State.”

The winners were selected from more than 120 students who delivered oral presentations and posters. Each winner received a $500 prize. Here are this year’s awardees:

Oral Presentation Award

Jacob Elbirt, computer science major, won the Catherine T. Novick Research Award for his presentation entitled “Development of a Data Sonification Tool to Transcend Standard Visualization Analyses,” with project advisor Dr. Ali Al-Faris. The award, named in memory of Catherine T. Novick ’71 and former Worcester State library assistant, was established by the Novick family in 2021.

Poster Awards

The following three awards were endowed through the generosity of an anonymous donor. 

Collin P. Heenan

Harley Westgate, environmental science major, for the poster “Carbon Sequestration in two Massachusetts Forests: Long-Term Trends and Response to Disturbance,” with advisor Dr. Allison Dunn.

Collin P. Heenan, economics major, for the poster “Modeling Risk in Commercial Banking: The Influence of the Macroeconomy on Regional Bank Performance,” with Dr. Abir A. Bukhatwa.

Emily Laventure, graduate student in occupational therapy, for the poster “Occupational Therapy Student Support in the Least Restrictive Environment,” with project advisor Dr. Sarah DiMeo.

Top image: Harley Westgate

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