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Wyndham Robertson Library Undergraduate Research Awards: About

The Undergraduate Research Award

What: This is the annual undergraduate research award, for the recognition of exemplary student research projects completed in Hollins courses. These research projects will showcase extensive and creative usage of the library’s resources; the ability to synthesize those resources in completing the project; and growth in the student’s research skills.

Who: All current Hollins undergraduate students are eligible. Winners and finalists will be awarded in two (2) categories: a first year/sophomore category, and a junior/senior category. NOTE: Previous winners are not eligible in the category in which they won. 

When: All applications will be due at the end of February. Finalists will be announced in early April, and the winners will be recognized at a reception in late April.

Feb. 29, 2024

Application is due. Have you:

 Filled out the application form? 
 Had your professor fill out the recommendation form? 


TBA End March-Early April

Finalists will be announced.


Late April

Winners will be announced at the award ceremony and reception. 

How To Submit Your Work

Choose a research project (paper; podcast; website; etc.) that you completed for a Hollins course or independent study during the three previous semesters, and J-Terms (J-Term 2024; Fall 2023; Spring 2023; J-Term 2023; Fall 2022). You will need to have a faculty member agree to recommend you for the award. The recommendation should come from your professor for that class; if they are unavailable, an advisor is acceptable. As part of the application, you must write a 250-500 word essay explaining your project and the research you completed.

Advice for Submitting Your Application

The Application Essay

The 250-500 word essay is a critical piece of your application. Here are some suggestions:

  • Tell us about your research process.
    • Why did you approach your research in that way?
    • How did you respond to challenges?
    • Why did you make the research choices you made? 
  • How did you evaluate the sources you found while researching?
  • What have you learned about the process of research?
    • Would you do anything differently if you were doing a similar project now?
    • What tips might you share with other students?
  • Please do not just tell us that you love the library. Please do not just give us a list of databases you searched.

Tip from the judges: errors in your citations and  bibliography can put your submission at risk of being disqualified. Make sure : citations are complete and allow for full identification of sources;   All sources cited in the text of the paper are included in the bibliography (if required by the citation style you are using. Thank you!


The Bibliography

Check your bibliography and correct any errors before you upload your project. 

If your original project did not include a bibliography, you will need to also create a bibliography to accompany the project.


How we judge the submissions

We use the following rubric to assess each submission to the research awards: 

An impact beyond Hollins

Why should I apply?: Because this is an awesome opportunity to show off your great work, and get rewarded for all the time you spent researching! As if that wasn't enough, each winner will also receive:

  • $300 (finalists receive $100)
  • publication/archiving of your work on the Hollins Digital Commons
  • an excellent item to put on your resume or grad school application
  • the warm fuzzy feeling of recognition by peers and faculty
  • a worldwide audience, Hollins Digital Commons articles are downloaded everywhere

Winners and finalists of the award have put the university’s name front and center among the 485 institutions participating in the Digital Commons Network. Victoria West’s (‘15) paper on Barack Obama’s inaugural addresses has been consistently one of the most popular articles in the Speech and Rhetorical Studies Commons, with more than 32,000 downloads since 2014.  Abigail Sease’s (’16) paper on Korean painter Sin Yun-Bok has sometimes appeared in the top 10 articles in the Asian Art and Architecture Commons, downloaded more than 1,800 times since 2016. 

Junior/Senior 2014 winner Catherine Hensly's article also won the Virginia Social Science Association's Best 2014 Undergraduate Paper Award.