Undergraduate Research Stars Rely on the USF Libraries

Looking for inspiration? Go no further than the Undergraduate Research and Arts Colloquium. Produced by the Office for Undergraduate Research, this competitive annual event showcases some of USF’s brightest and most engaged students. Of the 400 research projects on exhibit this year, a handful were singled out for special recognition. The USF Tampa Library’s own Director of Library Services, Nancy Cunningham, is so inspired by this variety of undergraduate student that she created and funds an award honoring a student who has made especially astute use of the research literature while pursuing their Colloquium project.

This year, the Best Use of Research Literature Award was given to Eduardo Garcia, an Interdisciplinary Classical Civilizations major and pre-medicine major Ahmed Mohamed.

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Best Use of Research Literature award winner Eduardo Garcia
Best Use of Research Literature award winner Eduardo Garcia
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Best Use of Research Literature award winner Ahmed Mohamed
Best Use of Research Literature award winner Ahmed Mohamed
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Garcia’s project, The Naval Aspect of Sulla’s Campaign against the Poison King and Rome (mentor: William Murray), required intensive in-person, hands-on research in search of information on the little-known naval aspect of this period. Indicative of Mr. Garcia’s stated passion for Near Eastern history, his studies required him not only to work in ancient Greek and Latin, but to pore over a seemingly endless number of tomes in the USF Tampa Library’s reference holdings and in Special Collections. Of the USF Tampa Library, he says, “I could not have done it without the library… the resources and collections here – especially Special Collections – are so undervalued. To have so much compiled into one space is vital, especially for classics and history.” Mr. Garcia plans to pursue a Ph.D. in the field at Columbia University or the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after graduation this fall.

Ahmed Mohamed’s paper, Traditions of Thought on Biomedical Ethics in Subsaharan Africa (mentors: Anatoli Ignatov, Richard Pollenz), presents a review of recent field work in Uganda, Tanzania, and Benin and contrasts those nations’ more holistic approach to health care with typical models in the US. In the course of conducting his research, Mr. Mohamed availed himself of a great number of library resources: “My research would not have happened without the library – everything that I used was literature based and not always available locally. I used Interlibrary Loan and UBorrow to get the resources I needed.” Mr. Mohamed intends to pursue a career in neurology.

USF Libraries Director of Academic Services and Donor Nancy Cunningham with Ahmed Mohamed (left), and with Eduardo Garcia (right)
USF Libraries Director of Academic Services and Donor Nancy Cunningham with Ahmed Mohamed (left), and with Eduardo Garcia (right)

“Navigating the research literature to uncover new publications, draw out trends, and unearth unique perspectives is a challenge for even the most seasoned scholars.  This year’s award winners, Eduardo Garcia and Ahmed Mohamed proved themselves to have the critical thinking skills, tenacity, and technical savvy necessary to wade through the scholarship and deliver new insights on their topics.  The faculty mentors for both young men remarked on their high level of skill and passion for research.

Eduardo and Ahmed are true inspirations to me and my librarian colleagues — not to mention their fellow students.”
-Donor and USF Libraries Director of Academic Services Nancy Cunningham

There are a variety of ways to support these research awards. For example, a gift of $25,000 can endow a research award like this in perpetuity, in your or your family’s name. Become involved in recognizing and supporting students who are making the most of their educational opportunities: contact the USF Libraries Development office here or by calling (813) 974-4433 .

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