Students win Outstanding Undergraduate Thesis awards

May 14, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State University Libraries recently announced the results of the 2015 Outstanding Undergraduate Thesis Award. Ryan Henrici, biochemistry and molecular biology, won the top award of $1,250 for his thesis "Structural and Biochemical Characterization of Chromatin Enzymes."

Jessica Myers, English, was awarded $750 for her thesis “Transcending Body: Lucretius, Whitman, and the Atoms in Between.” Brooke Durham, history and international politics, was awarded $500 for her thesis “‘What Society Refused You, Books Gave You’: Self-Identification and French Education in the Written Works of Mouloud Feraoun, Yasmina Khadra, Mariama Bâ and Ken Bugul.”

The annual competition, coordinated by Endowed/Distinguished Chairs/Librarians, includes a review of the submitted theses by a faculty jury and a public oral presentation by the students chosen as finalists. It provides an opportunity to fully appreciate the academic quality of Penn State students and the depth of their undergraduate research.

This year's panel of judges included Diane Zabel, chair and the Louis and Virginia Benzak Business Librarian; Deryck Holdsworth, professor of geography; Charles E. Jones, Tombros Librarian for Classics and Humanities; Vandana Kalia, assistant professor of immunology; Jeffrey A. Knapp, the Larry and Ellen Foster Communications Librarian and Linda Musser, Distinguished Librarian.

Barbara I. Dewey, dean of University Libraries and Scholarly Communications, explained, "The Libraries initiated this award as a way to emphasize the importance of utilizing quality research methods and employing a thorough understanding of the legal and ethical issues related to the use of information — both key components of academic excellence. Through this award, the University Libraries and the Schreyer Honors College seek to encourage excellence in the research process of locating, evaluating and utilizing appropriate scholarly resources."

For more information about the award and a list of past winners, see

Last Updated May 15, 2015