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2015 Libraries Student Research Prize Winner - Madeleine Smith

Madeleine Smith outside the EWFM Library

Madeleine Smith, a ’15 Senior from Littleton Colorado, has won the 2015 Libraries Student Research Prize for undergraduate students. Sponsored by Library and Technology Services and the Friends of the Libraries, the Prize recognizes excellence in undergraduate scholarship and the use of library and research resources. Smith’s paper was chosen from a strong pool of over thirty submissions. She will receive an award certificate and $1,000.

Smith, a double-major in Cognitive Science and Science and Environmental Writing, completed her research paper Gene Therapy in Modern Society as part of the course Health and Environmental Controversies taught by Sharon Friedman. Her paper incorporates an impressive range of resources from the Lehigh Libraries and beyond – books, journals, news sources government documents – as well as materials obtained from other libraries using PALCI and ILLiad. She conducted interviews with leaders in the field of gene therapy to learn about emerging trends and current thinking in the field.

Smith observes: “This research assignment and the class really helped me understand the full capacity of the system Lehigh has built for us. I am now writing two senior theses, one in Science and Environmental Writing and another in Cognitive Science, and I feel very comfortable navigating and accessing high-level research in my field of interest. It’s a skillset I will use for the rest of my academic career.”

Stacey Kimmel-Smith, who coordinates the Prize review, highlights the strengths of the gene therapy review paper. “The Prize review group was impressed with this writer’s ability to analyze a complex and controversial topic and present it in a style that engages a non-technical audience. The paper masterfully integrated resources from science journals, news sources, senate hearings, institute reports, personal communications, and other sources into this overview paper.”

Smith will enter Lehigh’s Health Systems Engineering program this summer as a Presidential Scholar. A varsity swimmer during her four years at Lehigh, she also participates in the Athletics Leadership Academy. She was captain of student athlete mentor program and works in the office of Student Leadership Development. She has been on the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll since 2012.