2014 Libraries Student Research Prize winners reflect on their research

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John Behre and Carolyn Sivco

Library and Technology Services and the Friends of the Libraries offer warm congratulations to the Libraries Student Research Prize winners John Behre and Carolyn Sivco.

John Behre ‘15, a History major from Sea Girt, New Jersey, wrote his paper The Central Park Zoo: Its Development and Connection to Greater New York City for Dr. Roger Simon’s History of New York City course, History 202. John’s paper chronicles the development of the Central Park Zoo in the context of New York City’s social, economic, and cultural life. John made exceptional use of primary sources, including the Libraries’ online retrospective New York Times database, records of the New York City Parks Department, and the papers of the Park’s co-creator, Frederick Law Olmstead.

John credits Humanities Librarian Heather Simoneau with helping him identify key resources for his paper. "Bringing in Ms. Simoneau to our class was the most helpful thing Dr. Simon could have done," says John. "She helped me find the New York City park reports, which really enhanced my paper." Dr. Simon, who praised the paper’s excellent use of primary sources, noted that he was unaware that the city park papers were available online.

In picking a topic, John looked back on his experiences in the city as a child. "I had been to the Bronx and Central Park Zoo as a child, and the zoo came immediately to mind. I like that visiting the zoo instantly takes you out of the surrounding city. It provides you with peace and a source of entertainment at the same time."

Carolyn Sivco ‘15, a Biochemistry major from Warren, New Jersey, wrote her paper Emerging Treatments for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma & the Next Generation of Patients for a Health, Medicine, and Society course during her Study Abroad experience in Switzerland last fall. In her paper, she examined Hodgkin’s lymphoma treatments, summarizing the past, present and future treatments as well as potential long-term risks that patients may face as a result of treatment, particularly in young populations.

While in Geneva, Carolyn’s study abroad experience presented a challenge in that she was not in a university setting -- there was no "home library." She used the Lehigh library collections remotely via the Lehigh virtual private network. She also used the UN Library.

Carolyn considered numerous cancer topics, but after talking to a family member who had a personal experience with lymphoma she decided to focus her topic there. In her acknowledgements, she thanks her brother for inspiring her research topic.

Carolyn plans to apply to medical school following graduation and she hopes to pursue a career in oncology. While at Lehigh, she works at the Women’s Center and volunteers at St. Lukes Hospital. She is Vice President of Service in the Catholic Student Union and a member of Alpha Gamma Delta.

Both Sivco and Behre will receive a $500 check and a certificate of recognition at the 2014 Symposium on Teaching and Learning at Lehigh on April 10. The papers will become part of the Lehigh Libraries digital archive.

The Libraries Student Research Prize selection process is rigorous, and the review itself takes place in several phases. Librarians conduct the first review, focusing on the use of sources and bibliography. Based on the quality of the research underlying the argument, five to ten papers are identified for consideration. Student applicants are now interviewed, and faculty references are contacted. Finalists are selected at this point, and sent to a faculty review group. Faculty review the papers for originality, quality of writing, and other factors outlined in the Library Prize criteria. They make the final selection for the Prize recipients.

The Prize is sponsored by Library and Technology Services and Friends of the Libraries.