Students Win $300 Prizes in Libraries Research Contest

Submitted by Camie on

University of Georgia students Thomas Russell and Dhriti Pentela are the 2021-2022 first prize winners of the UGA Libraries Undergraduate Research Awards. The awards, which acknowledge excellence in integrating library and archival research into a class paper or project, were announced April 4 at the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities Symposium at the Classic Center. 

Announcement of winners with photos of the two studentsRussell, who took first place in the senior category, wrote an essay describing his work with librarian Nan McMurry and archivist Sheryl Vogt for research on white internationalism, specifically on the work of former U.S. Sen. Richard B. Russell involving South Africa. Russell, who is from Decatur, is majoring in history and international affairs and minoring in Portuguese. His faculty mentor was Richard B. Russell Professor of American History Claudio Saunt.

Pentela, who won in the 1st-3rd year category, wrote her essay on the extent to which mobile application technology can promote health literacy among hispanic female adolescents, with its focus being the HPV vaccine. The first-year student from Duluth, who is majoring in genetics and women’s studies with a minor in global health, was assisted by her faculty mentor Gabrielle Darville and librarian Sandra Riggs.

To enter the Libraries’ Undergraduate Research Award, students meet with a librarian or archivist for help on a class assignment. Their application includes an essay that reflects on their research process. The LURA Committee then assesses the essays for development as a researcher and depth of resources used. Both Russell and Pentela have been awarded the top prize of $300.

Showcasing a broad range of topics, the LURA Committee selected a total of eight winners for this year’s awards. The honorable mention and Juror's Choice recipients are listed below. Learn more about the winning projects at

Senior Honorable mention

Ben Barrett

Arayman Dass

1-3yr Honorable mention

Jayasri Mankan

Juror’s Choice Recipients

Mennah Abdelwahab

Cortney Stevenson

Michael Wolfman