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With the Dean's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Scholarship, UK Libraries awards two $1,000 prizes to undergraduates whose research projects make substantive and creative use of UK Libraries’ collections, services, and resources. We celebrate exceptional and original scholarship in two categories: traditional papers and digital methodologies. 

View a list of recipients or past winning submissions to see where UK Libraries resources can take your scholarship, and learn more about recent winners below.

2023 Traditional Paper

Seth Garcia

Seth Garcia, a senior History, Anthropology, and Secondary Social Studies Education major, was recognized for his paper, “A Peculiar Institution: White Supremacy and the Black Guides of Mammoth Cave.” Garcia's project analyzed mid- to late-19th century diaries, guidebooks, and travelers’ accounts to critically examine the white perspective of enslaved and emancipated Black guides at one of the United States’ earliest major tourist attractions. Working under the mentorship of Dr. Kathryn Newfont, Associate Professor of History, Garcia found that in spite of being empowered by their environmental expertise, the guides’ occupation became part of a racialized performance put on for white visitors as their lives remained controlled by white supremacy. 

2023 Media Project

Anna Watrous

Anna Watrous, a senior Music Education and Arts Administration double major, was recognized for her project, “An Exploration and Performance of Underrepresented Composers for Cello.” Watrous researched the lives and work of composers typically marginalized within western classical music and performed several of their pieces in her senior recital in November, 2022. Highlighting the work of Joseph Bologne Chevalier de Saint-Georges, José L. Elizondo, Bernadette Farrell, and Dame Ethel Smyth, the hour-long recital included solo cello music, chamber music, and a song on the violin. Professor Benjamin Karp mentored Watrous throughout the research process and during her preparation for the performance.