USC Libraries Research Award Winners Announced and Honored

USC Libraries Research Award

USC Libraries Research Award winners (left to right): Ryan Kazemaini, Darshana Mini, Annie Ly, Nikhil Vettikattu, and Griffin Hale Williams (photo by Anne-Marie Maxwell)

At a reception on April 22, 2019, the USC Libraries honored the most exceptional student research completed at USC in a for-credit class or through independent study during the previous calendar year. Submitters may use either primary source materials held by the university’s Special Collections or the reference and research resources of the USC Libraries.

First prize in the graduate category went to Darshana Mini, a PhD student in cinematic arts, for her paper “To Tame a Savage Land: Photographs, Documentaries, and Travelogues as Colonial Texts in the New Hebrides (1860s-1920s).” Darshana is a repeat winner; she also won a graduate award in 2017.

Tying for first prize in the undergraduate category were Nikhil Vettikattu, a junior majoring in human biology and Jewish studies, and Griffin Hale Williams, a senior majoring in history. Nikhil's paper, “Collaboration or Resistance? Prisoner Physicians in Concentration Camps,” was written for Professor Wolf Gruner's History 444 course, Mass Violence and Comparative Genocide in Modern World History. Gruner also advised on Ryan's senior thesis, “Marching to What End? The Death Marches and the Final Solution.”

Tying for second prize in the undergraduate category were Annie Ly, a sophomore health and human sciences major, and Ryan Kazemaini, a senior history major. Annie's paper,
“Witchcraft as a Vehicle of Resolution during the Jacobean Era,” was written for Professor Thea Tomaini's English  422 course, The English Witch. Ryan's paper, “Weapon of Coercion: How North Carolina Eugenicists Utilized Propaganda to Enforce Sterilization,” was written for Wolf Gruner's History 444 course, Mass Violence and Comparative Genocide in Modern World History.

The USC Libraries Research Awards, which began as a Dean's Challenge Grant, are now generously supported by Adam Matthew Digital and Johnson Rare Books & Archives.

Two juries divided the work of scoring the forty submissions. Members of the juries included USC Libraries faculty and staff Curtis Fletcher, Elizabeth Galoozis, Katherine Kapsidelis, Tang Li, Andy Rutkowski, Loni Shibuyama, Michaela Ullmann, and Kelsey Vukic; Professor Jennifer Sopchockchai Bankard in the Writing Program; Professor Andrea Parra in the Dornsife College’s Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures; and last year's student winners Anna Lipscomb, Emily Rauber Rodriguez, and Michael Turcios.

To learn more about the USC Libraries Research Awards, visit