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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

Library Day award winners

Pictured left to right are Dr. Brian Hesse, associate professor of history, humanities,
philosophy and political science; Yvette Odu; Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski;
Stephanie Keen and Dr. Rebecca Dunnell, associate professor of music. Odu and Keen
were recognized Tuesday as the winners of Northwest's annual essay and research
contests. Hesse and Dunnell are their respective advisers. (PHOTO BY TAYLOR ALLAN/

April 10, 2010

Students recognized for research, essay papers during Library Day ceremony

MARYVILLE, Mo.- The research and essay papers of four students were honored Tuesday during a ceremony to mark the University's annual Library Day festivities.

The annual Library Day activities help promote cultural thinking among undergraduate students and encourage usage of library resources. Library Day is funded by the library's Brick and Click seminar for academic librarians, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary this fall.

Among 14 entries into the research contest, Stephanie Keen, a senior vocal music education major from Oak Grove, Mo., was awarded first place for her paper, "Handel's Divas: Their Influence and Impact on the Opera World."

In her paper, Keen described the development of Handel's opera music as a direct response to the divas for which he composed. Keen explained the society of the Royal Academy in which the operatic diva held center stage, and how the divas' talents and personalities, and the social climate of the times, influenced the structure, musical style and pattern of Handel's operas.

"She really did her homework on who these divas were and what they were like personally," said Connie Ury, an assistant professor at Owens Library who helped judge the entries.

Greg Miller's (senior journalism major from Cosby, Mo.) policy briefing, titled "Terrorists or Philanthropists: The Positives and Negatives of Hezbollah and Hamas," was awarded second place. Kara Bergsten's (senior vocal music education major from Morganville, Kan.) paper "Exploring 'Symphony No. 4 in A Major, Op. 90,' the Italian Symphony, by Felix Mendelssohn," was awarded third place.

The research contest was open to undergraduate students, who were encouraged to submit papers written for credit during the 2009 spring, summer or fall trimesters. Papers were judged on a point system and a range of criteria that required at least 75 percent of cited sources came from library databases or the Owens Library in-house collection. Judges noted the top entries were separated by mere points.

"We were looking for the synthesis of a number of resources," Ury said. "The goal is to get students to use library resources and not a lot of web sites."

For the essay contest, Yvette Odu, a student at Northwest's Missouri Academy, took the top prize for "Moving Mountains: How Dr. Paul Farmer's Model Can Help Change the World." Odu, of Kansas City, Mo., plans to attend Yale University next year.

Odu contrasted the success of Paul Farmer's initiatives in Haiti with the more common worldview of success, which usually involves wealth. She chronicled Farmer's efforts on behalf of the Haitians to improve their access to medical care, acquire improvements for their homes, and establish schools for their children. Her final rumination warned against admiring Paul Farmer as an individual hero. Rather, she suggested the model provided by his actions is that a "few simple steps on the parts of many" accomplish much through "knowledge, action and determination."

Any Northwest undergraduate student could participate in the essay contest by reading Tracy Kidder's 2003 book, "Mountains Beyond Mountains" about poverty and the availability of medical care in Haiti.

The judging panel consisted of Dr. Joel Benson, professor of history, humanities, philosophy and political science; Dr. Jenny Rytting, assistant professor of English; Connie Ury, assistant professor at Owens Library; and Carolyn Johnson, assistant professor at Owens Library. 

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468