Inaugural Libraries research award winner reflects

In 2016, the Miami University Libraries introduced the Libraries Award for Undergraduate Research Excellence (LAURE), recognizing students who make the most of libraries’ resources in their research.

The winner of the $1,000 prize was Mahaley Evans ’16, a history major who has since gone onto graduate school at Indiana University. She discussed her experience as a LAURE winner.

Talk about your topic and your research experience:
My historical interests have always been driven by my passion for feminism and women’s history. I am also interested in communism and the Cold War, so pairing those two interests resulted in my project titled “The Discourse of Women’s Experiences under Communism.” What I found most surprising was how collaborative and interdisciplinary historical research can be. I even got to correspond with one of the foremost scholars in the field over email.

What did it mean to be a LAURE winner?
Like many Miami students, I spent hours between King, B.E.S.T., and the Art and Architecture Library. I certainly became familiar with the resources our libraries offer, but I never expected to be honored for using them … It meant even more because of my plans to pursue a master’s in library science after graduation. The award solidified that I was on the right path and encouraged me to keep going.

What did you learn about the Miami Libraries during your project?
I came to appreciate just how easily I could access the journals and books I needed – almost all of them accessible through Miami’s online journal subscriptions … When seeking primary sources, I looked to Special Collections. This tangible, in-person research expanded my project and made the process more enjoyable. Online materials are invaluable, but flipping through a 1991 issue of Ms. magazine and handling a 100-year old poster were extremely humbling experiences.

Talk about your future plans: 
I am in my second semester at Indiana University-Bloomington, pursuing a dual master’s degree in history and library science. I am specializing in East European History and archives and records management. I plan to elaborate on my undergraduate thesis and learn more about the interaction between history and archives, hoping to take part in preserving and making history accessible to the public.