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The inaugural William O'Brien First-Year Research Prizes were presented this fall, to three students whose projects for the 2003-2004 academic year were judged to "best reflect the goals of the First-Year Seminars."

First Prize went to Kelli Holmstrom '07, of Bemidji, Minnesota, for her project "Madness, Gender and Class: Enforcing the Binaries in Lady Audley's Secret." Her advisor was Visiting Assistant Professor of English Sarah Gates.

Alison Eusden '07, of Hingham, Masschusetts, won Second Prize, for her project titled "The Role of Nurses in World War II." Eusden's advisor was Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures Joan Dargan.

"Considerations of, and Alternatives to, the Three Gorges Dam" was the title of the Third Prize-winning project, by Kelly Goonan '07, of Liverpool, New York. Associate Professor of History Anne Csete was her advisor. Goonan is participating in the University's Adirondack Semester this fall, and was not on campus to participate in the award announcements.


The William O'Brien First-Year Research Prizes were created in honor of O'Brien, a member of the Class of 2006 who was killed in an accident the summer after his first year at St. Lawrence. His family and friends created a fund in his memory, specifically to benefit the First-Year Program and students participating in the program. The research prizes and the First-Year Cup are supported by the fund.


Each spring, the faculty and administrators of the First-Year Program will select three students whose research in their First-Year Seminar best reflects the goals of the seminar. Those three students receive cash awards and present their research to the campus community upon their return to campus in the fall of their sophomore year. Students are nominated by their seminar advisors, and submissions are judged on their "creativity, originality, the quality of their written or oral presentation and, especially, their ability to meet the research goals of the First-Year Seminar," which are:

  • To assess the research requirements of a particular assignment and to meet those requirements by using library collections, electronic databases and Web-based sources.
  • To be able to choose amongst these sources to determine which are most appropriate for a particular assignment.
  • To assess and represent the complexity of a particular line of inquiry and to enter responsibly into the conversation about the issues it raises.

    Posted: October 15, 2004