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The Mary Baldwin Awards

for Excellence in Library-Based Research

These awards encourage the early pursuit of scholarly research and recognize highly accomplished writing that makes use of library-based resources and services, particularly those provided through Grafton Library, including print and online sources.  Prizes are awarded for research-based papers written by students in the first-year, sophomore, and junior classes.  Students in all programs (RCW and ADP) are eligible. 

Funding for the awards is provided by the Martha Stackhouse Grafton Library, the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Office of Sponsored Programs and Undergraduate Research, and Phi Beta Kappa.

Awards: Three $100 awards. One for a paper written by a student in each of the three classes (freshman, sophomore and junior)
Deadline: Extended to February 28, 2014!! for nomination of papers originally submitted between January 1 and December 31, 2013. Awards are announced annually at Honors Convocation in March. See “Submission Procedures” for additional information.

Eligibility Guidelines:

  • The paper must have been written to meet the requirements of a course in any academic department or for an independent study for credit at Mary Baldwin College during the calendar year preceding the announcement of the award (January 1 – December 31, 2013 for awards announced in spring 2014).
  • The paper must take the form of a research paper, analytical essay, or creative analysis.  Edited, annotated versions of one or more documents that include a substantial narrative introduction are also eligible. There is no minimum or maximum length for papers. All papers must be typed and double-spaced with standard margins.
  • Class status is determined by “social” year for RCW students and credit hour status for ADP students.  The writer must be a currently enrolled undergraduate student in an MBC program (RCW or ADP) during the spring semester the prize is awarded.  Any one student may receive just one award per year.
  • The paper must employ substantial library-based sources, particularly those belonging to or found using Grafton Library resources.  Appropriate resources include, but are not limited to, print materials, sources from online databases, web resources, materials obtained through interlibrary loan, primary sources from special collections and the MBC archives, and materials in other media.
  • Applicants must agree to give the Library permission to exhibit winning papers in the Library and/or on the Library’s website.  Winning papers will become part of the College Archives.

Submission Procedures:

Required Elements

  • An application form completed by the student, including a 200-400 word description of the research strategy [PDF or MSWord; Tips for description]
  • A supporting statement from the faculty member who supervised the course or independent study. [PDF or MSWord]
  • A copy of the final version of the research paper, including a complete bibliography in a standard citation format (e.g. APA, MLA, Turabian)

Submission Deadline 

Applications may be submitted at any time during the eligible year, but completed applications, including all required elements, must be received by February 14th of the award year.  Incomplete applications will not be accepted and late applications will not be considered.  Applications will not be returned; please submit copies.

E-mail or deliver materials to: Carol Creager, Director
  Martha S. Grafton Library

Review Committee:

Papers will be reviewed by the Committee on Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity.  Current members of the committee are listed on the web pages of The Office of Sponsored Programs and Undergraduate Research

The reviewers will look for

  • breadth and appropriate use of research sources and methods;
  • sophisticated development of a thesis and supporting argument;
  • correct citation of a bibliography according to an accepted form of documentation (APA, MLA, etc);
  • an engaging, discipline-appropriate writing style using standard grammar and punctuation.

Past Award Winners:

2013 Katharine Broomfield, '15 "Pacifism in War: The Nonviolent Protest of the White Rose Resistance."
Nominated by Dr. Roderic Owen, Philosophy
2012 Ashley Edmiston, '14 "Remaking Rome: Pope Nicholas V's Building Project, 1447-1455."
Nominated by Dr. Sara James, Art History
2011 Meredith Miller, '13 "The Power of Incumbency in Virginia's 10th Congressional District."
Nominated by Dr. Laura van Assendelft, Political Science
2009/10 Nusayba Hammad, '13 "Illegal Immigration."
Nominated by Dr. Katherine Turner, English
2008 Olivia Burn, ’10 “Painting One’s Own Future: Albrecht Dürer’s Self-Portraiture.” 
Nominated by Dr. Sara James, Art History
2007 Abigail Turner, ’09 “An Obstinate Heretic: The Eventful History of Anne Askew.”
Nominated by Dr. Mary Hill Cole, History.
2006 Erika Mikhailova, ‘08 “Heavenly Mother Mary, Maiden of the Moon.” 
Nominated by Dr. Sara James, Art History.
2005 Lael Adams, ‘08 “The Unmitigated Disaster: The Evolution of Gender Issues
in Rock Music from the 1970s to the Present.” 
Nominated by Dr. Alice Araujo, Communication.