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2022-2023 Library Research Awardees, Sophia Wallace-Boyd and Brian Fernandez Awarded at Public Reception

Wed, March 8, 2023 8:00 AM

2022-2023 Library Research Awardees, Sophia Wallace-Boyd and Brian Fernandez Awarded at Public Reception 

March 20, 2023
On March 10, 2023 against the beautiful backdrop of the Valley Life: Seasons of Yosemite stained glass murals, the 2022-2023 Abrescy-Kranich Library Award for Student Research Excellence award winners were celebrated at a public reception. Sophia Wallace-Boyd, a fourth-year Psychology student was presented with her award by her faculty mentor, Professor Alex Khislavsky. Additionally, Brian Fernandez a fourth-year Biological Sciences and Anthropolopgy student received his award from his faculty mentor, Professor Robin DeLugan and faculty nominator/mentor, Professor Yiran Xu. Olivia Olivares, Instruction and Outreach Librarian and Library Award coordinator kicked off the reception by introducing the history and background of the award, followed by the certificate presentation with University Librarian Haipeng Li as he congratulated the students on their successes and praised their use of library resources and research materials throughout the course of their studies. In attendance was the creator and donor of the Abrescy-Kranich Library Award - local Merced resident - Arlene Kranich, her daughter, Julie Breland, and granddaughter and Library staff member, Kelli Breland. Congratulations to Sophia Wallace-Boyd and Brian Fernandez on their well-deserved achievements!
Sophia Wallace-Boyd, Arlene Kranich, Brian Fernandez and University Librarian Haipeng Li. 

Sophia Wallace-Boyd, Kelli Breland, Julie Breland, Arlene Kranich, and Brian Fernandez. 

Professor Yiran Xu and Brian Fernandez

Professor Alex Khislavsky and Sophia Wallace-Boyd



Images: Brian Fernandez (left) and Sophia Wallace-Boyd (right). 

Awardees: Sophia Wallace-Boyd and Brian Fernandez
March 8, 2023


Since 2017, the UC Merced Library has offered an award to undergraduate students who demonstrate excellence in library research and use. This year, the Carter Joseph Abrescy and Larry Kranich Library Award for Student Research Excellence was awarded to Sophia Wallace-Boyd and Brian Fernandez.

Sophia Wallace-Boyd is a fourth-year student, studying Psychology. She began her college experience knowing that she was passionate about Psychology, but it wasn’t until she was invited to participate in a research lab on campus that she developed a passion for the process of psychological research. After being involved in research for many years, Sophia was given the opportunity to conduct her own independent research project as part of the course, “Upper Division Undergraduate Research,” under the guidance of Dr. Matthew Zawadzki. While writing the paper, “The gender differences in how relationship status relates to anxiety levels and the role of social support as a mediating variable,” she enhanced her ability to perform all steps of the research process, including finding credible sources that can be used to help create and support an idea and argument. Professor Zawadzki says of Sophia, “Sophia is among the most talented undergraduate students I have had the pleasure of working on research projects with of the nearly 100 students that have been part of the lab. She is creative in her design, has a keen intellect that she applies to her work, and has worked to make the most of the opportunities given to her. Although I am happy for Sophia to graduate, I will be sad to see her leave the lab … [she] received funding to start this project through the Undergradate Research Opportunities Center ... [and] has been selected to present this work at both the Western Psychologial Association and the Association for Psychological Science." Though the research process is not always easy, it is fulfilling, and through this experience, Sophia has learned that conducting research as a part of her career is something she wants to pursue.

Brian Fernandez is a fourth-year student from Visalia, studying Biological Sciences and Anthropology. He incorporated a simultaneously biological and anthropological approach in his research after taking the course, “Multilingualism and Identity in Transnational Contexts,” taught by Professor Yiran Xu. The interdisciplinary structure of the class prompted Brian to write: “The need for Spanish communication classes in medical education,” about the multilingualism and linguistics within medical education and patient care. As a result of writing this paper, Brian began to study multilingual UC Merced students and their writing education while building upon research skills. Of his research acumen, Professor Xu says: “Brian Fernandez is an exceptional student whose academic abilities and dedication have stood out during his time at UC Merced … [He] showed exceptional research ability and a remarkable capacity for synthesizing diverse perspectives and presenting nuanced arguments. Brian is deeply committed to promoting a translingual approach to medical education in the Central Valley. His passion and advocacy in this area are truly inspiring, and I have no doubt that he will continue to make meaningful contributions to our community.”

Brian is looking forward to furthering research multilingualism and linguistics in graduate school with a focus on patient care and medical education in the central valley. Brian is extremely grateful for the opportunities, guidance, and inspiration he has received from all his professors at UC Merced and looks forward to new projects and research.

A public reception to honor the achievements of Sophia Wallace-Boyd and Brian Fernandez will take place on Friday, March 10th at 1:00pm on the third floor of the Library near the Yosemite stained glass murals. All are welcome to attend.