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