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Abrescy-Kranich Student Award for Library Research Excellence Reception

Fri, April 19, 2024 6:35 PM

Faculty, library staff and students gathered for an award reception on March 22 to celebrate the accomplishments of Darián Andrade-Diaz and Ashley Ratcliff-Winn, the 2024 recipients of the Abrescy-Kranich Student Award for Library Research Excellence.

Faculty who taught these awardees attended the reception and made remarks about the exceptional work of these students, the relevance of their research, and the role of the Library in supporting their coursework.

Professor David Rouff called attention to the importance of Darián Andrade-Diaz’s essay written in a research-focused history class. In “Assimilating an Indigenous Perspective in Sequoia Kings Canyon National Parks”, Darián “developed an original argument about the legacy of Manifest Destiny … an idea itself not trapped in the past from which it emanated, but something repeated over time, … in the way that Indigenous peoples’ presence at Sequoia Kings Canyon were and were not remembered.”

Professor Rouff also noted that Darián’s work was possible due to the availability of archival materials. The collection is important “to producing innovating and original scholarship for the students, and for nerdy faculty members like me who get excited about getting to touch paper in the Library.” Darián’s work will be available in eScholarship, the Library’s institutional repository.

Nahrin Downey, Lecturer, Merritt Writing Program, taught Ashley Ratcliff-Winn in the course Writing in the Disciplines: Psychology and described her as “a privilege and a pleasure to work with.” Downey challenges her students “to choose something they care about – something that’s interesting, something they want to learn about.” In response to this, Ashley “chose something that was very impactful for her local community. She was really inspired by the people she was surrounded with at home: the migrant workers. She has such an appreciation for them.” Ashley’s award-winning essay, “Prevalence of and Risk Factors for Nervios and other Psychological Disparities in Mexican Migrant Farm Workers” is now available in eScholarship.

The student awardees expressed thanks to the Abrescy-Kranich families for making this award available. They also spoke kind and inspirational words that called attention to the university’s opportunities and the support they received from professors and librarians.

Darián highlighted the research opportunities available to undergraduates and how this research emphasis informed his decision to choose UC Merced. Students can pursue research they are passionate about and this “really does speak to the … cultivation of excellence and intelligence that happens at this university”. Ashley stated: “I know that I …. bugged you [Downey and librarians] throughout this … I just appreciate your mentorship so much.”

Both Darián and Ashley are in their final year of undergraduate studies and are pursuing graduate education. We wish you much success in your future endeavors!

We would also like to acknowledge the work of review committee members who evaluated all student applications received. We appreciate their commitment to and interest in this program.

The Abrescy-Kranich Student Award for Library Research Excellence will begin its next cycle this fall. The award offers $500 awards to recipients. Undergraduate students are encouraged to apply, beginning November 1, 2024.

Award recipients with Arlene Kranich (donor), Breland family members, and University Librarian in front of stained-glass murals

Award recipients with Arlene Kranich (donor), Breland family members, and University Librarian

L to R: Mark Breland, Arlene Kranich, Darián Andrade-Diaz, Ashley Ratcliff-Winn, Haipeng Li, Kelli Breland, Julie Breland

Arlene Kranich, Darián Andrade-Diaz and Haipeng Li (University Librarian)

Arlene Kranich, Darián Andrade-Diaz and Haipeng Li (University Librarian)

Arlene Kranich, Ashley Ratcliff-Winn

Arlene Kranich, Ashley Ratcliff-Winn