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Library Awards for Research Excellence

The Mount Royal Library Awards for Research Excellence recognize students producing outstanding scholarly projects such as essays/papers, film projects, poster presentations, web or technology-based projects, or creative works that demonstrate research skills and the effective use of information resources.

The awards are meant to recognize not only the final project, but also the research process and the learning accomplished through that process.

Submissions must include a reflective essay which describes the research process. Submissions must also include a bibliography and an instructor support letter. The committee will not consider submissions that are missing these components.

Award Deadline

Deadline for submissions is April 15th, 2021.

Please note that for this year's opportunity only electronic versions of research projects will be accepted (no hard copies). Please submit all application documents in electronic form via email to

Award Categories

Senior Award - $1000

For projects created in 4000-level or higher courses, independent studies, capstone or honours thesis work, this category recognizes projects which are larger in scope, represent a higher level of independence and a greater depth of research.

Junior Award - $1000

For projects created in 1000-level to 3000-level courses, this category recognizes outstanding student work at a level that is smaller in scope and depth of research.

Group Award - $1500

For projects created at any course level, this category recognizes outstanding student work completed by 2 or more students.The award will divided equally among group members.


To be eligible for the Mount Royal Library Awards for Research Excellence, you must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Submitted projects must have been completed for course credit. Work completed as a Research Assistant is not eligible, nor is work completed with a faculty member as a co-author.

  • The project must have a research component and a bibliography to qualify. Please submit the same assignment submitted to your instructor (not the graded version). The Instructor Support Form and Reflective Essay may be submitted separately by the deadline (see top of page for submission deadline).


  • You must have completed the research project between the Winter semesters of the previous and current calendar year. (Example: Between Winter 2019 and Winter 2020 semesters). Each project may only be submitted once, in one category.


  • You must be currently enrolled as a credit student at Mount Royal University or have graduated in the Fall semester of the previous year.


  • You must agree to allow Mount Royal University and the Library to use your picture, project and application materials to promote the Award and the Library.


Questions about eligibility can be sent via email to

Committee Composition:


An interdisciplinary committee comprised of five faculty members (including two Librarians) will select winners from each category for individual awards (Junior or Senior) and a Group Award.

(Mount Royal University acknowledges the assistance of Giovale Library at Westminster College in developing the award process and documents.)

Application & evaluation criteria

Your submission must include the following:

Elements Points
Reflective Essay 20
Research Project 20
Bibliography 10
Total 50


  • For the 2021 award, all materials should be submitted electronically.  Applicants should print off their completed forms, sign them, and then scan them so that the committee can ensure the required signatures are present.
  • Projects completed during any of the following semesters are eligible: Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021.
  • The award deadline is April 15, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. All required components MUST be submitted by this time. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
  • The adjudication committee reserves the right not to offer the award in any given year. In the event that submissions fall short of the standards of research excellence outlined in the rubrics, no award will be given. The decision of the committee is final.
  • Applications will be retained by the Mount Royal University Library and will generally not be returned. 


Forms and guidelines

Your Research Project

A final version of your research project including a complete bibliography with citation style appropriate to your discipline must be included with your submission. Your project should demonstrate how you used information sources to support your work. 

Eligible projects include: 

  • Essays/papers
  • Honours theses
  • Capstone projects
  • Film projects
  • Poster presentations
  • Digital stories
  • Web or technology-based projects
  • Creative works that demonstrate research skills and the effective use of information resources

Application Form

Your award application form must provide:A selection of the 2019 award winners and committee members

  • The title of your project
  • The category you are entering
  • An instructor support letter
  • Contact information so we can reach you
  • An indication that you meet the eligibility requirement

It also serves as the permission form that allows Mount Royal University and the Library to use your scholarly project and application materials to promote the Award in subsequent years and include your picture in such promotion.

Instructor Support Form

The instructor support form should link the student's work to the course and assignment objectives.

Reflective Essay

Your reflective essay provides a description and reflection upon your research process and the use of library tools and resources. It should describe the process and strategies you used to discover, evaluate, and integrate information in your work.

Your reflections should provide the committee with an insight into how your process and strategies developed, the challenges you faced, the choices you made, and what you learned about research and information along the way.

Consent Form

Invitation to Participate in a Library Research Study

As fellow researchers, we hope that you can appreciate the value of certain data. Some of the information that we ask applicants to discuss within the reflective essay could prove to be quite valuable and could potentially help improve our teaching and service programs.  We are asking that you consider submitting the following form as part of your application package. Your participation in this study is not a requirement of the application to the award. Participation is optional.  Your decision to agree to participate or not participate in the study will have no impact on your application for the award. If you would like to participate in the study, please read the attached form carefully, and include it in your package as a separate document. 

*Please note that if this is a group submission, each group member is required to sign and submit a consent form in order for your essay to be included in our study.

Preparing your submission

  • Carefully review the Award Evaluation Criteria, so you have a clear idea of what the Award committee is looking for.
  • Keep track of your research as you go along – notes or a research journal will help you remember the work you’ve done in finding and evaluating information, and therefore make it easier to write your reflective essay.
  • If you need help with research, contact at the Library Service Desk, use the blue Ask Us chat button (located at the bottom right of the website) or make an appointment with the librarian specializing in your subject area.

Whether your course project resulted in a paper, poster or multimedia presentation, a bibliography is required. The committee needs to see the information sources you used. Remember to check that your references are formatted according to the style required by your instructor/assignment.


If I am graduating this spring, can I still enter and win?

Is there a celebration for the winners?
Yes. Winners are presented with a certificate by the Library Dean at a small celebration in April or May.

Can I submit a group project?
Yes. You can submit a group project to the group award category. 

If I complete my coursework in December, am I still eligible for the award?

Can I submit my project to be considered for both categories?

If I am a 4th-year student, can I submit a project I completed for a 2000-level course?
Yes. The category is intended to reflect the scope, depth and work involved in creating the research project. If it was completed a 2000-level course, it is best entered as a Junior-level project. 

If I have collaborated with a faculty member, as a co-author or co-researcher, can I submit this work?
No. The award is intended for research projects undertaken and completed by undergraduate students only.

I submitted my project last year but did not win the award. Can I re-submit this project in this year’s competition?
No. A student may not re-submit a project submitted in a past competition.

Can I submit a project in the individual category and the group category?
Yes. Students may submit a project in both the group and individual categories in the same year.

Can I submit two projects from two different courses?
No. Multiple submissions by the same student in the same category are not permitted.

Past Winners

2020 Senior Award Winner, Vanessa BoilaVanessa Boila, Senior Award - The Mere Presence of a Cell Phone and Academic Ability

Bachelor of Arts ― Psychology (Honours) graduate Vanessa Boila took home the Senior Award for her project that set out to answer if the presence of a cellphone in the classroom, or during a learning-related task, negatively impacted academic performance. Her research targets cellphone presence (i.e., when a cellphone is visible, but not actively in use) to determine its effect on the demonstration of pre-existing comprehension, spelling, and mathematics skills. Boila was inspired to follow up on this research topic after reading a claim on Psychology Today stating that cognitive capacity may be reduced when in the presence of a cellphone.

“I was very intrigued by this claim, especially because I previously worked as a full-time teacher, so I wanted to learn more about cellphone presence,” said Boila.



2020 Group Award WinnersSara Czerwonka and Amy Rintoul - Navigating Calgary by Bike

The Group Award was presented to fourth-year information design students Amy Rintoul and Sara Czerwonka. The duo collaborated on a project named Navigating Calgary by Bike. Specifically, they focused on how to reduce barriers that prevent Calgarians from embracing cycling as a form of sustainable transportation.

“The goal of our research was to focus-in on one of the United Nations Sustainability Goals and go in-depth to understand how that goal is or is not being achieved at a local level, as well as all of the stakeholders that are involved in progress toward that goal,” Czerwonka says.

Their findings were collected through the creation of an annotated bibliography and interviewing subject matter experts. The information obtained from these processes aided in unravelling the complexity of cycling in Calgary. Their research explains that mapping out the barriers that cyclists face was the first step in being able to identify leverage points in the system. Prior to the Library Awards submission, the duo presented their research to their cohort and community members at an information design year-end capstone event called Humanly.

2018 - 2019 Winners

Julia Phillips and Jaime Bellows, 2019 Group Award WinnersJulia Phillips, Jaime Bellows, Group Award - "Perceived Accessibility in City of Calgary Recreation Facilities: A Comparison Between People With and Without Accessibility Needs"
Jaime and Julia are both Health and Physical Education students passionate about physical activity and creating a society where everyone has the opportunity to participate.The pair incorporated their interest and knowledge of disability, accessibility, and inclusion into their PHYL 5300 capstone project. They made the decision to focus on how people with and without accessibility needs perceive built environments once they realized there wasn’t research on this particular topic. Jaime and Julia contacted the City of Calgary who confirmed that they didn’t currently have this type of data and expressed interest in accessing their final results.


Tim Kenny, Senior Award -  IndigiComms: Using Decolonization, Power Studies and Indigenous Methods to Inform Post-Modern Communications Practice & Scholarship
Tim Kenny, 2019 senior award winner
Tim is a Communications Studies student who came across publications on mainstream media representations of Indigenous issues, which started him down a path of pursuing many sources on this topic and led him to a capstone project for his COMM 44851 class. Course instructor Dr. Chaseten Remillard helped him incorporate critical commentary on things he has personally experienced. Tim has said that his hope is for future Indigenous academics to refer to his work as a type of wayfinding to help navigate similar situations. The committee was particularly struck by the diverse and carefully chosen academic and contemporary research sources, from multiple fields of scholarship, that supported Tim’s argument about the power of communications that can serve to enact meaningful and reconciliatory change in Canada.


Kalindra Walls, Junior Award - Structural and functional musculoskeletal implications of patients with hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

Kalindra Walls, 2019 junior award winnerKalindra dedicated herself to learning about hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome through extensive research processes. There were moments when she was overwhelmed and discouraged but instead of giving up, she took the initiative to meet with Librarian Cari Merkley who introduced her to specific tools and research strategies. Once she decided to focus on musculoskeletal implications, Kalindra was faced with 60-70 articles with content she didn’t understand. Enter her supervisor on this project and Health and Physical Education instructor Dr. Jared R. Fletcher who helped her to to develop a better understanding of the topic. The quality and relevance of primary sources Kalindra referenced, along with her remarkable journey to come to a better understanding of this connective tissue disorder is what impressed the committee.

2017 - 2018 Winners

2017-2018 group award winners

Group Award winners (left to right) - Leah Mann, Scott Thrall, and Brittney Herrington

Brittney Herrington, Leah Mann, and Scott Thrall, Group Award - “The Effects of Changes in CO2 During a Superimposed Cold Pressor Test on Regional Brain Blood Flow Regulation”

This project emerged from a simple discussion between the three students and mutual interest of applied human physiology. Following their own preliminary research, these classmates set out to learn how perturbations in blood pressure and CO2  in the body can affect brain blood flow. Once their research direction was set with a hypothesis, critical analysis and regular consultation with their supervisor and other researchers, they could integrate their findings into a cohesive summary.They have said this experience gave them a taste of what it’s like to do “real science” and taught them the intricate steps involved with leading, crafting, researching, and presenting a research project.


Shaelynn Zouboules, Senior Award - “Acid-Base Compensation During Incremental Ascent to High Altitude”

Shaelynn Zouboules​Shaelynn visited the Mount Everest base camp in Nepal as part of a research expedition to explore the physiological effects of high altitude ascent on lowlanders. Upon her return, she realized there were few publications that investigated the renal response during a real-world trekking scenario, which led her to ask: how do the important renal responses to acid-base disruptions change during incremental ascent to high altitude?
Through excellent search techniques and the use of our interlibrary loan system, Shaelynn was able to connect with information to help her investigate her research questions. Throughout the research process she also learned the importance of identifying specific elements in a source to determine its strength.


Jewell Gapasin, Junior Award - “Archelon ischyros: The King Turtle from the Cretaceous Period”

Jewell Gapasin

When confronted with choosing a topic of interest for a paleontology research paper, Jewell took a week to ponder options then settled on an extinct animal.
Archelon—the extinct and massive sea turtle—became the subject of the paper, which focused on the reptile’s environment, adaptability, cause of extinction, and closest living relative.
With the guidance of her professor (Robin Cuthbertson) and a session with Environmental Sciences Librarian, Brian Jackson, Jewell was able to find journal articles and other supporting information, and deploy that information in support of her topic. The feat was not without challenges, but the process ultimately taught Jewell that there is no singular path to approach and disseminate research.

2016 - 2017 Winner

Photograph of 2016-17 group award winners

Tim Kruchkowski, Kevin Hayes, and Katie Foster, Group Award - "Pollution prevention: toward zero emissions"

This project involved testing samples from snowmelt piles for phosphates, nitrates, acidity levels and other contaminants with results indicating far higher levels than existing safe water standards. The solution presented by these students involves eco-friendly de-icers, improved salt management as well as the development of a constructed wetland at Mount Royal University. To help validate this research, experts and technical reports were consulted and the references include over 20 different scholarly articles and books.

This project makes use of green technology to solve an environmental problem as well as incorporating Aboriginal cultural values through an active engagement strategy. In April, the students made a presentation of this project to members of the Ashoka Changemakers. Congratulations!


Anja Meier, Senior Winner - "Does a Recession Affect Millennials' Career Expectations"

Anja set out to study the how recessions can affect the career expectations of millennials. To answer this question, Anja examined a range of resources for her literature review, including those from psychology and business scholarly journals and statistical data. Her study comprised two parts - an analysis of qualitative data from focus groups she facilitated and quantitative data from a survey she sent to students. The committee was impressed not only by Anja's thorough analysis but also by the quality of her writing and reflection on the research process. This project is an exemplary example of interdisciplinary research. Congratulations Anja!


Photograph of Kenny Reily, winner fo the Junior Award

Kenny Reily, Junior Award - "'The deportation of the Hindus from British Columbia will be a blessing to all concerned': Intersections of class and race in the British Honduras Scheme. "

Kenny's project unveils a lesser-known aspect of Canadian history. Using a combination of scholarly publications, archival records, and primary sources, Kenny eloquently described the perspectives of South Asian immigrants who faced and resisted intense discrimination in Canada's West. He also demonstrated great reflection and discussed the challenges he encountered during the research process. This work is a superb example of academic rigor and going above and beyond the assignment requirements. The committee was impressed not only by the polish of this work but also by how it inspires. It reminds us that there are so many aspects of Canadian history that require attention and recognition. Congratulations Kenny!


For questions about the awards: