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Armacost Library Undergraduate Research Award: ALURA

Two Awards


  • Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
  • STEM

Recognizing significant differences in research practices, we provide two award opportunities for undergraduate researchers. Humanities and Social Science scholars value drawing on both a breadth and depth in evidence (books, government documents, scholarly articles, films, news sources, etc.). Science scholars value depth in secondary sources (research/scholarly journal literature) and primary research.  We want to honor both practices equally.

Important Dates

Submissions due: TBD

Winners notified: TBD

Award Ceremony: TBD

Honors Convocation: TBD

Winners' research projects due in final form: TBD

2020 ALURA Recipients

Congratulations to the 2021 ALURA recipients!

Arts, Humanities, & Social Science: Skye Cote for “'If You're Not at the Table, You're on the Menu': Conflict Between Community Logistics in the Transition to Inclusive Economic Policy in the Inland Empire.”

STEM:  Madison Dunlap for “Adding Scent: Exploring Improvements in Pan Trapping to Monitor Pollinators.”

STEM Honorable Mention: Caleb Henderson for "Elucidation of the Genetic Basis for Galacturonic Acid Catabolism in S. meliloti." 

Checklist for Submission of Application Materials

  1. Research Reflection Essay OR Responses to STEM Reflection Questions
  2. The Research Product
  3. Bibliography or other appropriate listing of sources consulted
  4. Letter of Support from Faculty Advisor/Course Professor
  5. Submit all of the above directly to Shana Higgins:

How do I apply?

Submit Research Reflection Essay OR STEM Reflection Questions, Faculty Statement of Support, and your research project for consideration for the award.

Use the Submit Research in the left-hand column of the ALURA on InSPIRe collection webpage to submit your work for review.

Additional instructions on submitting your ALURA projects via InSPIRe is available here. 

2021 Selection Committees

Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences
Chair: Janelle Julagay, Library
Annie Downey, Library
Jill Jensen, Business
Katheryn Tucker, Sieter Director of Writing

Chair: Tiffany Chai, Library
Ben Aronson, Biology
Eric Hill, Physics
Hillary Jenkins, Environmental Studies
Paige Mann, Library

The Armacost Undergraduate Research Award (ALURA)

The proliferation of electronic information has made undergraduate research a much more complex process than in the past. This award was established to reward those students who demonstrate thoughtfulness and creativity in their approach to research and whose work exhibits excellence in critical thinking. We seek submissions from undergraduate students across the curriculum whose research journeys have resulted in a research-based project (paper, poster, exhibition, performance, or other non-traditional research project).

Each ALURA awardee will receive recognition and $500.00 (although, in rare occasions, an award has been split between two scholars).

What do we mean by "research"?  For this award we define research as an investigation into the existing scholarship and/or creative production in a particular subject area or in relation to specific research questions.  If the primary focus of your project is lab experiments or data gathering and analysis, your Research Reflection Essay should discuss the current state of scholarship related to your research and how that work helped shape your hypothesis, methodology, etc. 

Who is eligible?

Currently enrolled University of Redlands undergraduate students may submit completed research (or made significant progress toward completing) that

  • was completed (or made significant progress toward completing) while an enrolled student at the University of Redlands.
  • was completed (or made significant progress toward completing) during the application period: January 2021 - March 2022. 

How will you evaluate my research?


The ALURA Committee is looking for evidence of the following in both the research project and Research Reflection Essay:

  • Demonstrate that you know how to form a strategy to identify, locate, select, evaluate and synthesize information in order to form a creative and original research project.
  • Provide a clear explanation of significance of research.
  • Exhibit clarity in organization and presentation of project.
  • Demonstrate that you are able to effectively utilize a wide variety of tools to find and use information (especially library staff, services and resources).
  • Demonstrate responsible use of information by providing appropriate and accurate citations using a citation manual, e.g. APA, MLA, Chicago or Turabian.
  • Show evidence of significant and meaningful growth in the methods of research and inquiry.

Carefully review the ALURA Rubric so that you know how the selection committee will be evaluating your research project and Research Reflection Essay.

*In the event the Selection Committee determines that no research project meets the criteria outlined above, there will be no award given for that year.

Writing the Research Reflection Essay or Responding to the STEM Reflection Questions

The Research Reflection Essay or responses to the STEM Reflection Questions is the most important part of your application.  Please note that due to the nature of this award, this portion of your submission is heavily weighted, and therefore we encourage you to provide us with a thoughtful and thorough reflection of your research experience.

The research process will vary by discipline, and not every student will interact with library staff, services, and collections in the same way. While the traditional text-based academic genre of the research paper may have more obvious library connections, we encourage students engaged in other kinds of research to think carefully and creatively about how you have searched for, evaluated, and synthesized various information sources throughout your overall research journey. Your lab or field research is likely grounded in a comprehensive literature review, how did gathering and processing that information reinforce or change your research methods in the lab or field? Your research may have culminated in a performance or exhibit, likely informed by background investigation and inquiry; if so, how is that reflected in the final product?

Carefully review the ALURA Evaluation Rubric so that you know what the selection committee will be looking for in your Reflection Essay.

Meet with your subject librarian to discuss how to write an effective, award-winning Reflection Essay.

Information for Faculty

Each student application must include a Faculty Statement of Support as part of the application package. Your expert disciplinary assessment is an important consideration in the evaluation process. In your letter of support please specifically comment upon quality (including merit within the discipline and student ability); student engagement with library staff, services, and collections; and their collaboration with faculty, peers, and/or community experts in developing and completing the project.

We also ask that you commit to attending the Award Ceremony in April. At that ceremony student winners and their faculty sponsors speak about the research project and their experience of the research process.

Your letter should include:

  • Your name    
  • Department
  • Contact information: email and phone
  • Title of research paper/project
  • Name of student
  • Course alpha (if applicable)
  • Paper/Project was completed Spring, May or Fall of 2020, or Spring 2021?                                                           

The paper/project and Research Reflection Essay will be judged according to the evaluation criteria outlined on the ALURA Evaluation Rubric.

Please comment:

  • on the content and quality of the research paper or project, addressing both its merit within the discipline and how it reflects the student’s ability to select, evaluate, and synthesize sources;
  • on the extent to which you think the student's engagement with library staff, services, and collections contributed to an exceptional research paper/project;
  • and on the ways their collaboration with faculty, peers, and/or community experts contributed to the project.