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Dr. Joseph J. Bulmer Award for Excellence in Library Research: Home

The award-winner receives a monetary award, is recognized at Student Honors Convocation, in the commencement program and on a perpetual plaque in the Dwight Marvin Library Learning Commons.

Past Recipients

2014 award recipient Katie Burns

Katie Burns, 2014 Recipient

Thomas Michael Smith, 2017 Recipient

Our 2019 - 2020 winner is Yang Liu for her paper, "The Declining Fertility in China", written under the direction of Instructor Joshua Kohan for English Composition for Foreign Born. 

Congratulations Sabine Huebner for her research paper, "Effects of Misunderstood Plastic Wonder for the Oceans and the World!", written under the direction of Instructor Joshua Kohan for English Composition for Foreign Born.  Sabine is the 2018-19 recipient.

2018-19 Honorable Mention is awarded to Meredith Grace Youngmann for her paper, "Bronte the Babe" written in fulfillment of the requirements of English Composition for Associate Professor Basia Reynolds.

Our 2017-18 recipient is Averi Panichi for her paper, "Substitutions for Animal Research: Aiding the 3Rs and Benefitting All" submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for English Composition I by Assistant Professor Anthony L. Podlaski.

The 2016-17 honor goes to Thomas Michael Smith for his paper, "Few New Antibiotics: Even in the Face of Antibiotic Resistance" submitted in fulfillment of requirements for English Composition, under the direction of Assistant Professor Sara Tedesco.

The recipient of the 2015-16 Dr. Joseph J. Bulmer Award for Excellence in Library Research is Sydney Phillips for her research paper "Juror Exclusion" submitted by Dr. Ann Geisendorfer in fulfillment of the requirements for Criminal Justice Capstone Seminar.

Two papers merit Honorable Mention: Jennifer Edwards for "The Amazing World of Play" submitted by Eileen Mahoney in fulfillment of the requirements for Techniques of Teaching Through Play, and Rebecca Inglis for "Automation: The Debate of Innovation" submitted by Anne Dearing in fulfillment of the requirements for English Composition II.

Matt Sterlina was selected as the 2014-2015 recipient of the Dr. Joseph J. Bulmer Award for Excellence in Library Research for his outstanding paper on scientist Lord William Thomson Kelvin in fulfillment of the requirements for Chemistry I during fall 2014 semester. Matt was nominated by Dr. Danica Nowosielski.

The recipients of the 2013-2014 Dr. Joseph J. Bulmer for Excellence in Library Research were Katie M. Burns for her English Composition II paper "Postsecondary Correctional Education: Reducing Recidivism Through Educational Empowerment" submitted by Associate Professor Anne Dearing; and Melissa Stark for her English Composition I paper, "What Causes Led to the Uprising in Syria?" submitted by Associate Professor Sushmita Chatterji.

The recipient of the 2012-2013 Dr. Joseph J. Bulmer for Excellence in Library Research was Erin Sawyer for her paper "Stuck in the Middle: Middle Class Voting Behavior and its Determining Factors" submitted by Associate Professor Sushmita Chatterji of the English, Modern Languages and English as a Second Language Department.

The recipient of the 2011-2012 Dr. Joseph J. Bulmer for Excellence in Library Research was Seth Robinson for his paper, "Jacques Alexandre Cesar Charles." He was nominated by Assistant Professor Danica Nowosielski of the Biology, Chemistry and Physics Department.

The 2010-2011 recipient of the Dr. Joseph J. Bulmer for Excellence in Library Research was Max Popiel.

The 2009-2010 recipient of the  Dr. Joseph J. Bulmer for Excellence in Library Research was Julene Eayrs.

Award Selection Criteria

A winning paper will meet all of the following criteria:

  • Grade of A
  • Extensive bibliography with minimum of five sources
    • Papers having less than five sources are not eligible. More quality sources are preferred.
  • Evidence of initiative, persistence, and ingenuity in identifying sources
    • Papers with a variety of sources are ranked more highly.  For example, a paper including books, academic journals, newspapers and credible websites will rank more highly than a paper using mainly websites. 
  • Evidence of critical thinking in evaluating sources for credibility and appropriateness
    • Depending on the assignment and subject matter, seminal works, core journals and critical sources are preferred.  For example, if you are writing a research paper on the legacy of Adolf Hitler, including his autobiography Mein Kampf, a newspaper article written during his lifetime (we have the historical New York Times !), or an interview with a Holocaust survivor/descendant demonstrates great critical thinking (and initiative).
  • Correct citation format
    • NOTE: MLA citations are expected to reflect changes instituted in April 2016 (MLA 8 format).
  • Authentic academic work, i.e., free of plagiarism (papers may be reviewed using or similar software)

Tools: Get in the Running!

“Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand.” - Chinese Proverb

Recommended steps for any research paper:

(1) Don't put it off.  Think like Nike, "Just do it!"

(2) Pick a topic you are passionate about, or at least really interested in!  The library has great databases that can be used to help students identify and focus their topics.  You are going to be spending some time with this topic so pick something you want to learn about - something that perhaps defines you.  If you aren't given leeway on your topic, take pride in your work nonetheless.

(3) ASK FOR HELP. You can do any or all of the following:

(4) For help with reading comprehension, check the LAC Workshops on 8 steps for Writing a Research Paper and Journal Article Reading.  Talk to your instructor if you are struggling.  Every step of the way in the research process there is someone to help.

(5) Once you've selected and read your sources, get writing help.  

(6) Make sure your citation format is correct.  Use the library's Cite Your Sources guide or work with a faculty member in the Writing and Research Center to be 100% sure of your format. The Writing and Research Center also provides sample term paper formats and handouts.

Subject Guide

Perpetual Plaque in Marvin Library Learning Commons

Bulmer Award plaque

Dr. Joseph J. Bulmer


Dr. Joseph J. Bulmer, President, 1979-1996

Dr. Joseph J. Bulmer • 1929 - 2006
President, 1979-1996

True Story! Tales from a Librarian...

"I was working in the library one Friday afternoon, and a student frantically approached me saying his research paper was due the following Monday and he was not ready to write it; in fact he hadn't even really begun his research.  He did say he had been walking around the library for two weeks but had not asked for help. He was frustrated, stressed, and doing damage control.

The following week, a different student came up to me, very excited, and said he had met individually with a librarian for research help, had gotten an "A" on the research paper, had won an award for this paper, and was working as a peer tutor

Which student do you want to be?

If you aren't sure about how to proceed with your paper, make an appointment with a librarian.  You will walk away with resources,  direction, and confidence."