Meet six U of T undergraduates who have been recognized for their groundbreaking research

Six University of Toronto undergraduate students are being recognized for their innovative research, including their use of library services, on topics ranging from music, poetry and film to neuroscience and architecture.

Students – Eric Yang, Rion Levy, Sapolnach Prompiengchai, Connor Norquay, Nicollo Abe and Tessa Di Vizio – are all recipients of an undergraduate research award given by the U of T Libraries to students who make effective and innovative use of information sources.

Larry AlfordLibrarian at the University of Toronto, says he is “deeply impressed” by the level of research undertaken by this year’s winners at the undergraduate level.

“This award empowers University of Toronto students to reinvent their undergraduate education through research experiences while bringing attention to the libraries and our world-class collections,” he said. . “I am grateful to the faculty at all three campuses who are working to strengthen information literacy in our community. »

The Patricia and Peter Shannon Wilson Undergraduate Research Award provides students with an opportunity to reflect on their information-seeking experience while showcasing their research skills beyond the classroom – while promoting the undergraduate excellence. This is made possible by an endowment from Patricia Wilson and Peter Wilson that supports U of T Libraries in promoting excellence in undergraduate research.

In recognition of their achievement, each winner – chosen by a jury of six judges – will receive $1,000 and their essays and thought pieces will also be shared on TSpace, the U of T’s research repository, highlighting the extraordinary undergraduate work that takes place at the university.

Here’s a look at the six U of T undergraduates who have been recognized for their research skills — and a look at what they’ve learned about information seeking and research along the way.


Eric Yang

First year student at the Faculty of Music

Project: “Three Nixon Arias in China (1987)”

Sponsoring Faculty Member: Associate Professor Marc Salmen

“While researching for this project, I was surprised at the amount of information you could find through the music library alone, especially for an obscure work like this project. My biggest lesson from this experience is to ask for help. Using the library should be more about talking to librarians than blindly searching for resources yourself. Trying to do research for this project without the support of my mentors would have been impossible for me.

Rion Levy

Rion LevySecond-year Victoria College student studying Literature and Critical Theory in the Faculty of Arts and Science

Project: “Peter Orlovsky: the rhythmic surrealist poet”

Sponsoring Faculty Member: Professor Albert F. Moritz

“This was the largest research project I had undertaken to date and I realized how scattered the information is still. I was able to locate a few boxes of related archives in the United States but, due to the pandemic, I have not been able to access them as they have not been digitized. As the pandemic subsided towards the fall of 2021, I realized the value of access to physical texts and digital libraries to develop the most holistic understanding of the issue under consideration.

Sapolnach Prompiengchai

Second-year neuroscience student at U of T Scarborough

Project: “Combining music listening and positive reminiscence reduces the acute stress response in healthy populations”

Sponsoring Faculty Member: Associate Professor George S. Cris

“OThe main takeaway I learned was that generating a good research question can involve using resources beyond traditional databases like ProQuest/PubMed, etc. In this case, I formulated an impactful and actionable research question using psychotherapy videos and bibliographies via databases like APA PsycTherapy and Psychology – Oxford Bibliographies. Although it took some time to slowly sift through tons of databases and resources, I would confidently say that the time spent was invaluable.

Connor Norquay

Third-year Victoria College film student in the Faculty of Arts and Science

Project: “An Unrealized History of Sound Film: Charles K. Cregier and the Talking Motion Picture Machine.

Sponsoring Faculty Member: Professor Charlie Keil

The most important conclusion is the need to digitize our historical documents and make them accessible to the public. Much of my investigation relied on older documents that have been (or have not been) preserved; I repeatedly ran into the roadblock of non-digitized and non-accessible documents that made important details of the story disappear. The prized technology at the heart of my project allegedly exists in the National Archives, but without an accessible digital record, its location and movement have been lost to time. This project has explained how vital archival preservation and digitization efforts are to informing research and its findings.

Nicholas Abe

Fourth-year student at the John H. Daniels School of Architecture, Landscape and Design

Project: “Architecture on modern European banknotes: in search of stability through abstract circulation”

Sponsoring Faculty Member: Lecturer Ipek Mehmetoglu

“What I learned throughout this information-seeking process was the value of images and photos when I frequented the Eberhard Zeidler Library and the U of T Libraries Online Database. Whether my primary or secondary sources are print or digital, I have often relied on the images embedded in them. This may have been due to the nature and scope of the research, but I have found photographs and illustrations to be essential parts of knowledge creation and research.

Tessa Di Vizio

Fourth-year student at Trinity College studying International Relations and Political Science in the Faculty of Arts and Science

Project: “With more than a little help from ‘Our Canadian Friends’: Canada, the United States and the Canadian Caper, 1979-1980”

Sponsoring Faculty Member: Assistant Professor Timothy Sayle

“Research is not a solitary process of sifting through stacks of libraries and databases looking for sources. I felt part of an academic community that worked with researchers, archivists and librarians to explore a multitude of primary sources as well as secondary literature on my subject. It was fascinating to see the range of archival materials available (and easily accessible to undergraduate students) at U of T, and I particularly enjoyed browsing Victoria College and Trinity College archives for the records of my research.