Book-worms in the Cushing Library

For two English Honors students this summer brings the chance to get lost among the shelves of the Cushing Library.  The summer of 2012 offers an exclusive opportunity for undergraduates to become involved in a research project by participating in the Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR).  The Summer Special Collections Research Pilot Project will offer two English honors students the chance to experience hands-on archival research.

The purpose of this program is for student participants to gain experience in archival research, through drafting “finding guides,” creating metadata for online materials, identifying, sorting and labeling literary works, working alongside curators and also researching and writing text for exhibit catalogues.  The program will also give the SPUR students a chance to cultivate ideas for their senior English Honors thesis. 

Those who participate in this pilot program will work with Dr. Larry Mitchell, Interim Director of the Cushing Memorial Library and Archives and Professor in the Department of English, on a weekly basis discussing their experience in the special collections research pilot project and possible research topics of their own. 

“Our hope is that by the end of the summer our students will have new, original ideas for their own theses.  They will have access to documents no one else has seen, touched or read.  The opportunity to work with primary sources is special and very different from online research,” said Mitchell.

This program also intends for the SPUR participants to mentor new English Honors students in the fall of 2012.  “We would like the Honors students in the fall to hear from our SPUR participants about their experiences doing archival research to get a student’s perspective on research and writing a thesis,” said Cecelia Hawkins, Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of English.

The SPUR award will assist the student researchers with their tuition for the summer session.  At the end of the summer, the SPUR students will present a possible topic for their honors thesis at a poster session sponsored by Honors and Undergraduate Research in late July.

Contact: Chrystina Rago,


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