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Calvert Undergraduate Research Award Winners… Where Are They Now?

By BTL on February 22, 2014 9:25 PM | Permalink

Established in 2006, the UNLV University Libraries Lance & Elena Calvert Undergraduate Research Award recognizes sophistication and originality in student research projects. Winners demonstrate evidence of library research skills, adept use of library resources, and reflection upon the strategies utilized to investigate a research problem. Winners receive a cash prize and public recognition of their excellent work as projects are digitally published through DigitalScholarship@UNLV, the digital repository for UNLV scholarship and research. The Libraries are currently accepting applications for the 2014 Calvert Award. Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. on April 24, 2014 and award winners will be honored at a reception.

We recently caught up with three past Calvert Award winners to see what they are doing now.

Vanessa Jaramillo-Cano

Degree: BA, French & Political Science (two majors), 2012, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Calvert: 2010 winner for “Human rights abuses in 1970s Argentina” and 2012 winner for “An Examination of the Varying Role of the United Nations in the Civil Wars of Rwanda and El Salvador”

Vanessa Jaramillo-Cano graduated with a Summa Cum Laude distinction from the Honors College.  After graduation, she interned for United States Senator Harry Reid in both his Las Vegas and Washington, D.C. offices.  Her internship focused on Latino outreach, energy policy, and human rights issues.  She also volunteered at the Ethiopian Community Development Council’s African Community Center. 

With acceptances from several prestigious masters programs, Jaramillo-Cano decided to enroll in the Elliot School of International Affairs at The George Washington University.  She is currently completing her master’s in International Affairs with a concentration in International Security Studies and aims to work in the field of transnational security. Jaramillo-Cano hopes to create a career in merging human rights concerns and traditional security measures. 

As a two-time Calvert Award winner, Jaramillo-Cano remains grateful for the generous contribution of Lance and Elena Calvert to her academic and professional careers.  “The financial contribution from each award was used to further my education by funding my study abroad program and contribute towards my graduate studies,” she said. “I am an advocate of undergraduate scholarship and encourage current students to submit their publications.”

Tyler Parry

Degree: BA, History, 2008 University of Nevada, Las Vegas
MA, History, 2011, University of South Carolina
Ph.D., History, May 2014 (expected), University of South Carolina

Calvert: 2009 winner for “The Paradox of Progress: Hildegard of Bingen in the Age of Transition”

Tyler Parry is completing his dissertation entitled “Love and Marriage: Domestic Relations and Matrimonial Strategies Among the Enslaved in the Atlantic World.” The dissertation examines the social, cultural and legal dimensions of slave marriages throughout the period of African/African-American enslavement in the Caribbean and North America. Parry is concurrently publishing an article that examines the popular African-American wedding custom “jumping the broom” from a transatlantic, multicultural perspective. His research analyzes the custom’s origins among rural British communities and the process of its subsequent transferal to the American slave community. Parry will defend his dissertation in April 2014 and he has accepted a tenure-track assistant professor position at California State University, Fullerton in the African American Studies department in the fall.

Parry was excited to share his perspective on the Calvert Award and mentioned that while he had written papers for many history classes, the paper he wrote for the Calvert Award was his first attempt at a rigorous scholarly project. “I greatly benefited from the careful supervision of an advisor in the history department and I was able to combine theoretical approaches with primary and secondary sources,” he said. Parry wants current undergraduate students to know that even if he hadn’t won the Calvert Award, the process of developing a sustained academic project for critical review was crucial to his future success as a doctoral candidate.

Claire White

Degree: BA, History, 2008, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
MA, Public History, 2011, University of South Carolina-Columbia

Calvert: 2008 winner for “Commending Religion to All Around Us: Baptist Church, 1780-1850”

Claire White is the Manager of Education at the Nantucket Historical Association (NHA) in Nantucket, MA. Starting as an intern three years ago, while completing a master’s in public history, White coordinates school, youth, and family programming. She is responsible for creating and implementing standards based school programming and oversees informal learning opportunities at the Nantucket Whaling Museum and across a campus of twenty-two historic sites. White is currently creating an overnight field trip program for fourth grade students at one of the island’s private schools, where they will learn about Nantucket history through costumed interpreters and guided activities. They’ll spend the night in sleeping bags beneath a 46-foot sperm whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling of NHA’s main hall.

When asked about the value of participating in the Calvert Awards, White said, “The award process helped me develop and hone research skills that aided me when I applied to and attended graduate school. The competition sends a message about UNLV and particularly the Libraries’ support of their undergraduate students and the process of undergraduate research. This type of support early on in the academic career is priceless.” White also commended UNLV’s overall commitment to the professional and academic development of its undergraduate students.

Nancy Fawley, head of the library liaison program and Calvert Award committee chair encourages UNLV faculty to share this opportunity with undergraduate students. Fawley noted, “The Calvert Award is a great opportunity for a student to submit a current research project for recognition of their academic work at UNLV. Beyond a monetary prize, Calvert winners can include their achievement on their resume, receive public acknowledgement at the award ceremony, and be recognized as a researcher at UNLV with the inclusion of their project in DigitalScholarship@UNLV.”

Up to four prizes will be awarded in two categories at the award reception: seniors will be eligible for a $1,000 prize; freshmen, sophomores and juniors will be eligible for a $750 prize. 

Previous winners have researched topics ranging from engineering and political science to history and psychology. Students of any discipline and at any point in their undergraduate careers may apply for the award.

Projects by individual or groups in all formats are eligible, including: research paper or thesis, design portfolio, theater designs, fine arts performance (dance, music, etc. captured on CD or DVD) accompanied by program notes, creative work (writing, art in any format), film, digital media, or a poster presentation.

A panel composed of faculty, librarians, students, and staff will judge entries using a rubric based on the award criteria. Expectations for achievement will be commensurate with the applicant’s class year and requirements of the discipline.

For more information about the Calvert Award criteria, eligibility, and submission requirements visit

Funding for the Calvert Award for Undergraduate Research is made possible by Lance and Elena Calvert.