Library Prize Winner Eric Hankin

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Guest Writer

Every year, the Library Prize for Undergraduate Research is awarded to a student who shows an excellent and diligent research process while utilizing the library services. Eric Hankin, this year’s winner, is an English major who is expected to graduate in 2014.

There are many requirements that a student must follow to be considered for the Library Prize and Hankin followed them all.

First, the research must have been completed for a credit course or another curricular activity. It must also be supervised by an IU South Bend faculty member, and a statement from this member of faculty must be submitted with the student’s work.

Students must submit applications to be considered, along with an essay between 500 and 700 words. This essay must include the process of the student’s research and the ways in which they utilized the library’s resources.

“This year, Eric’s project stood out because he was able to articulate his research process well in his essay, and it was evident that he had done in-depth research and integrated his sources masterfully into his project,” said Nancy Colborn, head of Information Literacy Services and Library Prize Committee chair.

“I explored how such consumerism affected gender, particularly women, and I used Jonathan Swift’s poem, ‘The Lady’s Dressing Room,’ to look at how various products were portrayed in the poem,” Hankin said in regards to his work.

Hankin’s faculty advisor, Lee Kahan, is an assistant professor of English who encouraged Hankin and assisted him with his research materials.

“Eric shows that this poem was part of a much larger discourse about the effects of cosmetic beauty,” Kahan said. “Essentially, while advertisements of the time encouraged women to define themselves in terms of cosmetic beauty, men worried that they might use these cosmetics to alter their identities in ways that benefited them, rather than the men who admired them.”

Hankin’s research ultimately concluded that women in the 18th century were both encouraged and criticized for using the beauty products of the time.

Not only did he win the award, he will also receive $500 as part of the award. Hankin was very grateful that he won and he and Kahan were glad his hard work was recognized.

For more information on the Library Prize for Undergraduate Research, visit

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