Research Award Given
by Cori Anne Winrock
week senior Elizabeth Weinstein became the first recipient of the
annual Friends of the Library Research Award. Judging research papers
that professors had nominated on their use of library resources
and creativity of the research approach, the $500 award is part
of a larger college effort to reinforce the value of quality student
Weinstein was nominated by Antoinette Charfauros McDaniel, the professor
of her Sociology class, Diversity, Justice, and Sociological Imagination,
for a research paper entitled, Deconstructing Autism: A Sociological
Perspective on a Puzzling Disorder.
Weinstein, an English major with a concentration in Modern Culture,
chose to write the paper instead of taking a final exam, wanting
to study autism, a topic she had previously been interested in.
I didnt think I would win, though it is really cool
that I did. I really loved the work I put into the project; I just
loved working on it. I know I went above and beyond what was expected,
Weinstein cited the sociology class that offered her the opportunity
to do this research as one of the most inspirational classes she
had taken at the College. She said that Charfauros McDaniel was
the best professor she had studied with in her time at Oberlin.
In addition to hours of scholarly research, Weinstein worked at
an Elyria school for children with behavioral disturbances. This
field research focused on two autistic boys, giving her impressions
of life with autism that she would use as vignettes within her paper.
The paper traced the definition of autism throughout its history,
focusing on how the definition has altered and expanded with time.
Weinsteins interest in autism came out of reading the book
Thinking in Pictures, by Temple Grandin, an autistic woman who is
a professor at Colorado State University.
While the College has one of the nations most extensive private
collections, it is thought that more of these resources could receive
student use. This award attepts to erctify that by encouraging innovative
research work. Additionally, the problem is addressed through bringing
intro level classes to the library and formally teaching information
seeking skills such as how to search OBIS or the internet.
Its mind-boggling how much information our species creates,
and its more and more, with the web, electronic databases
exploding, Director of Libraries Ray English said. And
at Oberlin its extraordinary what is available for students
and faculty. Technology is always changing. You cant just
start researching without understanding how research systems work.