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Student research teams to compete for cash prizes in UMD Libraries’ Gemstone Research Awards

Thirteen student teams from the Gemstone Honors Program have begun to meet with Faculty Librarians to develop research projects on subjects ranging across the academic spectrum. Projects this year include  research on how to track and mitigate the Lionfish Invasion of the North Atlantic, how to improve systems to generalize the production of medicines targeting cancer and how socioeconomic status impacts the early diagnosis of children with autism.

UMD’s Gemstone Honors Program is a multidisciplinary four-year research program for undergraduate Honors students of all majors. Under the guidance of faculty mentors from across campus, teams of students design, direct, conduct and often publish original research in a variety of fields. A unique component of the program is that each research team is paired with a research liaison librarian from UMD Libraries. The partnership has been in place since the start of the Gemstone program over 25 years ago.

“Librarians were baked into Gemstone since the very beginning,” said Nevenka Zdravkovska, head of the STEM Library, who helped team TRANSPORT win first place last year among the junior-year teams for their exploration of pancreatic cancer treatments that are less toxic and damaging to the body than chemotherapy and radiation.

This year, Ms. Zdravkovska is helping team CYB3RL4NG research how to reduce inequalities for speakers of secondary or minority languages online by providing more semantically aware systems of translation.

“Research is all about putting imagination and effort into learning more,” said Gemstone’s faculty director, Dr. David Lovell. “Libraries provide a springboard for our students to dive into their research.”

From the thirteen teams, three will be selected to present their projects to the judging panel at McKeldin Library on March 11th, 2024. One winning team will be awarded the top $2,000 prize and two runner-up teams will each receive $1,000.

The exciting event showcases the brilliance and intellectual curiosity of UMD students and how the Libraries, in collaboration with the Gemstone Honors Team, are nurturing the next generation of problem solvers and global leaders. The Gemstone Research Award is made possible by support from Friends of the Library. 

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Special Events Room at McKeldin Library and is open to all but please register.

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