Most Engaging Poster. Best Video. Most Creative Presentation. Digital Engagement. Equity & Inclusion. Contribution to Sustainability.  Where does your I.S. project shine?


All College of Wooster students who complete their Independent Study during the 2021-2022 academic year and submit a virtual presentation for the 2021 Senior Research Symposium.

How to Apply:

All those who submit their virtual presentation by April 18 will be eligible for IS Symposium Awards, such as Most Engaging Poster, Best Video, Most Creative Slideshow, and more.

If you would like to be considered for themed prizes below—three awards each for Critical Digital Engagement; Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; and Sustainability & the Environment—send a brief rationale (~250 words) to Lindsey Millan lmillan@wooster.edu by the April 18 deadline for Symposium submissions.  These will be forwarded to the prize committee(s) with a link to your Symposium website once it is created.

Faculty Advisors (and other mentors and fans): you are also welcome to nominate a Senior IS for one of the following awards—especially those who might be too humble to nominate themselves.  Please send their name to Lindsey Millan and once we receive their Symposium submission for the webpage, we will reach out to request that they submit the brief rationale mentioned above.

All winners will receive $250 and a digital award badge on their Symposium webpage!

CoRE Awards for Critical Digital Engagement

Does your Independent Study use digital technologies to critically engage with your topic in innovative ways? Maybe, taking inspiration from your major or minor, you have had to think creatively about the ways that more than one discipline intersects with digitally-informed critical inquiry. Or you might bring digital methods to bear in a discipline that does not typically feature such research. Perhaps, though, your discipline is steeped in digital technologies, just not quite in the way that you’re deploying them.

If your Independent Study, either in methods or in subject matter, critically engages with or through digital technologies, submit a rationale that articulates the ways in which your independent study exemplifies critically digitally engaged scholarship. The research question is at the core of this award; rationales should articulate the ways in which the questions of an I.S. are integrally in conversation with technologies. The most competitive applicants will either (A) use technologies in ways that are pathbreaking for their disciplines or (B) offer critiques of technologies. In either case, technologies will be integral to your research and not merely added to an otherwise non-digital, non-technologically-informed question.

Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Awards

Wooster has sought to be inclusive from its founding, at which its inaugural president Willis Lord laid out the importance of being “a place of studies for all” adding that “The essential test of citizenship in the commonwealth of science and letters should be character, mental and moral quality, and attainment, not condition, race, color, or sex.” The Independent Study project for all students was created in the late 1940s, based on the idea that every student could, and should, do work that had never been done before.

The Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity IS Awards honor this legacy and the pathbreaking work of so many students, faculty, and staff since that time.  The EID awards recognize outstanding student scholarship that centers issues related to equity, inclusion, and diversity. Projects that critically engage with EID issues move beyond including a “diverse sample” of participants or nodding to literature by a diverse range of scholars.  Rather, your rationale should articulate how your project is framed explicitly around scholarly approaches to EID (such as critical race theory; Black feminist theory; AsianCrit and LatCrit Theories; Afrocentricity; LGBTQIA+ studies and queer theory; disability studies and crip theory; and other scholarly approaches to social justice) and/or efforts to raise the volume of underrepresented voices in your field(s).  You should also discuss the implications—and possible applications or interventions, if applicable—of your work toward broader efforts for equity, inclusion, and diversity.

Sustainability and the Environment Awards

The Sustainability and the Environment award honors the memory of Dr. Melissa M. Schultz, Associate Professor of Chemistry, who was a beloved mentor to her students and died tragically in an automobile accident on February 7, 2015. The prize recognizes excellence in undergraduate research that contributes to our understanding of sustainability and the environment.

To apply, provide a rationale that describes how your project is connected to environmental sustainability. Note that sustainability has many interpretations, and can be assessed from any disciplinary perspective.  The most competitive applicants will demonstrate the ability to think cross-disciplinarily. It will not be enough that your topic overlaps with sustainability; rather, you should explicitly frame your I.S. project around sustainability, and possible implications of your results for the ongoing quest to achieve a more sustainable world.