The Cunningham Memorial Library announces Bakerman Student Research Award winners

The Cunningham Memorial Library’s Bakerman Student Research Awards Program is supported by an endowment established by ISU Professor of English, Jane Bakerman, Professor Emerita of English and Women’s Studies (1931-2004). Begun in 2006, the first winning papers were selected in 2007. Normally a part of the Library’s annual Artists and Author Recognition Program, in this year of social distancing, the Library wishes to take this opportunity to announce the 2021 award winners. Papers submitted for the awards were completed and submitted for a course grade in the previous calendar year.

The undergraduate winner is Jillian Pelikan (Major: Communication Sciences and Disorders; Minors: Counseling, Language Studies and Psychology). She was nominated by Dr. Gregory Bierly (Honors College) for her Honors Capstone thesis entitled, “An Examination between Laryngeal Physiology and Parkinson’s Disease: Severity and Treatment.” Pelikan is from Wheaton, IL. She will receive $1,000, to be deposited in her ISU account.

Part of what makes the Bakerman a library-based award is the requirement to include an essay on the research process behind the research paper. Pelikan stated, in part, “A simple Google search would not even come close to the magnitude of detail and reliable data needed in order to complete the thesis, which is why the library databases were an essential component of the research process,” and concluded, “completing my honors thesis, with the help of the library databases, provided me substantial practice using strategies to find credible sources. This invaluable skill will be beneficial moving forward in my overall pursuit of a Master of Science degree in communication sciences and disorders.”

Manoj Panta (Ph.D. candidate, Biology) is the graduate Bakerman winner and will receive $1,500. Department of Biology Professor Shaad M. Ahmad, nominated Mr. Panta’s doctoral dissertation, entitled, “Three distinct mechanisms, Notch instructive, permissive, and independent, regulate the expression of two different pericardial genes to specify cardiac cell subtypes in Drosophila melanogaster.” Originally from Kathmandu, Nepal, Panta holds additional degrees (Human Biology; Medical Physiology) from Kathmandu University. While at Indiana State University, he has taught physiology, genetics lab, and general biology as a teaching assistant, instructor, and guest lecturer. In his research process essay, Panta mentions his need to request many articles through interlibrary loan. After needing even more articles he notes, “it was a little frustrating to find that some of the articles were still not available.”

“However, when I consulted the librarian (Ms. Shelley Arvin), I was thrilled to know that some of the articles can also be accessed through the ScienceDirect database. This resource provided by the library, where I could download an article and ISU pays a fee, turned out to be a boon for my pursuit to find one particular article, as I could not find it anywhere else.”

Panta also took advantage of the free citation manager software program offered by the library (EndNote): “As I kept track of all the cited articles and books in EndNote, compiling the references section, in the end, was very effortless. Additionally, I also got help in this process by previous tutorial hosted by the librarians at Cunningham Library.”

Details about the Bakerman Award, including past winners and links to their submissions, added to the University’s digital repository (Sycamore Scholars), can be found at The scholarship process is completed via the BRANCH, the Indiana State University Scholarship system.