The first-ever UCSB Library Award for Undergraduate Research (LAUR) was established in 2019 as a means of celebrating and honoring those students who engaged with the Library and made expert use of our vast collections and services.
Faculty members and subject librarians served as judges for the awards, selecting first- and second-place winners in each of the three broad categories: humanities and fine arts, social sciences, and science and engineering.
Taking first place in the science and engineering category, Jake Eisaguirre (UCSB ‘19), earned the $750 cash prize for his research on food web dynamics in kelp forest ecosystems in the Santa Barbara Channel.
“I’m genuinely curious about nature, and to see the entire research process was very rewarding for me,” said Jake. “In the future, I want to stay in research as much as possible and a job where I can continue to ask questions.”
In addition to the help of his co-authors and mentors, Jake said the Library was integral to the success of his research.
“The Library website and search engine helped me find information for my paper and the Library also served as a physical space for me to work,” said Jake.
The paper ended up being accepted into their first-choice journal - Ecology.
With his sights set on the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program, Jake said the LAUR application prepared him for his next steps.
“The process for applying [for the Library Award for Undergraduate Research] was like a miniature grant proposal,” said Jake. “Having the practice helped me explain why my research is important and why I should be considered.”
Jake started a job in early 2020 as a scientific aide with the Pelagic Fisheries and Ecosystems Management program, which is part of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“The research was a great launching point for graduate school and my future job and I really couldn’t have done it without the help of Library resources,” Jake said.