I had the opportunity recently to travel to Hong Kong to facilitate two student research sharing sessions at the Outstanding Academic Papers by Students (OAPS) award ceremony conducted by City University’s Run Run Shaw Library. I gave a presentation about new media literacies, discussed our Mashup Contests and met with reference librarians.
I facilitated discussions with six of the 31 students whose papers were selected as exemplary by their departments. I was struck by the intensity and passion with which they had approached their research topics – from gesture recognition software to anxiety about death to transsexual marriage. One student described digging through 18th century legal archives for primary sources. Another described staking out local eateries early in the mornings to recruit senior citizens for her interviews. The City University library published each student’s paper as a glossy pamphlet, available on a bookshelf for patrons to browse. Library Director Dr. Steve Ching commented that citation counts for the undergraduate research papers in OAPS had grown extremely high, with some student papers receiving citations in international journals. I appreciated the strong ownership that students showed about their research projects, and it was great to see so many faculty in attendance at the celebration. Students talked about the importance of resilience, willingness to accept criticism and flexibility on research topics as the soft skills that were key to their successes.