BUILD Research Competition

student typing paper and smilingThe purpose of the BUILD Research Competition (Better Use of Information and Library Databases) is to encourage and support student research using library resources. The competition rewards students who show exceptional skill and creativity in the application of library resources to a research project. It is designed to complement the Information Literacy Program at the Holyoke Community College Library.

BUILD Library Research Competition Winners


First place - Elisabeth Busker

Picture of ElizabethCongratulations, Elizabeth! Elizabeth is  BUILD Competition, 2019 first place winner. Elizabeth's research paper entitled Women Veterans and Intimate Partner Violence examined "intimate partner violence (IPV) is a growing health concern in women veterans. The research showed how servicewomen who experience IPV are likely to experience other negative health concerns that include psychological or physical health problems and economic hardship. The paper provided evidence on the results from research on women veterans experiencing IPV and the consequences of the social determinants of health compared to their male counterparts. Careful consideration was taken into account for several conditions of life to find the root cause of IPV; however, there remains a gap in the body of literature connecting all of the health inequities women veterans experience. This paper also examined  the roles of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) primary healthcare providers and healthcare workers from community-based organizations and additional tools these healthcare providers can use to provide women veterans a safe and alternative way to leave an abusive relationship or heal from past experiences of IPV. 

Picture of Elizabeth with a childElizabeth is grateful for her experiences at HCC, all of which have prepared her to  transfer to one of the area's elite women's colleges: Mount Holyoke or Smith College in spring, 2021. She will major in psychology, and hopes to one day use her experiences and education to shape holistic services to help others like her who seek post-traumatic growth.

Second place - Natalie Maslak

Picture of NatalieCongratulations, Natalie! Natalie is BUILD Competition, 2019 second place winner.  Her essay Degradation over dignity: A critical examination of the maternal experiences within the carceral system. Natalie's paper used an intersectional lens to examine the differential medical treatment of pregnant incarcerated women compared to their peers on the outside is explored. Her research outlined demographics and history of women's incarceration to provide context for analysis. Differential medical treatment was examined by comparing incarcerated women's prenatal care, birthing experience, and postpartum treatment to the standard' maternal experiences of peers 'outside" of the carceral system. The reasoning for differential treatment is explored by considering the criminal justice system's foundation in morality, as well as the structures of patriarchy and racism. Constitutionality of the practice of shackling is briefly discussed to illuminate areas for possible change. Methods to improve the carceral maternal experience such as training corrections officers and ensuring medical professionals give mothers proper care were also outlined. 

Natalie will attend Westfield State University this fall semester. Her goal is a pre-law track where she  will major in Political Science with a minor Criminal Justice.  She plans to pursue a legal career in the future.


First place - Armanis Fuentes
Armanis' research study entitled Networks of Puerto Rican Power: Building Bilingual Education in Holyoke Schools, 1960-1990 is the product of an independent research paper completed with faculty advisor, Professor Amy Loiselle during the 2018 fall semester.  The research study explores the links between the Puerto Rican communities of Holyoke and New York City in the 1960s and through the 1980s. Political operatives from each Puerto Rican community have historically used the expansion of bilingual education in public schools to galvanize fellow community members, create political capital, and, in turn, break into their respective political establishments by ascending to positions in the public education sector. Archival materials reveal that some operatives from New York City's Puerto Rican/Latinx community who succeeded in pushing bilingual education in New York City also helped facilitate the process in Holyoke. For Puerto Ricans in New York City, the expansion of bilingual education through political activism, and more importantly, representation was the blueprint for the Puerto Rican leaders of Holyoke. This project illuminates the power of movement- of ideas and people-across diasporic communities and it also demonstrates the power of political representation as a catalyst for change for communities of underrepresented people.    Armanis will graduate this spring with an Associates in Liberal Arts. He will attend Williams College this coming fall with a full scholarship.   

Second place - Brandi St. Romain
Brandi's research study entitled Segregation as a social determinant of health: Environmental justice through Hurricane Katrina and the reconstruction of New Orleans was completed for HON 206.01- Health (In) Equity: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in American Society taught by Vanessa Martinez and Dayna Campbell. The research study examines race-based inequities and segregation patterns in New Orleans, Louisiana prior to and after Hurricane Katrina in August, 2005. Examining historical disparities between Black New Orleanians and their White counterparts gives a solid foundation for analyzing whether the city of New Orleans has rebuilt or is rebuilding the city in a way that will mitigate past racialized policies that have to reiterate segregation and the concentration of poverty among Black citizens in New Orleans. Brandi will graduate this coming fall with an A.S. in Biology. She plans to transfer to a Neuroscience Program in spring, 2020. 


Kinari Horton: "Miss(ed) Diagnosis: The experiences of women and girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder"

First place - Kiana Estime: "The Arc of Resistance: Tension Between the Mainstreamed "Illness Model" and the Homosexual Identity"
Second place - Elizabeth Delorme: "Stigma of Addiction: How mainstream society perpetuates the Opioid Epidemic"

Tristan Cullen: "Capitalism, Fear, and Worldview: The Motivation of the Climate Control Countermovement."

Shannon Messer: "Alternatives to Incarceration - Saving the American Family"

Kathryn Malone: "Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis: An Argument for Use in Cases with Medical Need."


Mark Humphrey: "Wal-Mart: How it Hurts Us and Why We Love it Anyway."

2008-2009 First Place

Judea Beatrice: "Sexism in the Bakkhai and in Modern Critiques."

2008-2009 Runner-Up
Adrienne Shelton: "The Evolution of Sweet Corn: In Pursuit of the Perfect Ear."


Nicole Reynolds: "White Pomp, Latino Circumstance: The March Toward Racial Inequity in Northampton's Future."




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