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Win up to $250 for your reflective essay!
Submissions due by 23:59 ET on May 1, 2024 via the submission form linked here.

Eligibility & Prizes

Submit a short essay (≤750 words) and you could win up to $250!


  • Dartmouth students in STEM courses or labs* in the 2023-2024 academic year can compete in one of two categories:
    • First-Year or Sophomore students in STEM courses or labs
    • Junior or Senior students in STEM courses or labs
  • Essays on research from Summer 2023, Fall 2023, Winter 2024 or Spring 2024 are eligible for submission. 

*If you are unsure what counts as a "STEM course" please refer to this list of NSF defined STEM Disciplines. Disciplines listed under "Science & Engineering" and "Science & Engineering-Related" are eligible for the essay contest.


  • Each category will award up to two prizes:
    • First prize: $250
    • Second prize: $100
  • Award winners each receive a certificate of achievement

The winners will be announced at the Wetterhahn Symposium on May 22, 2024, and will receive a certificate in honor of their achievement.

Reach out to (Lilly Linden) if you have any questions.

Essay Guidelines

Essays will be evaluated based on your active reflection on the following prompts. Please address a minimum of two prompts in your essay.

  • What did you learn about the process of information seeking during the course of your work?
  • What did you learn about finding and evaluating sources?
  • What criteria did you use to refine the resources that you found to fit the scope of your research? 
  • What discoveries did you make through planned searching, and what through serendipity?
  • How will what you learned while seeking sources for this project inform your future searching?
  • Did you have any conversations with librarians (via chat, email, or in-person) during your research  project?
Submissions due by 23:59 ET on May 01, 2024 via the submission form linked here.

Your submission should include: 

  • An essay of no more than 750 words, describing:
    • How you used library resources and the literature available through library subscribed databases
    • Strategies you used to locate those resources (search strings, subject headings, etc.)
    • What sources and databases you used
    • How your search skills developed
    • How using library resources, which include your subject librarian, contributed to the quality of your research
  • A bibliography of sources consulted in a consistent citation format. Please use a reference manager such as Zotero to save yourself time!

Please note that if you require a format accommodation, spoken essays with transcripts are considered as valid entries. They will be judged based on the transcript of the audio file. Please upload the mp4 file and the transcript together in the submission file. Find information on using transcription in Word here or in Google Docs here.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Exceptional ability to locate, select, evaluate, and synthesize library resources (including, but not limited to, printed resources, databases, collections, web resources, and all media) and to use them in the creation of a project
  • Evidence of significant personal learning and the development of a pattern of research and inquiry that shows the likelihood of persisting in the future

Submissions will be judged by a panel of Dartmouth College librarians. The panel’s evaluations are based on a brief essay, a bibliography, and the effectiveness of the student’s submission.

Archiving of Winning Essays

Reflective essays that receive a prize are archived in the Dartmouth Digital Commons. The essays are restricted to access via Dartmouth IP (on campus or using the VPN) only. See the collection here.


Library Research Award Sponsors

The Award for Library Research Award in the Sciences is sponsored by the Dartmouth College Library and the Friends of the Dartmouth College Library.