Winners Named in the Library’s ‘Empowered by Information’ Writing Contest

Congratulations to the winners of the Library’s ‘Empowered by Information’ Writing Contest!

The library received many wonderful submissions. Thank you to all who participated!

  • 1st place ($200) – Megan Walsh, STC undergraduate student
  • 2nd place ($125) – Aditya Kumar, Civil & Environmental Engineering graduate student
  • 3rd place  ($75) – Ashley Schuman, Chemistry undergraduate student

Read Megan Walsh’s winning entry, below, and our 2nd and 3rd place entries, here:


As a freshman, college is an entirely new and sometimes terrifying world. So, coming into classes like Perspectives and having no idea how to even start research for my papers was overwhelming, to say the least. The library can seem scary and sometimes pretty awkward when you don’t know how to properly use it. My first experience with the Library was when I was working on my first college research paper about the urban history of Los Angeles, a fairly uncommon topic. Here I am, an embarrassed freshman walking up and down the aisles between the bookshelves, backpack clinging against their metal frame, annoying all of the grad students working on projects I will never understand.

After giving up the hope that I would just magically find what I needed, I walked into a lab, logged in, and went onto the Library’s website to try to find some journals or books on my topic. I knew that there wouldn’t be many but I fumbled around for a couple of hours and walked home, defeated. Let me note that this is not because the Library is not useful but because I had no idea how to make the best of it yet.

The next day in my Perspectives class, my instructor took us on a trip back to that same lab that I felt so overwhelmed in the day before for an informational session on how to use the library resources. A charismatic and welcoming librarian walked in and set up her equipment in the front of the room. For the next hour, she walked us through how to use the online databases and the library catalog. She talked to us about recognizing scholarly sources and using them to boost the credibility of our research. She even came over to me and talked to me on an individual basis about what keywords would be best to use to find what I was looking for. I couldn’t have asked for anyone more helpful than she was.

I made it through my freshman year, as rough as it was at times. I am currently finishing my second year as a Scientific and Technical Communications major and I am happy to say that the Library has changed from being a scary, unknown world to one of my safe places on campus. Aside from it being a wonderful and tranquil area to work and relax in, it has provided me with resources that have guided me through these two years at Tech.  By the way, I got an A on that Perspectives paper. However, the best part was not that I received an A, it was that now I have a useful and welcoming new space to carry me through the rest of my time here at Tech. And I plan on making the best of it.