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2024 Steely Research Award Winners

Yara Abdou and Grace McConn have been selected as our 2024 Steely Research Award recipients, presented as part of NKU's Celebration of Student Research & Creativity.

Read our story to learn more about their research and how they used Steely Library resources.


Steely Library is a key partner in providing access to information as well as supporting the development of NKU students’ information literacy skills. We recognize outstanding student work through our W. Frank Steely Library Research Award, given annually in conjunction with NKU’s spring Celebration of Student Research and Creativity.  


This award is available to any NKU undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral student who participates in either the Heather Bullen Summer Research Celebration or the Celebration of Research and Creativity and provide written narratives that describe their research process, growth as a researcher, and their use of library resources and services. Each year, a committee chooses up to two winners, who will each receive a $500 cash prize.


An award committee will evaluate the student’s research narrative and artifact (poster or presentation) based on the GEARUP with Information Literacy concepts: 

  • Your ability to gather information needed to support your research, using multiple search strategies and databases to locate sources  
  • Your ability to evaluate selected sources and strategies you used to determine the usefulness of sources your found
  • Your ability to apply the information you found into your research and how you see yourself as part of the on-going scholarly conversations
  • Your ability to understand and respect the ethical, legal, economic, and social components of information use, including your responsibility as a researcher to share knowledge with a wider community  

are due April 21, 2024. Winner(s) will be announced in May 2024.

Application form will ask for basic information on your project as well as a spot to

  • A research narrative (500-800 words) incorporating GEARUP concepts and a “Love Letter to Steely” narrative (200-300 words) explaining how library resources and services were used. The narratives should be uploaded as Word documents.
  • A copy of the final research project presented at either Celebration (this might be a poster, slides from an oral presentation, or video from your virtual presentation). Accepted formats include word, PPT, PDF, MP3, MP4, JPEG,  etc. Students may submit links to online projects.
  • Your project’s full bibliography, using a citation style of your choice. For some, your full bibliography will be included in the project you upload. If your bibliography is not already incorporated into your project, you will have the option to upload it as a separate document.  

Ready to apply?

Questions about the Steely Research Award should be directed to Hailley Fargo, Head of Education & Outreach Services and award committee chair, at    


History of the Steely Research Award

This award was created by Allen Ellis, Professor Emeritus, Steely Library.  While he was serving as Head of Reference & Information Services, Allen realized the connection between student research projects and the library’s resources and services. To honor and celebrate that connection, he established the award. Allen helped to advocate for funding and fully believed in the importance of recognizing students who understood the impact the library had in their research journeys.