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Norwalk Student Research Paper Award

2023 Award Winning Essays

Congratulations to the winners of the first-annual Norwalk Student Research Award! The committee is excited to announce Iris Cintra Couto and Jimena Sarapura as the 2023 recipients of this award recognizing excellence in student research at Norwalk Community College.  Danielle Philips and Gabrielle Miranda de Oliveira Gomes also received honorable mentions for their work.  Read the winning papers and their reflections on the research process.



Iris’s research paper was written as part of her ESL 192 course taught by Craig Machado. In his recommendation of her submission, he wrote: “Iris is one of the best writers I have had in my class in many years. She is resourceful, thoughtful and well organized in her thinking. . . . The extent of her maturity as a writer was evident in her research essay on food deserts. She did extensive research and went well beyond the 3-source minimum required.” In her reflective introduction, Iris echoed the hearts of all writing instructors when she wrote, “Writing is a process. The more you write, the better you get, and like doing a craft, writing takes time and work until you get to your final piece.” After describing her research process in detail, she ends with this: “If I could give a tip, it would be to always write, revise, edit, and write some more. I hope you enjoy reading my paper as much as I enjoyed writing it.” I believe I speak for all committee members when I say that we very much did enjoy reading her paper.

Jimena’s research project was written in her ENG 101 class taught by Rachel Jasiczek in response to an assignment focused on Linguistic Diversity and Justice. I believe her professor speaks for all of us when she wrote to Jimena: “I enjoyed learning from your perspective regarding the important topic of linguistic diversity!” In her reflective introduction, Jimena wrote, “I learned that when writing about a topic one is actually passionate about, it becomes much easier to know where to look to find a source. In this assignment, I knew I wanted to talk about indigenous language education in Latin America. . . .” Jimena incorporated Spanish-language resources into her paper, writing, “It is very important to me whenever I get a chance to incorporate the usage of other languages into my education, and especially since in the world English is starting to seem like a universal research language, I’m very glad that I’ve had a chance to use Spanish in this context as well.”


Danielle’s research project, written for Western Civilization II class taught by Dr. Philip J. Wax, explores the social and economic impact of the British Industrial Revolution on child labor and education, highlighting the many challenges and struggles faced by children during this period. In his recommendation of her submission, Dr. Wax wrote this: “I was immediately impressed by her depth of knowledge and intellectual curiosity. Throughout the course, Danielle conducted extensive research, carefully analyzing various case studies and academic articles to develop a comprehensive understanding of this complex issue. Her research paper stands out as a shining example of her academic excellence and dedication to understanding complex historical events. . . . She skillfully weaves together primary and secondary sources, providing a nuanced and comprehensive analysis of this important historical topic.”

Gabrielle’s very timely research project was written for her ESL 152 course, taught by Audrey Cody. In her introductory reflection, Gabrielle wrote, “This year, Professor Audrey Cody asked us to choose one topic that was in some way related to the book The Color of Water, which we were reading. I choose the topic The Voting Rights Act of 1965 because I thought it could be interesting to learn more about it. . . . After the presentation, Professor Cody asked us to think about one question that we did not research or did not have the answer to, but that we thought about while doing the research work. My research question was: Despite the fact that The Voting Rights Act was signed in 1965, are there ways that people make it difficult for African Americans to vote currently in The United States? To be honest, this research showed me what I never thought could still exist in The United States actually: African Americans are still facing discrimination when they try to guarantee their right to vote.” Throughout her paper, Gabrielle connected the past to the present as she explored this very real threat to our democracy.