Research Utilizing Library Resources Pays Off for Three LSC-CyFair Students
Photo: LSC-CyFair

Research Utilizing Library Resources Pays Off for Three LSC-CyFair Students

June 27 2024

In addition to cash prizes, Lone Star College-CyFair winners of this year’s Student Research Award say the award validates their hard work, boosts their confidence and even fuels their passion for future research projects.

Mahmoud Masoud, a 2023 Langham Creek graduate, and Jazlyn Haywood, two of History Professor Keith Altavilla’s honors students, won first and second place, while Tara Murphy in Jennifer Drake’s English class took third place.

“Both Mahmoud and Jazlyn had really interesting projects that took something they knew and engaged with in a new way and in greater detail. Looking at things differently and explaining the depth and complexity of the past is an important part of historical research,” said Altavilla. “The two of them worked hard to develop their ideas over the semester. I am proud of both projects and glad to see they, and their work, were recognized like this.”

Funding the research awards for 15 years now, the Friends of the Library at LSC-CyFair has awarded a total of $13,500 to students for the best research projects which effectively include information from multiple library resources.

For his project "The Fall of Honor: Tracing the Samurai’s Enduring Contribution from Edo to Meiji Japan", Masoud said he took advantage of the research database on the library’s website to find most of his sources, that Librarian Rose Botkin assisted him in strategies for finding sources that best fit his topic, and he discussed his topic with fellow researchers and instructors.

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“The lessons learned (including being open to options and possibilities when choosing a topic as well as constructive criticism) have set a solid foundation for my future research inquiries,” he said. “I hope to eventually go to graduate school for a master’s degree in computer science, and research is a huge part of that process. Learning these skills at an undergraduate level will be of great help.”

Also interested in computer science and becoming a software developer, Haywood said the library resources were “invaluable in supporting and enriching her research.” She accessed books from the library catalog for primary and secondary resources as well as used academic databases, such as ProQuest and JSTOR, to find newspaper and journal articles from the specific time frame she was focused on for her project "Navigating Ethics and Strategy in America's Aerial Campaign during World War II".

“In the process of researching and writing for this project, I learned how to conduct research descriptively, to synthesize information to tell a compelling story and answer a question,” said Haywood. “My experience at LSC-CyFair allowed me to develop valuable research skills and engage with faculty and peers in meaningful ways.”

Excerpts of their projects, including Murphy’s “Universal Healthcare in America” along with previous winners and award information, are available at

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