The Tredway Library is pleased to announce Aaron Volk as the winner of the 2013 Tredway Library Prize for First-Year Research, for his paper, “The Cultural Expression of Anorexia Nervosa.” Aaron wrote his paper for LSFY 103, “Ill Communication,” taught by Dr. Margaret France. Join us in celebrating Aaron’s win at 4pm on Thursday, September 12, on the south end of the 2nd floor of the library.
Aaron is a sophomore from Geneva, IL. He is majoring in chemistry/pre-med, Spanish for professional use, and biochemistry, with the goal of one day working as a trauma surgeon. Aaron is also a tutor at Augustana’s Reading/Writing Center, and he has additional experience as a literacy tutor in his hometown for people learning English as a second language. Reflecting on the role of writing and literacy in his own life, Aaron says we should value “good writing in any discipline, not only those disciplines concerned directly with language and its many forms.”
In reading Aaron’s paper, this year’s library prize judges — reference librarians Stefanie Bluemle and Margi Rogal, and assistant director of the Reading/Writing Center Lucas Street — were struck from the beginning with the paper’s fluent argument and clear, focused thesis, supported by a diverse range of sources that are brought into conversation with one another and with the author. Aaron contends that although most academic investigations and popular constructions link the causes of anorexia nervosa (AN) to cultural factors (the media’s unrelenting presentation of thinness as an ideal body type, for example), societal factors are not adequate to explain the development and prevalence of this disease. Aaron argues, supported by the findings of recent research, that AN is influenced by deep psychological disturbance rooted in individual sufferers.
Although Aaron says in his reflection that he began his research with a notion that cultural factors were not the only influence in the development of AN, he found that after assembling his sources, he listened to the variety of voices they presented and let them guide his thinking. “After sitting down with five or six books and numerous printed articles and papers about AN and culture,” Aaron wrote in his reflection, “I was able to develop the thesis that became the basis of my paper.” Aaron’s openness to the voices of the scholars he was reading and his appreciation for their viewpoints and presentations are reflected in an engaging, balanced, persuasive composition that is not only informative but a pleasure to read.
Congratulations, Aaron! And thanks to all the students who submitted papers for the 2013 library prize. Aaron’s winning paper may be read here: The Cultural Expression of Anorexia Nervosa.