Friends of Caltech Libraries Awards Senior Thesis Prize at Alumni House Reception

Friends of Caltech Libraries Awards Senior Thesis Prize at Alumni House Reception


PASADENA, Calif.—Stephanie M. Laga and Eric S. Mukherjee were each awarded this year’s Senior Thesis Prize by the Friends of Caltech Libraries. Ms. Laga’s thesis, “Tale of Two Cobalts” was nominated by Prof. Harry Gray. Mr. Mukherjee’s thesis on “How Far from Jerusalem? Tropical Customs and the Question of Race in the Book of John Mandeville” was nominated by Prof. Nicolas Wey-Gomez.

The prizes were awarded by Rosemary Choate, President of the Friends of the Caltech Libraries. In presenting the second award she stated, “For the first time, the committee unanimously agreed that there be double recipients and that a thesis from Humanities, superlative in concept, design and research, and writing be awarded.” Among the seven finalists, these two theses were selected for clear evidence of excellence in writing, extensive and effective use of bibliographic materials and library research tools along with comprehensive exploration and examination of the research question. In both the thesis and the accompanying essay, Ms. Laga and Mr. Mukherjee successfully elaborated in narrative form the background research process. Their essays were particularly clear and extensive in how they effectively conducted library research and in Mr. Mukherjee’s case, use of archival research, to identify the best-fit strategies for their respective inquiries.

The Senior Thesis Prize was established in 2010 in order to recognize exceptional senior theses that represent exemplary research and effective use of library resources. This year’s prizes were announced and awarded at a reception at Alumni House on Wednesday, May 28th, with alumni, Friends of the Caltech Libraries, library staff, faculty, and Professor Paul Bellan, Chair of the Faculty Academic Policy Committee present. All finalists were introduced by their advisor or representative and were presented with a bound and embossed copy of their thesis and a gift from the Friends of the Caltech Libraries for their excellent work and accomplishments. The reception was hosted by University Librarian, Kimberly Douglas.

The $1,200 prize is accompanied by a citation, and the recipients are listed in the Commencement program.

Further information can be found in the Caltech Catalog, or at

Written by Kimberly Douglas, University Librarian
kdouglas AT

Group picture of all nominees and faculty

Stephanie receiving award with Kim and Rosemary

Eric receiving award with Kim and Rosemary