SOIS Student Research Day Awards – Spring 2021

Spring 2021 Student Research Awardees

Each Spring Semester the SOIS Research Committee hosts the SOIS Student Research Day. Students are invited to submit paper proposals based on their research papers, critical literature surveys or designed research projects. This year, due to Covid-19 restrictions, the SOIS Student Research Day transitioned to a virtual event. Research participants submitted their presentation which were hosted online. The SOIS Research Committee determined the research award recipients based on the submissions’ merits in conjunction with vote data from the SOIS community. Online voting took place from April 7th – April 21st, 2021.

We are delighted to announce the two first place awardees for the Spring 2021 SOIS Student Research Day!


Kasey Leaf

1st Place Award
Milwaukee Public Library: Facilitating Voting and Promoting Civic Engagement

Kasey’s research topic was inspired by the WUWM 89.7 Lake Effect Segment, “Listen MKE: Milwaukee’s 2020 Election Plan”.  She started her research shortly after listening to Claire Woodall-Vogg, Executive Director of the Milwaukee Election Commission and Joan Johnson, Director of the Milwaukee Public Library (MPL) discuss how the MPL branches were working to help voters.

Kasey is a current MLIS student nearing the end of her program. She is currently working part-time in Youth Services at the Cedarburg Public Library and is excited to begin a full-time position there this fall. In addition to her current focus on teen programming and young adult literature, in her spare time she started a book club geared towards Millennials (The MKE Millennial Book Club) which has been going strong for 2 years.

“Participating in the SOIS Student Research Day taught me that the research and work we do as students is important”. ~Kasey Leaf (MLIS Student)

Be sure the check out Kasey’s project:
Milwaukee Public Library: Facilitating Voting and Promoting Civic Engagement

Abstract: This case study examines how the Milwaukee Public Library helped facilitate voting for the 2020 United States presidential election. It also analyzes how the library acted as a trustworthy institution and encouraged civic engagement in a political climate fraught with ‘fake news,’ misinformation, and misleading rhetoric. The Milwaukee Public Library has long been a partner with the Milwaukee Election Commission to assist with voter registration and to serve as polling sites. (Powell & Shelbourne, 2020) However, with the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent social distancing guidelines, this election looked much different than years past. Additionally, a partisan political battle in Wisconsin’s state government proved to cause confusion for voters across the state on how to correctly and securely cast their ballot. This case study connects current research with past scholarly work on how public libraries are seen as trusted institutions and their history of promoting civic engagement.


Chao Shi

1st Place Award
Workplace Diversity: Productivity Enhancement Core and the Required Managerial Approaches

Chao’s research topic was motivated by the many things that have happened and are still happening in our world: social injustice, xenophobia, trade war, foreign policy, and the hypocrisy of bureaucracy, just to name a few.

Chao is a current undergraduate and is about half way through the program. After graduation, Chao hopes to work in the area of information security, systems analysis, or database administration. Chao is also looking forward to doing some project work for UWM’s Nonprof-IT program this Fall.

“What I wanted to convey through my research is more than just the interrelation between workplace diversity and productivity, and establishing workplace diversity as a universal and win-win strategy, it’s also about putting things in perspective, advocating interracial, intersexual, and intercultural dialogue in a transparent, substantial, and mutual learning environment, and calling upon those in power to make real changes on the existing issues other than lip service.”. ~Chao Shi (BSIST Student)

Be sure the check out Chao’s project:
WORKPLACE DIVERSITY: Productivity Enhancement Core and the Required Managerial Approaches

Abstract:  Workplace Diversity is a holistic concept that denotes the similarities and differences among people working within an organization in terms of age, cultural background, physical abilities and disabilities, race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation. No two persons are completely alike. People are different in not only complex physical, sociological or psychological characteristics but also in their perspectives and prejudices (or preconceptions). Therefore, workplace diversity transcends the recruitment, representation or preferential treatment of employees within an organization. Diversity turns the workforce into heterogeneous and a necessity of employing diversified workforce is there for every organization in current trend, but the intricacy of workplace diversity has become one of the most challenging issues of critical importance in business and organizational management. This paper expounds the definitions of workplace diversity as well as productivity, analyzes the existing relationships between both within organizations, assesses the impacts of workplace diversity on productivity regarding age, gender, and education, and finally provides managerial approaches for organizations to resolve the issues and promote workplace diversity. After examining the various literature and research papers, the findings indicated that diversity in the workplace is a strength for any organization and brings many benefits into organizations to successively enhance productivity, if managed properly. Keywords: workplace, age, gender, education, diversity, productivity, organizations, managerial approaches.

Congratulation to Kasey and Chao and to all the participants of the Spring 2021 SOIS Student Research Day!