2023 Western Libraries Undergraduate Research Award Winners

Published on December 14, 2023

WLURA 2022-23 winners

Five undergraduate students are the first to win a Western Libraries Undergraduate Research Award (WLURA) for their outstanding research. 

Award recipients, Sarah Al-Saoud, Katarina Jovanovic, Richard Martinez Loyola, Caitlin E. Mungall, and Amber Yixuan Wu, come from a wide range of disciplines across Western. Their research projects cover topics such as neurodevelopmental disorders, children’s literature, pictorial encoding, polycystic ovary syndrome, and even the origins of life. 

“There is a tendency to think that only professors and perhaps graduate students ‘do research.’ But in our university context, undergraduates are engaged in various types of research as well, and some of it is highly sophisticated,” said Jason Dyck, current chair of the WLURA Adjudication Committee. 

The WLURAs are a new initiative by Western Libraries to highlight the diversity of research outputs by undergraduate students. Applications are due each year on April 30. 

To be considered for a WLURA, applicants need to submit a research project from one of their courses and answer four reflection questions on their research process. They also need to submit a bibliography in the citation style of their discipline. 

Winners receive a certificate and a cheque for $1,000. Their projects are available for viewing on Western’s institutional repository Scholarship@Western. 

“I'm delighted to see my work published and searchable now on Google Scholar!” said WLURA winner and Medical Biophysics and Biochemistry student, Amber Yixuan Wu. 


Sarah Al-Saoud
Project Title: A Transdiagnostic Examination of Cognitive Heterogeneity in Children and Adolescents with Neurodevelopmental Disorders 
Course: Psychology 4891E (Honours Thesis) 
Instructor: Loretta Norton

Katarina Jovanovic 
Project Title: False Recognition: Revisiting the Account for Pictorial Encoding 
Course: Psychology 1100E (Method in General Psychology) 
Instructor: Stephen Van Hedger  
Richard Martinez Loyola
Project Title: Quetzalcoatl in Children's Mythology
Course: Spanish 3531F (Myths, Legends, and Oral Traditions)
Instructor: Victoria Wolff
Caitlin E. Mungall
Project Title: Social Supports for Adolescent and Young Adult Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Patients: A Scoping Review  
Course: Health Sciences 3910G (Fundamentals of Academic Communication in the Health Sciences) 
Instructor: Shauna Burke 
Amber Yixuan Wu 
Project Title: On the Origins of Life — Modelling the Initial Stages of Complex Coacervate Droplet Formation  
Course: Medical Biophysics 4970E (Project in Medical Biophysics) 
Instructor: Styliani Consta