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University Libraries

Announcing the 2022 Library Award Winners

The University Libraries present annual awards for international students, teacher education majors or minors, and published student writers. Students apply or are nominated early in the winter term, and a committee for each award selects the winners. This year, each honor includes a $500 award. 

All are welcome to attend the awards ceremony at 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday, April 12 in the Gathering Place, Roesch Library second floor. Join us in congratulating these outstanding students. 

Lauren Durham: Brother Frank Ruhlman, S.M., Award of Excellence for Literary Achievement

Lauren Durham is a senior from Versailles, Ohio, double majoring in English and communication. She was an active student in the Core program. Throughout her four years at UD, she has devoted much of her time to writing for UD publications, including University of Dayton Magazine and Flyer News, where she is the print editor-in-chief. She has loved getting to know the UD community through in-depth interviews and writing stories about professors, staff, alumni and students she may not have met otherwise. Beyond writing, Lauren has enjoyed getting to know the Dayton community as a member of the Dayton Civic Scholars. She is also an intern in the marketing and communications department at Dayton Children’s Hospital. After graduation, Lauren plans to work at a public relations firm.

The Ruhlman committee noted Lauren’s strong reporting  in several categories of journalism including news and human interest. Her whole portfolio was strong but particular standouts were “A day in the life with President Eric F. Spina” and “UD administration disinvites UN Special Rapporteur, women’s reproductive rights advocate” from Flyer News.

Laxmi Vaka: Rev. Theodore Koehler, S.M., International Student Award

Laxmi Vaka, a first-year graduate student from India, is excelling in her studies in computer science. She earned a 4.0 GPA her first semester. She also works two jobs, both as a graduate assistant in the School of Business Administration and a grader in the computer science department. Prior to attending UD, she helped support her family financially and volunteered as a primary school teacher in India for Teach for Change. Laxmi said she strongly believes that “education … is God’s best gift in the current world of disorder.”

Stephen Hall, director of the Center for Project Excellence in the School of Business Administration, says Laxmi is a conscientious and dedicated student. “She has a natural curiosity and desire to learn and help others.”

Ally Kaiser: Dr. Nicoletta Hary Award

Ally Kaiser is a sophomore from Fort Recovery, Ohio, with majors in adolescent to young adult English education and English and a minor in music. Ally has an excellent GPA and multiple campus jobs, and she is involved in student organizations that involve community service. One of Ally’s roles on campus is as a student leader and research assistant in the Paul Laurence Dunbar initiative, in which she merges her passions for music and language as she builds an online Dunbar Library and Archive. Minnita Daniel-Cox, associate professor of music, Ally’s private voice instructor and leader of the Dunbar project, says, “Ally is a wonderful example of the benefits of an interdisciplinary education, and her scholastic journey thus far has been a wonderful reflection of the characteristics of a Marianist tradition. She performs with scholastic rigor and a heart for God and is a light to all around her.”

Ally hopes to teach at the high school or collegiate level and carry elements of the Marianist educational values into her own classroom. In that spirit, Ally says, “Each student I will have will be fundamentally different with different learning styles and personal needs, and I strive to be the teacher that celebrates their uniqueness and challenges them to succeed through that.”


The Library Awards committees and the faculty and staff in the University Libraries congratulate the honorees and thank all the applicants for their inspiring submissions. For more information about the Library Awards, visit

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