Maps and charts enhance, deepen content of award-winning senior essays

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  • Two male students pose shoulder to shoulder in front of archways. Tall student at left wears a dark-blue jacket, dark-blue tie, and light blue and white striped shirt with button-down collar. He has short, reddish brown wavy hair. The student to his left is shorter, with short dark hair and a close-cropped beard and mustache. He wears a dark blue tie and a blue-and-white checkered shirt. There is a wall carving of a figure between the windows to his left.
    Max E. Teirstein '22 and Ethan Treiman '22
  • Blond student with short hair and blue eyes, wearing a light-blue shirt open at the neck, stands against a background of vegetation with long green cascading leaves
    Evan J. Parker '22
May 26, 2022

The Library Map Prize selection committee unanimously selected three students as winners of the 2022 prizes. The Map Prize recognizes students whose senior essays or projects make use of one or more maps or charts in substantive ways. Students may create the maps or refer to maps found online or in the library’s special collections. These prizewinning seniors illustrated their essays with maps they made themselves, analyzing and fully integrating them throughout the narrative in support of each essay’s thesis.

Ethan Treiman (Ezra Stiles College)
First prize was awarded to Treiman for his essay “Constructing Colma,” a close examination of the town of Colma, California—the nation’s only necropolis, with, as Treiman notes, 17 cemeteries covering 75 percent of the town’s area. Treiman relies on maps to trace those physical features that identify Colma as what he calls “an example of the current and future ‘city cemetery.’” The judges noted that “Treiman’s fascinating essay includes both handmade and consulted reference maps, in addition to numerous photographs, to ground the reader’s understanding of the history of American cemeteries, their locations, and the experience of viewing the intersections of life and death within the cemeteries.” They praised Treiman’s maps—created with paper, glue, and analog media—as “visually appealing and easy for the reader to understand.” To provide a broad context, Treiman also incorporated other maps he referenced. Treiman’s advisor was Elihu Rubin, Associate Professor of Urbanism at the Yale School of Architecture and Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Urban Studies Major. Read Ethan Treiman’s full essay at https://elischolar.library.yale.edu/library_map_prize/13/.

Evan J. Parker (Morse College)
The prize committee awarded Parker Honorable Mention for his essay, “An Assessment of Geographic and Taxonomic Biases in Research on Climate Change-Related Range Shifts.” Through analysis of search terms results from various databases, Parker identified biases in current ecological literature—with regard to both geographic study areas and impact on individual species. Based on these results, Parker advocates that scientists must “more strategically design studies to include diverse geographic regions” and fairly represent the redistribution of species in response to changing climate. Parker generated the maps for his essay with GIS software. “Considering the major challenge the world is facing due to climate change,” the judges noted, “it is imperative to understand the scope and footprint of range-shifts literature. The maps created by Parker provide an easy-to-understand visualization to guide researchers and funding agencies to invest efforts in uncharted areas.” Parker’s advisor was Walter Jetz, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and his Colloquium Mentor was Kealoha Freidenburg, Lecturer in the Yale School of the Environment. Read Evan Parker’s full essay at https://elischolar.library.yale.edu/library_map_prize/14/.

Max E. Teirstein (Saybrook College)
Teirstein also won Honorable Mention for his essay, “An Index of Community Priorities to Inform Local Governance in New Haven,” in which he identified critical indicators missing in federal, state, and community environmental justice mapping tools. Through interviews with top community leaders, he designed a Community Priorities Index (CPI) for New Haven, based on “grassroots perspectives on the city’s greatest challenges” in the areas of health, environmental, climate, economic, and social justice. Teirstein presented his findings in a series of color-coded maps, based on his analysis of public domain environmental justice web-mapping platforms. Although this senior project focused on New Haven, the prize committee found “the study’s methodology sound and applicable to any community in the United States and potentially most countries.” “We look forward,” the judges added, “to future work by Teirstein to develop the mentioned web-mapping application version of the CPI.” Teirstein’s advisors were Gerald Torres, Professor of Environmental Justice at the Yale School of the Environment, and Jeffrey Park, Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Read Max Teirstein’s full essay at https://elischolar.library.yale.edu/library_map_prize/15/.

The first-prize award is $500; Honorable Mention winners are awarded $250 each. All prizewinners received certificates of award at their residential colleges’ commencement ceremonies. Their essays are published in EliScholar, the library’s publishing platform for Yale University researchers who wish to disseminate their work to a wide audience. 

The 2022 Library Map Prize committee members were Kayleigh Bohemier, Science Research Support Librarian; Kelly Blanchat, Undergraduate Teaching and Outreach Librarian; Lori Bronars, Life Sciences Librarian; Roberta L. Dougherty, Librarian for Middle East Studies and Librarian for African Studies (interim); George Miles, Curator, Western Americana; Miriam Olivares, GIS Librarian and Prize Chair; Anu Paul, Digital Imaging Manager; and Rachel Sperling, Librarian for Environmental Studies.

The submission and judging process for next year’s prizes will take place in late May 2023.

Read more about all Yale Library prizes.

—By Deborah Cannarella