Georgia State University sophomore Alexandria Okeke says she hopes to change the world we live in. She’s just taken a great step toward that goal with her paper “A Culture of Stigma: Black Women and Mental Health.” Okeke received the library’s 2013 Undergraduate Research Award last week at the 2013 Georgia State Undergraduate Research Conference. The award recognizes skill and creativity in the application of library information resources for research papers or projects. The paper was written with the guidance of Okeke’s faculty advisor Dr. Osizwe Raena Harwell.
“I’m really happy I was taken seriously,” Okeke said when she received the award. Her impressive paper connects historical views of Black American bodies by White medical professionals, with the goal of understanding why Black women aren’t inclined toward mental health care. Okeke questions why there is a distrust of medical institutions in Black communities while identifying the stereotypical controlling image of the strong Black woman. “I’d never heard anyone talk about this topic ever,” she said.
When she couldn’t find concrete research on the topic, Okeke dove into the literature available. Using the library she accessed article databases like JSTOR, PsycINFO and a variety of EBSCOhost databases. After finding related articles, she scoured their bibliographies for even more sources, which led her to both physical and electronic items in the library’s catalog. Okeke said that she likes to stay late at the library to get her studying done and she just started using research guides for her future papers after being introduced to them by librarian Mandy Swygart-Hobaugh.
Okeke’s research deserves to be “taken seriously” and we’re excited to share her work with the entire research community! Congratulations!