Ottenheimer Library recognizes student with Karen Russ Research Award

The Ottenheimer Library at UA Little Rock has recently recognized a standout student for her impressive research achievements.  Sahana Bettadpura, a pre-med biology student and member of the Donaghey Scholars Honors Program, was awarded the 2023 Karen Russ Memorial Award for Excellence in Research.

Sahana Bettadpura standing by a poster she made for the at the 2023 Research Expo

Bettadapura’s winning research project, titled “Examining TEA’s Barriers to Provide a Safety Net,” explored the Transitional Employment Assistance program, which operates under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families federal block grant. Her  primary advisor Mr. Elroy Willoughby, provided guidance throughout the research process. Bettadapura’s program advisor, Dr. Laura Danforth, has aided her with overall academic support.

Bettadapura presented her research at the 2023 Research Expo on April 21, showcasing her impressive use of government data, including statistics from the Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Labor. Her research was a shining example of how data can be effectively utilized, applied, and visualized to advance academic inquiry.  Bettadapura shared that her hope is “that the findings and recommendations from this study can help in developing a more relevant and progressive TEA service delivery model, and alleviate the prevalence of income disparity and child poverty using a multi-generational approach.”

This is not the first time Bettadapura has been recognized for her academic excellence.  She has previously won a signature experience grant for two consecutive years, as well as a sustainability grant during her sophomore year.  She has also achieved honors status on both the Chancellor’s and Dean’s lists.In addition to her research accomplishments, Bettadapura has co-authored an article that was published in the Acta Pharmacologica Sinica, which can be found in the Ottenheimer Library’s online collection.  Click here to access the article: Pyroptosis and pyroptosis-inducing cancer drugs.  Bettadapura’s accomplishments have been motivated by her  “aspir(ation) to become a physician-scientist with a special interest in promoting health equity, social justice among low-income families, and the well-being of underserved communities in Arkansas.”  The Ottenheimer library faculty and staff are honored to have been able to award the Karen Russ Memorial Award to Bettadapura, who has displayed such astonishing scholarship.

The Ottenheimer Library has established the Karen Russ Memorial Award for Excellence in Research in honor of our late colleague, Karen Russ. Karen served as the government documents librarian for over 20 years and assisted UA Little Rock students and faculty in research, specializing in government information, data, and statistics.

The Karen Russ Memorial Award comes with a prize of $500 and is presented annually to the UA Little Rock student who demonstrates outstanding use of government data in their research.  The Ottenheimer Library faculty and staff applaud Bettadapura for her impressive achievement and dedication to academic excellence.


Contributing Authors: Carolyn Macheak, MLS, Collections Management Coordinator Ottenheimer Library, UA Little Rock; Michelle Malone, MA, Ottenheimer Library, Library Specialist for Digital Learning UA Little Rock; and ChatGPT
Photo Credit: Jessica R. Scott, Ph.D., Associate Director, Donaghey Scholars Honors Program, UA Little Rock
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