The Mendel Sato Research Award is designed to attract outstanding original research projects from courses taught in departments throughout Washington University in St. Louis' Danforth Campus that draw from research conducted with the collections in the Julian Edison Department of Special Collections.

The Julian Edison Department of Special Collections is interested in a broad scope of projects and methods and can range from film to book arts and beyond. Projects can be in any medium from written papers to multimedia projects. We encourage bold applications of research that help us to understand our holdings in innovative new ways.

Dr. Mendel Sato

The vision and funding for this program are provided by a generous endowment established by Dr. Mendel Sato, who hopes “to help awardees do well for themselves and enable them to do good for others.”

Sato received an undergraduate degree in biology from Washington University in 1976 and a doctoral degree in dental medicine, also from WashU, in 1979. Today, Dr. Sato and his wife, Sharon, live in Honolulu, Hawaii, where he operates a dental practice alongside his two sons. Inspired by his days as a student at WashU, where he learned by collaborating with faculty members, Sato created an endowment to provide ongoing funding that encourages student exploration into the archives of Washington University Libraries. Forty years after leaving Washington University, Sato is helping today’s students have the same kind of powerful learning experience he had.

Application Process

An application must include the following:

  1. Completed application submitted via the online portal.
  2. Description of Research: A 500-word description of the research methods and information-gathering process used. Include the collections used and staff who were of use to you in the completion of the project.
  3. A final version of the research project. For written projects, submit your document. For media projects, submit the research project in its media format (e.g. the PPT file of your poster slide or slide deck). For web-based projects, submit the URL in a Word document.
  4. A statement of faculty support from the instructor who assigned the research project.


Submissions from 2024


Identity Insecurity as Observed in Eugene O’Neill: Examining America’s Most Tragic Playwright in the Sociological Lens, Audrey Langston-Wiebe


Welcome to the Masquerade, Phoebe Santalla

Submissions from 2023


"Protests Will Succeed with Persistence": Student Activism for Curricular Change at Washington University in St. Louis, 1968-1990, Lexie Jordon


Flat Out Rebellion: The Rule-Breaking Career of Designer-Illustrator Seymour Chwast, Danielle Ridolfi

Submissions from 2022


Things Terrible and Unguessable: The Turn of the Screw and the Visual Vocabulary of Gothic Horror, Emily Bielski


United States v. Black Jack: Poverty and Welfare in the St. Louis Courts, Kyle Melles

Submissions from 2021


‘To Serve and Protect’ Who?: The History of University Police Departments, Olivia Danner


Modern forms | Harris Armstrong | Faith & Congregation, Huzefa Jawadwala