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Creation Date



Pictured is 2015 honorable mention winner McKenzie Tavoda with Dr. Leland Estes, History (far left), Dr. Stephanie Takaragawa, Sociology (left), and Mr. Kevin Ross (right).


History/Peace Studies

Title of Entry

A “Land You Could Not Escape yet Almost Didn’t Want to Leave:” Japanese American Identity in Manzanar Internment Camp Gardens

Supporting Faculty

Dr. Stephanie Takaragawa and Dr. Leland Estes

Research Description

Ms. Tavoda’s project focuses on the cultural identity of Japanese Americans at the Manzanar Relocation Center in Central California. She asserts that the use of Japanese gardening techniques in inhospitable soil and weather conditions were a visual representation of the gardeners’ freedom of self, which enhanced their community.

Essay on the Research Process and Use of the Library

Ms. Tavoda explored the Huell Howser Archives, located in the Leatherby Libraries. She met with archivist Angel Diaz, who directed her to an out-of-print book and two episodes of California’s Gold, a television travel program on California. She used Discover! and JSTOR as well as secondary sources from the library’s book collections. In addition, Ms. Tavoda took several trips to the Manzanar National Historic Site to learn from the rangers and to analyze the gardens. As she pursues her graduate degree, she intends to use exhibits, special collections, and rare books in libraries to fully develop her research.

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