Sato Research Award

A photo of a handwritten piece within the collection being studied.

The Mendel Sato Research Award is designed to attract outstanding original research projects from courses taught in departments throughout Washington University’s Danforth Campus. These projects must draw from research conducted with 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 that draw from research conducted with the collections 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. 

Award Details 

  • Each winning student will receive a prize of $500.00. Awards are subject to taxes. 
  •  Winning projects and essays will be preserved in the University Libraries’ Open Scholarship Institutional Repository with access open to the public.
  • The University Libraries will display the names of students and faculty mentors of winning submissions, and they will be published on the University Libraries’ website and in promotional printed materials. 

Eligible Students 

Any Washington University student at any class level in any discipline who has completed a research project in any format using materials from the Julian Edison Department of Special Collections for a credit course during the summer 2023, fall 2023, or spring 2024 semesters is eligible to participate in the 2023-2024 competition. Only one project per course may be submitted by each student.

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 (or almost complete draft if necessary) 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. 

Submission Deadline: May 13, 2024, at 5:00 pm for projects completed in courses during the 2023-2024 academic year.

Winners will be notified by June 14, 2024.


A judging panel composed of University Libraries’ staff and Washington University faculty will evaluate entries based on each applicant’s research strategy and personal learning as summarized in the description of the research project. 

About Dr. 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.