New student-run journal focuses on research

Students now have the opportunity to have their original research published in Inquiry, the University’s new student-run research journal.

Co-founder Alison Matela, who graduated last year, said she was interested in starting the project after serving as a student representative on a retention committee.

She saw many of her best peers leaving GW for other universities, some of which offered research publications. Along with senior Megan Dixon, she seized on the opportunity to create a new, student-run journal.

“There is great research going on by undergrads,” said Anita Vin, an editorial director. “It’s important to highlight that.”

The first issue appeared in spring 2004 after a year of planning, and three out of 15 submissions were printed. The essays in the spring issue include a piece about the politics of judicial selection, a study on author Ayn Rand and an essay on socioeconomic conditions in Argentina.

Editorial director Andrew MacPherson, a senior, said Inquiry will benefit GW by offering a range of research options to students.

“It’s all about bringing the community together from all different walks of academic life,” he said.

Inquiry will be published annually every spring with works spanning all academic disciplines. All entries must be original research and have an accompanying endorsement by a faculty member.

Anonymous professors evaluate the entries and suggest which should be published. The deadline for entries is Nov. 15. Editors urged interested students to visit the publication’s Web site at www.gwu.edu/~inquiry.

Vin said students benefit from the journal because the experience is a “great way to build your resume.”

For the 2005 edition, editors said they hope to receive up to 20 entries and select seven or eight for publication. This year’s edition will also include a letters section for those in the middle of their research. Authors can report on the status of their projects through a one-page report.

With three of the publication’s top officers graduating this year, Dixon is looking to younger students to keep the journal in print. She said she is confident that Inquiry will continue after she leaves. Inquiry will remain a permanent campus fixture unlike other GW research journals that were published only sporadically before dissolving, Dixon said.

“Students are so dedicated that it will keep running,” Dixon said.

Several administrators, including Carol Sigelman, associate vice president for research and graduate studies, were instrumental in making the journal a reality. Sigelman told Dixon and Matela to present their idea to the Advisory Council on Research to gauge the interest of University officials.

Inquiry is a registered student organization and receives Student Association funding for its printing costs. It gets additional support from Sigelman and Robert Chernak, senior vice president for Student and Academic Support Services.

“(GW) liked the idea of undergraduates getting more involved,” Sigelman said.

She also urged students to “exploit the opportunities at a research university like GW” and strive to “look in depth at their field of study.”

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