Student-led research journal grows ahead of second volume

Media Credit: Jack Fonseca | Staff Photographer

Juniors Logan Bartholomew, Maggie Steiner and Delaney Foster are all staff members of The GW Undergraduate Review.

GW’s undergraduate research journal has 10 times the number of members it began with two years ago and is looking to expand research on campus even further.

The GW Undergraduate Review now has 30 members, up from the 15 students the publication boasted last academic year and the three undergraduates who founded the group two years ago. Students involved in the review said they hope to continue to expand the journal in its second volume by increasing the number of undergraduate research opportunities and boosting funding for young researchers.

The student organization published seven articles in at least six different disciplines in its first journal last year after the Office of the Vice President for Research agreed to provide the group with $10,000 each year. The group now has 10 students on its executive board.

“That’s something we’re really proud of is showcasing a lot of different departments at this school,” Maggie Steiner, a junior and the editor in chief of the journal, said.

Steiner said the team of students is prepared to release the second volume of the journal on April 18. She said the journal has received 18 full-length submissions – in topics ranging from history to public health – as of Jan. 28, but the group has yet to select the submissions that will be included in the second volume.

She said the group has been working to create more events for editors and members of the journal to learn about the peer review process and receive more “hands-on” training from staff in Gelman Library. Steiner said the group hosted a networking event in the fall called the Undergraduate Research Showcase, which included student and faculty research presentations. She added that the group also cosponsored the annual GW STEM Symposium in October.

Member of the group are also in early discussions with OVPR about engaging more students in undergraduate research and increasing funds to support research projects.

Steiner said the group’s smaller, research-oriented events typically draw between 20 to 45 attendees, while the group’s release event last April attracted nearly 100 people.

Steiner said members of the journal worked with students at the School Without Walls for the first time last semester by partnering with the Nashman Center to help high school students complete their senior research projects. Members of the journal held mentoring and editing sessions, she said.

Robert Miller, the vice president for research, said the undergraduate research journal is an “important showcase” of research activity on GW’s campus.

“Publishing one’s work and adding to our collective knowledge is at the foundation of scholarship and scientific discovery,” Miller said in an email. “By writing, editing or reviewing submissions, students will develop skills that prepare them for success, regardless of whether they pursue research-related careers.”

Logan Bartholomew, a junior and a managing editor for the journal, said he is “excited” to continue working closely with OVPR to engage more undergraduates in research in a more “institutionalized” way.

“I am really excited for where this is going to take the research team at GW because I seriously see some potential here, and the things that have come out of research already can only be bettered by engaging and solidifying the research scene at GW,” Bartholomew said.

Isabel Wolfer, a senior and the lead editor for humanities and social sciences for the journal, said she leads a team of about six editors who select submissions and work on “perfecting” them for publication.

“Even though GWUR started as a STEM publication, we have ironically received far more submissions in humanities and social sciences both this year and last,” Wolfer said in an email. “We also strive to underscore the interdisciplinary character of the journal through our programming and find points of intersection among the disciplines we represent.”

Aleksandra Dagunts, a senior and the director of internal affairs for the journal, said the group is also planning an event for GW Research Days in April featuring a keynote speaker who will discuss the importance of interdisciplinary research on campus.

Dagunts added that universities should have “evidence” that research is being conducted at the undergraduate level to raise the school’s research profile.

“It’s really important if universities want to elevate their undergraduate research both in quality and participation,” she said.

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