Student-published research journal focuses on liberal arts and human sciences
Philologia, a new undergraduate research journal in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, rolled off the press in April 2009. The journal is a product of one student’s vision and the effort of an 11-member student production staff. The 72-page, full-color magazine contains research manuscripts, creative scholarship, and featured articles written by the student editorial board.
Student-inspired and student-driven, Philologia is a credit to Dylan Greenwood, a senior political science major from Winston-Salem, N.C. An honors scholar, Greenwood researched various journals in 2007 and said he decided, “We can do this.”
Greenwood ushered his proposal through an approval process, selected both student editorial and faculty boards, and kept the publication on track to premiere before his 2009 graduation. Of Virginia Tech’s 25 benchmark institutions, 10 have undergraduate research journals, none of which are dedicated to disciplines in the liberal arts or human sciences.
“Motivated by their belief in the value of undergraduate research and in their ability to create a novel venue for its promotion in the college, these students have forged an organizational structure based on a sustainable future leadership model,” said Dean Sue Ott Rowlands. “Remarkable.”
Diana Ridgwell, director of student development and the Undergraduate Research Institute in the college, said Philologia creates an opportunity to “showcase students’ work, serve as a recruiting tool, and highlight the strengths of student-faculty collaboration.”
Overall, the editors of Philologia received 36 submissions. Greenwood said narrowing down the field was not an easy task. “Although there were some papers that the board had a general consensus on ... we had others where good hearty discussion would occur,” he said.
The staff settled on four research manuscripts that delve into vastly different topics.
- Using the Democratic Republic of the Congo as an example, Jon Crain, a senior majoring in international studies with a minor in Spanish from Oak Hill, Va., argues that the credibility of civil society literature is limited in scenarios where state capacity is curbed. Crain’s paper reflects two years of research for his University Honors thesis, which he also presented at the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Meeting of the Minds.
- David Ellrod, a senior history major from Fairfax, Va., researched how public image and the media may have exerted pressure on National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) during the mid-1980’s to proceed with the ill-fated launch of the Challenger despite the persistence of mechanical problems.
- Lizzy Carraway, a 2008 graduate with a major in English and a minor in women’s studies from Charlottesville, Va., examines “Winter Dreams” by F. Scott Fitzgerald and “Mother” by Sherwood Anderson, two short works with enigmatic portrayals of female characters. Carraway also presented this research at the ACC Meeting of the Minds.
The student editorial board also produced four featured articles that deal with various projects by fellow liberal arts and human sciences students. Those pieces are dedicated to Civil War apparel design; studio lighting and set design; how poets writing in Latin during Roman times analyzed their own poetry; and an analysis of the Divine Feminine.
A section was also devoted to creative scholarship that features the poetic works of Kathleen DeSouza, an English major from Vienna, Va., and Kimberly Williams, a 2008 graduate with a sociology and psychology double major and a minor in English from Ettrick, Va.
“Philologia fosters a dialogue across multiple disciplines, highlighting the ideas and discoveries of undergraduate researchers,” said Caitlin Laverdiere, a junior majoring in English and economics from Springfield, Va., the 2009-10 editor-in-chief. “Philologia demonstrates the breadth and richness that constitutes research … and gives researchers within the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences a voice.”
Laverdiere has already selected her editorial board for 2010 and announced the call for submissions for Philologia, Volume II.
- For more information on this topic, contact Jean Elliott at (540) 231-5915.
Philologia is edited by a group of students in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. They hail from various disciplines and work during the academic year to select quality undergraduate research in the journal. Read more.
Undergraduate research opportunities at Virginia Tech are virtually endless, allowing students to work collaboratively with faculty who challenge them to think critically and creatively. These research opportunities are designed to develop undergraduate students into knowledgeable and competitive scholars. Read more.
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