Spotlighting Student Scholarship

Undergraduate students write new chapter with inaugural research journal

Written by Mike Thee
May 11, 2017

An annual event highlighting the scholarly activities of our students will be even a little more special than usual this year.

As part of the Seattle University Undergraduate Research Association’s Celebration of Student Research, which takes place this Friday, a new journal will officially be launched: SUURJ—the Seattle University Undergraduate Research Journal. (The launch of the inaugural volume takes place at 9 a.m., Friday, May 12, in the LeRoux Conference Room, STCN 160.) 

Full access to the journal's first edition is here: http://scholarworks.seattleu.edu/suurj/

The first undergraduate research journal the university has ever had, SUURJ showcases interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary research developed, edited and published by Seattle University students at all stages of their undergraduate careers. 

The inaugural edition includes 10 essays from 8 different majors and the University Core. “One of the reasons SUURJ is such a unique journal is its cross-disciplinary makeup,” says Wiley Martin (English, ’18), an editor of the journal. “Topics include biology, history, computer science, English, microbiology, philosophy, and psychology.” 

The idea for the journal began with a group of students in the Writing Center who were looking for a platform for publishing student research. Their proposal for a student journal was accepted as a joint venture by the Office of Research Services and Sponsored Projects, the Provost’s Office and the College of Arts and Sciences. 

Following the journal’s approval, three classes were designed for student editors. “In fall 2016, the editors created mission and value statements for the journal and selected academic works from the more than 30 submissions that best exemplified those values,” says Jane Kidder (English, ’17), also an editor of the journal. 

Work on the journal kicked into high gear in winter and spring quarters, with eight editors doing their thing, and nine faculty content editors ensuring the essays were accurate and well-researched. 

Advising the student editors throughout the entire the process is Molly Clark Hillard, associate professor of English. “National models show that undergraduate research journals thrive best with a dedicated faculty to serve as institutional memory,” says Wiley, “and that is why Professor Hillard came on board as faculty editor to coordinate the project.” 

“Our students were very serious about creating a journal that reflects Seattle University,” says Hillard. “I’m especially proud of how hard the editorial team worked to make sure that the student essays selected were simultaneously very diverse and reflective of the mission and values statement they created. We’re excited to showcase essays that cover matters like ecology, dental health, gender identity and bias, refugee mental health, disability studies, stress in college students and reparations for Black slavery.” 

Speaking on the value of having an undergraduate research journal at SU, Wiley says, “I think it’s important to show college students that their work—research that they’re passionate about—is valued by more people than just their professors. So often will students pour hours of work, time and effort into their research, whether that be in the lab or the library, only to show it to one or two other people. SUURJ is a platform that celebrates such effort, and publishes it for all to see.” 

Kidder agrees. “SUURJ is also a great professional development opportunity for both student authors and student editors alike. Student editors are trained in copyediting, and student authors are given the opportunity to experience an in-depth editing process of their work that will help prepare them for writing and publishing professionally in their field.” 

Hillard hopes the journal will “bear the specific stamp of our remarkable Seattle University students: people who are passionate about social justice, doing research that seeks to make a more just and humane world.” 

For more information on the journal, please visit SUURJ.