By: RYAN LOHMAN
SOUTH BEND – Social conventions deem picking a favorite child somewhat shameful, and perhaps rightfully so. Likewise, the editors of the four journals unveiled at the Undergraduate Research Conference hesitated to name favorites from this year’s selections. But they were willing to shamelessly identify a few stand-out papers, well worth a read.
The ‘Undergraduate Research Journal,’ ‘Analecta,’ ‘Undergraduate Research Journal of History’ and ‘New Views on Gender’ explore such a vast array of topics that it seems unlikely one would spend too much time browsing without being caught up in one article or another. But if you want to jump to the highlights, and science is your interest, the ‘Undergraduate Research Journal’ is where to start.
Joe Eggleston edited the ‘Undergraduate Research Journal.’ This year he was captivated and at times bewildered by some strange, new science. “I feel pretty confident in my ability to digest something I’ve read,” Eggleston said. “But still, I don’t think I can really talk intelligently about Patrick Stevens’ paper about pathogenesis, the beginning of disease.”
According to Eggleston, Stevens’ paper describes the science behind pinpointing the birth of disease within a cell and is, in a word, intriguing. “It was really wellput together,” Eggleston said. “That one, I thought, was kind of a standout.”
If science is not your thing, IU South Bend’s literary journal, ‘Analecta,’ features submissions from poets, visual artists and other story tellers. Editor Angie Rice included multiple award-winning entries in this year’s edition, including Lucas J.
Burkett’s short story, “I Never Meant to Cause You Any Pain,” a story about, “the different levels of pain in a character’s past and present,” according to Burkett.
The story includes a masochistic protagonist dating a sadist who bars him from talking on their date. “What happens is that Melinda tells Stan that he cannot talk throughout dinner, and Melinda disappears,” Burkett explained. “Throughout the story, Stan is trying to
find Melinda without talking. In the end, it gets into Stan’s back story, his history, in which his stockbroker father left for New York with his high school sweetheart. The story is confronting Stan’s father’s legacy, but with his own sexuality.”
The story won Burkett an award for best fiction entry. But if non-fiction is the only thing that can hold your interest, many true stories are told in the ‘Undergraduate Journal of History.’
Veronica Cruz edited this year’s history journal and said that she opened her journal with the strongest paper, Andrew Boomhower’s study of the term “fascism.”
“He’s looking at how fascism, as a term, has been misunderstood, how people throw it around a lot,” Cruz said. “It’s a very strong paper. It’s the first one in the journal for a reason.”
It was not hard for these editors to identify strong work in this year’s journals.
At the end of the conversation, they all agreed on one thing, best summed up by Eggleston.
“I think everyone should read all of them,” Eggleston said. “This is something that not every campus has. It’s something that really celebrates the excellence in the academic writing that we have at IUSB. That’s not just me towing the party line. It’s really incredible to read some of the papers that have come through.”