MONMOUTH, ILLINOIS (May 17, 2021) — The latest edition of one of the leading multidisciplinary undergraduate research journals in the United States is back after a short hiatus — and it is back in a big way.

The 12th edition of Monmouth College's Midwest Journal of Undergraduate Research is a double issue featuring research articles by undergraduate students from nine US colleges and universities. The schools' size ranges from residential liberal-arts colleges to a state flagship research university.Topics explored in the double issue include women's representation in health-care on American TV from 1965-2019, an exploration of Quebecois French rap, and "Bodies and Boundaries During the COVID-19 Pandemic."Monmouth's students drive the journal, published annually since its founding in 2010. The pandemic forced MJUR editors to pause the publication's 2020 edition with a few months left in the publication process.With Monmouth students back on campus for most of the 2020-21 academic year, that allowed MJUR's ten student editors to review the 55 submissions from schools around the world. They selected five more articles to join the four that had been accepted for the 2020 edition."MJUR is a perfect fit for Monmouth College as a liberal-arts institution," said Monmouth faculty member Andre Audette, who serves as one of the journal's half-dozen faculty advisers. "This really is the best of the liberal arts. We get submissions from several different disciplines. We debate their merits intellectually and what's a good fit for the journal. It represents the best of what we do at Monmouth College."Faculty-adviser Michelle Holschuh Simmons said she enjoys the opportunity to work with some of the College's top students in putting together the journal."I enjoy getting to know the very brightest students on the Monmouth College campus," said Simmons, who has worked with MJUR since 2016. "We have amazing student editors, and I enjoy meeting the students from all the different majors. This is an opportunity for me to work as a colleague with students, and that has been a really gratifying experience."'A dream experience'One of those students, Gunnar Leaf ('21) of Knoxville, Illinois, said having the opportunity to work on the journal was high on his list of academic experiences at Monmouth."I'm an English major, and I love language," said Leaf, who hopes to find a professional position in editing or publishing before pursuing a master's degree in writing. "Being able to gather all this knowledge from this is really a dream experience for an English major. I just got done writing my final thesis for the department, and as I was writing it, it occurred to me that it was really a product of everything I've learned at MJUR, thinking as I was writing it, 'Is it meeting what we look for possible publication?' That's proof that MJUR has changed me for the better as a writer."Coordinating editor Logan Evans, a biochemistry major from Farmington, Illinois, leads MJUR's research team."It's been a very good way for me to develop my own writing skills, reading comprehension, and my own research skills as well — seeing what goes into these submissions and how to make a good research article," said Evans, who plans to pursue patent law after earning a doctorate in chemistry at the University of Iowa.Disciplines represented in the latest edition include anthropology, elementary education, French, history, international affairs, media and communications, music, nursing, philosophy, and psychology. One of the articles, titled "'She Is Nothing If Not a Strategist': The Influence of Biologist Bertha Lutz's Scientific Perspective on Pan-American Feminism," was written by 2020 Monmouth graduate Hadley Smithhisler, who is now studying law at Indiana University."There are a good number of undergraduate research journals, but they tend to be in one discipline, or perhaps a range of disciplines, such as the social sciences," said Simmons. "There are only a few multidisciplinary undergraduate research-journals in the country, so we're really proud to be one of the leading ones."Administrative assistant Amjad Karkout, a 2018 Monmouth graduate, is the submissions coordinator for MJUR and assists with its design. He also worked on MJUR as a student, calling it "one of the most rewarding experiences for me as an undergraduate."

"I was the design editor, so I was reviewing articles as well as working on the design," he said. "It's really rewarding to have the final product and touch it in your hands, like 'This is my baby.' So much of what I learned at Monmouth College was outside of the classroom through experiences like MJUR."

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