Milena Malaver | Contributing Writer
FIU is launching its first undergraduate research journal, an interdisciplinary research journal aimed at publishing undergrad students.
Xuan Jiang, assistant director of FIU’s Center for Excellence in Writing saw the potential of undergraduate students in academic writing through her work there. She first approached Vanessa Sohan, associate director of the MA in English, with the idea of the journal in November of 2021.
“I asked for her to be my mentor and she agreed. After that we met every month to follow up on research ideas,” said Jiang.
The journal currently has 15 student editors and 15 faculty reviewers who work closely with students to ensure that they are receiving support and feedback for their submissions.
“We don’t aim for expert writers who have published already: our goal is to encourage more first-time academic writers,” said Jiang.
Jiang explained that for anyone, getting their research published is a difficult feat, but for undergrads especially opportunities for publication can be limited.
“They [faculty] think students are apprentices but, frankly speaking, many times students have wonderful ideas which faculty members cannot think of,” said Jiang. “This journal itself is progressive because we want to make students’ voices heard.”
Jiang encourages students who have term papers to submit their proposals and manuscripts for publication for the next deadline which is in the spring semester.
“Essentially, we don’t reject papers, unless they don’t have a mentor approval, or they don’t want to follow up,” said Jiang. “So we tried to give student writers maximum opportunities to publish a quality paper.”
Jonathan Borroto, an undergrad philosophy student who serves as head editorial intern and website designer says he had a difficult time finding humanities-related research opportunities at FIU.
“I think for a lot of students, they don’t really get research opportunities in classes, except if they’re in the STEM field, in the humanities is pretty limited,” said Borroto.
Julia Hodak, an undergraduate student majoring in writing and rhetoric who serves as a student editor and website designer for the journal said that she hopes the journal inspires students. .
“If you can see the journal more in classrooms, to really encourage the continued process of learning,” said Hodak. “Not just finishing a paper and it sits in your flash drive for the rest of your life, it’s knowing it can be something that can be published.”
The journal is hosted only digitally right now, but physical copies are expected to be published next spring.
Jiang explained that most people who worked on the journal weren’t paid, and they have limited resources for the journal. They were able to launch through sponsorships and collaborations with Humanity’s Edge, Center for Excellence in Writing, FIU Liberal Studies, FIU Libraries, the Honors College, FIU Research and Development, MARC U*STAR, and the Undergraduate Research Society.