Six editions, 44 papers; 16 disciplines, and counting
Sevil Nakisli, a lifelong math lover, is not all that comfortable with writing. But she is really enthusiastic about her discipline and believes in the need to clearly communicate how the study of quantity, structure and space shapes the world.
“Math is everywhere,” said Nakisli ’16, who hopes to teach math and eventually earn a Ph.D. “But a lot of people in math don’t like to write. I’d like to see the people in the math department write what about what they are doing and have it published.”
She has done just that, by publishing her paper, “Riemann Sphere and Stereographic Projection” in the College’s sixth annual Journal of Undergraduate Research. The paper, which is dotted with diagrams and formulas, concerns the ways in which a sphere can be used to map precise locations. Nakisli wrote it for her complex analysis class with Associate Professor Jamal Teymouri and found herself wanting to go farther.
“Riemann Sphere and Stereographic Projection” is one of five papers included in the College’s 2015 undergraduate research journal, which was published earlier this spring. And it represents the first offering in the area of math – an important step toward representing a true cross-section of the top academic work at Saint Rose.
“Many of our submissions come from students in humanities and social sciences, because classes in those disciplines often culminate in a final research essay,” said Brian Sweeney, an assistant professor of English who is the journal’s editor. “But for students in disciplines where research takes other forms, converting that research into an essay involves an additional step. At events like the Undergraduate Research Symposium I basically scout for talent, reaching out to students in underrepresented disciplines and encouraging them to take that step.”
Launched in 2009, the journal publishes only the top papers submitted. Faculty members from across the disciplines review submissions. And successful student-authors are required to work on revisions with a faculty supervisor and the journal editor – a process that can be just as rigorous as writing the original paper.
Ryane Straus, an associate professor of political science department founded the journal as she noticed impressive work in her classes and saw that undergraduates had few venues in which to publish. Since then, the College has developed a robust library of some 44 articles, ranging from commentary on the portrayals of race and gender in film; to a critique of U.S. interests in Cuba and an analysis of the microinvertebates in the Normanskill River.
For the past two years the journal has been published digitally, a format that allows more creative layout and graphics. Sweeney said the digital format also makes it relatively easy for faculty to find and use articles for classroom purposes. The digital publication has another benefit:
“Now that we have gone digital, there is no practical limit to the number of papers that could appear in a single issue,” Sweeney said. “The only limit is the quality of the submissions in a given year.”