UVa-Wise undergraduate research journal to debut this year

Opportunities for students seeking academic exposure are expanding this semester with the establishment of the new academic journal “Lux: Undergraduate Scholarship at UVa-Wise.”

According to the mission statement, Lux “is a multidisciplinary academic journal dedicated to publishing and promoting exceptional academic writing by students.” Submitted papers are anonymously reviewed by faculty and selected for publication by an editorial board.

Although the idea of a campus research journal has been around for a while, English professor Emily Dotson and biology professor Josephine Rodriguez are the first on campus to bring the journal to life.

It was born in the basement of the library,” says Rodriguez. She was attending a “faculty boot camp” conducted by Wise Writes, which is a program directed by Dotson that aims to improve the writing quality of students and writing instruction of faculty.

From left: Jennifer Murray, Jennifer Holm, Sabrina Qureshi, Emily Dotson, Josephine Rodriguez, Madelynn Shell
Faculty members met recently to steer journal “Lux: Undergraduate Scholarship at UVa-Wise” toward its spring semester debut. From left: Jennifer Murray, Jennifer Holm, Sabrina Qureshi, Emily Dotson, Josephine Rodriguez and Madelynn Shell

Rodriguez was writing for a National Science Foundation grant in order to obtain funding for a seminar that would encourage STEM students to write more. Dotson was assisting her in composing it because she is a senior personnel on the grant.

When collaborating, they soon realized their shared vision of expanding the Wise Writes program. Rodriguez said that it produces better writers, but the campus has “no platform to actually host that writing.”

Thus, Lux was born.

We actually aren’t clear if the thought started in Dr. Dotson’s brain and came out of my mouth, or it started in my brain and came out of her mouth,” said Rodriguez.

They stressed their gratitude for everyone who has helped create Lux. They have received campus-wide support, particularly from the editorial board, Academic Dean Amelia Harris, SGA President Gray Hamilton, the Chancellor’s office and various faculty members.

We’ve been very, very lucky that people have been supportive,” Dotson said.

The Student Government Association provided financial assistance for the first publication of Lux.

Thank you SGA!” said Rodriguez.

All funds will go towards printing costs when the journal is ready for publication in the fall. No one involved receives monetary compensation for their work.

It’s a labor of love for everybody,” Dotson said.

According to the Lux webpage, decisions on volume one submissions will be made by April 1. Even if a paper is not accepted, there will be feedback provided that explains how the writing could improve so they could potentially re-submit in the future.

There will be an opening reception for volume one of Lux in the fall. Submissions for volume two will be accepted beginning Jan. 2019.

Rodriguez and Dotson have enjoyed working with one another, despite being from two different academic disciplines.

We’re absolutely on the same page,” says Dotson. “lt’s almost creepy despite being a biologist and humanist.”

Their first experience with one another was when Dotson was touring the campus with Provost Huguenin. They stopped into Rodriguez’s office, where she made quite an impression on Dotson.

There’s an actual animal on this planet that carries her name!” exclaimed Dotson.

Rodriguez, an entomologist, explained that “iconella jayjayrodriguezae” is species of wasp in Costa Rica named in her honor. “It’s generally a recognition to the contributions to your field.”

Dotson said, “It was one of the reasons I picked this college because it represented to me people who were passionate and engaged about scholarship.”

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