When students apply to graduate studies and, further along the line, to academic or other high-level positions, having publications in learned journals is not just a great asset – it is increasingly a requirement and it is what may make the difference between being selected or rejected.
As undergraduate students move up the ladder of their post-secondary studies, they are required to produce a number of research papers which involve a great deal of work and are often polished, publishable documents. Yet, most often submitting them to their professors is the end of the line for these projects, never to be used again.
Left: Adrian Camara
A number of senior-level students at Glendon have recently launched a group called the Glendon Society for Undergraduate Scholarship (GSUS) in order to remedy this situation and find appropriate outlets for publishing these works. The group is the brainchild of Adrian Camara, a third-year international studies and history major at Glendon who is heading to law school after his B.A.
“The mandate of the GSUS is connecting Glendon students with academic journals, which publish research and papers produced by undergraduates around the world”, says Camara. He and his associates are in the process of identifying journals that are appropriate for undergraduate work, assist them in tailoring their manuscripts to each journal's guidelines and help them meet submission deadlines. “The idea is to turn works that students are already engaged in for their class projects into productive assets for their future careers or academic paths.”
Given that the GSUS has only been in existence for just over a month, Camara’s accomplishments are impressive. He is in the process of amassing a database of appropriate learned journals in Canada and across the world – most of them in the U.S. – which are faculty-reviewed in prestigious institutions such as Columbia, Harvard, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Cambridge, England and others. The Canadian Undergraduate Journal of Cognitive Science, hosted at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, B.C. and the Dartmouth Law Journal are two Canadian publications of this calibre.
Camara has also created a GSUS website and a Facebook page where interested students and professors can find links to journals, complete with publication deadlines and the academic requirements for formatting their work. The GSUS database is organized by academic discipline and each academic department receives an e-mail reminding them of submission deadlines approaching within their field. The database includes at least one journal for each discipline taught at Glendon.
Several ongoing Glendon activities have been identified by Camara and his group as a perfect fit with the GSUS mandate, among these the Capstone seminars, and the annual International Studies Symposium (ISS) which culminates in a printed publication of all the student research papers emerging from this project. Some Glendon professors are collaborating on research papers with current students – or have done so in the past – among these, Hispanic studies professor Alejandro Zamora and economics professor Xavier de Vanssay.
Camara reports that a number of students have already contacted him with the intention of using the GSUS information and the help offered, and several have submitted papers to various journals.
Camara is an entrepreneurial individual who likes to grab an opportunity when it is offered. He is also clearly dedicated to Glendon, its mandate and its academic standing. “A key aim of our Society is to heighten the reputation of Glendon as a premier school of liberal arts by publishing the scholarly works of its students.” The GSUS’ endeavour to engage students in academic and research activities is also directly in line with Glendon’s and York University’s recently announced goal of becoming the ‘engaged university’. Camara reports that Glendon Principal Kenneth McRoberts has been informed of this project and has expressed his enthusiastic approval.
“Publishing top-quality undergraduate papers underlines the importance of original research and publications, which are significant assets for students’ future“, says Camara. “This will raise the level of academic activity among our students without requiring any additional financial commitment from them, or from our university. “
Article submitted by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny