Purdue highlights the best of undergraduate research in new journal

August 22, 2011

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Enhancing aerospace propulsion systems and improving food production to prevent food-borne illness are two of the featured topics in the new Journal of Purdue Undergraduate Research.

"A number of our undergraduate students want to make a difference as soon as they arrive on campus, and this journal is another way to highlight how these students are solving today's problems," said Dale Whittaker, vice provost for undergraduate academic affairs. "These seven research projects represent more than 2,000 undergraduate research projects taking place at the university each year. When conducting their research as part of a class, summer program or honors project, students have the opportunity to work one-on-one with the professor. With a faculty mentor's supervision, students design their studies, collect the data and analyze their findings."

The journal is available online at http://www.jpur.org and in print copies distributed around campus. In addition to food-borne illness and aerospace propulsion systems, other research topics are analyses of the Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus, wind turbines and weather conditions, the signalizing pathway of spleen tyrosine kinase, the largest-known nitrate source in the Chile Atacama desert, and the effect of school consolidation on student achievement. These seven research projects were selected out of 45 submissions by a faculty advisory board led by Greg Michalski, associate professor of earth and atmospheric sciences.

"Similar to how the research projects were conducted, this journal also was produced and designed with student leadership," said Charles Watkinson, director of Purdue University Press. "Our goal was to mirror a professional publishing experience for these students."

Paul John Sliker, a recent graduate from the professional writing program, served as the journal coordinator last year. Sliker also interviewed Whittaker and Purdue alumni and astronaut Drew Feustel about the importance of undergraduate research. The journal's editorial and design team also are College of Liberal Arts students. The students worked with Purdue Libraries, Purdue Press and Marketing and Media to publish the journal. Purdue's Online Writing Lab also was a key resource.

Students interested in submitting articles for the 2012 issue are invited to submit proposals by Nov. 15 to http://www.jpur.org

 "The goal for the next year is to encourage more students to submit articles and become involved in the journal process," Whittaker said. "We also hope students are inspired by the work of their peers in the journal and are encouraged to seek research opportunities that interest them personally. A good time for students to engage in a research project is the beginning of the sophomore year. If a student is interested, they should contact their adviser or approach a professor whose work is related to their interest."

Last year, Purdue was tied for 12th nationally in a U.S.News & World Report ranking of universities cited by college presidents, provosts and admissions deans as having an "unusual commitment to undergraduate teaching."

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu

Sources: Dale Whittaker, 765-494-6970, dwhittak@purdue.edu

                 Charles Watkinson, 765-494-8251, cwatkinson@purdue.edu