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Essential Elements

Now into its second decade, undergraduate research journal is thriving

Elements meeting
Elements Editor-in-Chief Marissa Marandola ’16 (in center of photo at left) and her fellow staff members at a recent meeting. The undergraduate research journal is formally marking its 10th year of publication today. (Photos by Peter Julian)

By Sean Smith | Chronicle Editor

Published: Dec. 3, 2015

Elements, the Boston College undergraduate research journal, is marking its 10th year of publication by entering the digital era.

The publication has collaborated with Boston College Libraries to become an open access journal operating under a Creative Commons license and is recognized as a digital publication by the Library of Congress.

On Dec. 3, Elements will simultaneously celebrate its 10th anniversary, the release of its fall edition, and the launch of its digital platform with a panel discussion at 5:30 p.m. in the Fulton Honors Library.

The panel will feature faculty members and student researchers: Assistant Professor of Biology Eric Folker and research assistant Jaclyn Camuglia ’17; White Family Sesquicentennial Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Studies Jennifer Erickson and her Undergraduate Research Fellow Olivia McCaffrey ’17; and Associate Professor of History Lynn Lyerly and Danielle Nista ’16, for whom Lyerly has often served as a mentor.

Student contributors to the fall edition of Elements also will be recognized.

Elements Editor-in-Chief Marissa Marandola ’16 says tonight’s event is meant to serve as a bridge from the journal’s formative period to a new, state-of-the-art incarnation.

“It’s celebrating a happy continuation of Elements’ mission: showcasing the varied research endeavors of fellow undergraduates to the greater academic community, and fostering intellectual curiosity and discussion that affirms and strengthens BC’s undergraduate community,” she says. “At the same time, we are bringing Elements into the digital age, which will broaden its capabilities and outreach.”

Funded by the Institute for the Liberal Arts, Elements was established in 2004 and published its first journal in 2005. The bi-annual publication has a longstanding emphasis on interdisciplinary work, with sections for Humanities (English, philosophy, theology, theater, fine arts and languages), Natural Sciences (biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, mathematics, neuroscience, earth and environmental science, computer science and nursing) and Social Sciences (political science, economics, sociology, international studies, communications, business and education). Staff members read and evaluate all submitted manuscripts and select articles on the basis of quality of scholarship as well as readability.

“Students have come to see Elements as something that warrants their consideration,” says Marandola, who estimates that Elements receives some 60 submissions each semester. “It’s a valuable experience to communicate and work collaboratively with other students or with faculty to produce quality research, and then to have it published.

“We’ve heard from a lot of former authors about how important writing for Elements was for them. They have graduate school advisors who want to see their articles, or they want to get a permanent link to their article for their CVs.”
Fortunately, she adds, the latter request is now possible with the digital version of the journal.

“We’re very grateful for all the support we’ve gotten from BC Libraries, the Institute for the Liberal Arts, and especially the faculty members who have given us assistance over our first decade,” says Marandola, who also cites current faculty advisors University Fellowships Associate Director Jason Cavallari and Associate Director of Academic Advising Elizabeth Chadwick.
“We look forward to this new chapter of Elements, and to continue offering a means to promote undergraduate research at Boston College.”

For more, visit the Elements website.