JMU’s undergraduate research journal celebrates 10 years

Senior editors reflect on JMURJ Volumes 9 and 10


The James Madison Undergraduate Research Journal is in its 10th year of publishing the outstanding research and scholarship created by undergraduates in all JMU disciplines. Over the past decade, the student-run journal has published nearly 60 text- and media-based submissions that have been downloaded over 195,000 times in over 150 countries. For the 18 seniors who served on the 2022-2023 JMURJ Editorial Board, the journal’s decennial is just one of many reasons to celebrate.

In Fall 2021, as JMU returned to face-to-face meetings amid the COVID-19 pandemic, JMURJ had just one returning member: Managing Editor Tori Carpenter. Under Carpenter’s leadership, JMURJ saw a massive rebound in membership. Fall 2023 co-Managing Editor LauraJean Logue emphasized how "having returning members has been useful in helping acclimate new members to the board and ensuring that important knowledge and skills aren’t lost between semesters." This preservation of information and knowledge paved the way to a strong Volume 9 that Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Heather Coltman shared with JMU’s Board of Visitors at the board’s February, 2023, meeting. 

Volume 9 and the first installments on Volume 10 of the journal reflect the journal’s continuing commitment to diversity. The two volumes have included pieces from Social Work, Anthropology, Economics, International Affairs, Biology, Psychology, Chemistry, Educational Foundations and Exceptionalities, and Art History, with more disciplines to follow as Volume 10 grows.

On top of the continually growing diversity of submissions, the JMURJ Editorial Board has expanded the disciplines found within its ranks of editors and interns. The 160 students who have served on the board have always come from diverse academic backgrounds, and the 2022-2023 board has been no exception, including majors and minors from History, French, Psychology, Communication Studies, Spanish, Political Science, Music, Philosophy, Sociology, Anthropology, and WRTC. Longtime JMURJ board member Caroline Smith articulated the ways she feels her experience as a History major gave her a valuable perspective while on the board, saying she "understood the different ways different disciplines approach research." 

The roster of faculty reviewers involved with JMURJ has also broadened over the years. In Volume 10, 17 new names will join the ranks of more than 250 professors who have volunteered their time to review submissions since the journal’s inception in 2013.

jmurj_2023_board.jpgThe driving force behind all the recent success has been JMURJ’s seniors. This academic year, Lauren Howard (who graduated in December 2022) and Kate Peppiatt and LauraJean Logue ably served as co-managing editors. All three have played a huge part in JMURJ’s growth in recent years and have done an incredible job keeping the gears of JMURJ turning. Seniors Kristy Kocot, Izzy Hansen, Sophie Edlich, Haylei Turpin, Quinn Burnett, Maeve Burke, and next semester’s co-managing editor Andrew Hess have formed a strong cohort of veteran editors who helped JMURJ rebound from the COVID-19 doldrums.

While the JMURJ Editorial Board is thrilled to celebrate recent successes, everyone is also looking toward the future. JMU’s new R2 research classification means that opportunities will be available going forward for undergraduate and graduate research alike, and JMURJ will look to build on its longstanding partnership with JMU’s Research and Scholarship. The editorial board will continue to reach out to majors yet to be included in the journal or on the board and to forge strong partnerships with JMU faculty reviewers to ensure the quality of all published research. Continuing to spread awareness of all that JMURJ does and increasing its general visibility will also be a major priority. 

Thinking back on the year, graduating senior intern Aren Tifft put it best, saying, "Not only was JMURJ a great place to cultivate friendships, it was also a great place to cultivate professional skills."

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by Andrew Hess and Quinn Burnett

Published: Friday, May 12, 2023

Last Updated: Thursday, March 28, 2024

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