Barry McNamara  |  Published May 05, 2023

Hot Off the Press

Latest edition of Monmouth’s Midwest Journal of Undergraduate Research drew submissions from all over the world and across academic disciplines.

ANOTHER STONG ISSUE: Posing with copies of the 14th edition of the College's Midwest Journal ... ANOTHER STONG ISSUE: Posing with copies of the 14th edition of the College's Midwest Journal of Undergraduate Research are, from left, professor Anne Mamary, Tyler Houck ’24, Larissa Pothoven ’24, Shay Hafner ’23 and professor Michelle Holschuh Simmons.MONMOUTH, Ill. – Submissions from around the world and across multiple disciplines are two of the highlights of the latest issue of Monmouth College’s Midwest Journal of Undergraduate Research.

“It’s hot off the press,” said MJUR coordinating adviser and educational studies professor Michelle Holschuh Simmons as she distributed copies of the journal’s 14th issue during the College’s Scholars Day activities on April 25. “We had 54 submissions from all over the world, and one of the articles that was accepted was from a student at the National University of Singapore.”

Simmons and her team were also pleased that the eight articles chosen for inclusion covered a range of subjects. Recurring MJUR subjects such as history, political science, English and philosophy are once again included, as well as papers from mathematics and chemistry.

“We’re delighted that the content really reflects us as a multidisciplinary journal,” said Simmons.

“This is probably the most diversity in disciplines and fields that we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said coordinating editor Shay Hafner ’23. “Even the submissions that we couldn’t accept were very interesting and covered a lot of different topics. The level of research overall has been at a way higher level than I’ve experienced here. A lot of people are doing a lot of really cool research.”


The editorial process

“It’s a huge amount of work,” said Simmons. “It’s a really time-consuming process, because our students take this process very seriously. They wrestle with the ideas, they wrestle with the organization. Sometimes we even do extra research on the topic to make sure it is well-researched and well done.”

The work for MJUR’s editorial board doesn’t stop with selecting the submissions that make the final cut. The editors provide suggestions for revision, even if a paper doesn’t go into the issue.

“This is probably the most diversity in disciplines and fields that we’ve had since I’ve been here. Even the submissions that we couldn’t accept were very interesting and covered a lot of different topics.” Shay Hafner 


Submissions that do make the cut are sent to philosophy professor Anne Mamary, who serves as the editing adviser and, said Simmons, goes over them “with a fine-toothed comb.”

“These students are incredible,” said Mamary of the MJUR staff. “Working with them over all these years has been inspiring. It’s been a joy. I could never have done this when I was an undergraduate, so I’m really impressed.”

Eventually, the text lands on the desk of design consultant and 2018 Monmouth graduate Amjad Karkout, who formats the issue before passing it along to Kellogg Printing in downtown Monmouth.

The submission deadline for each issue is Jan. 15. When a submission is received, all identifying information is “scrubbed” for the journal’s double-blind review process. Submissions for the 15th issue have already been received, and Simmons will hold onto them until the fall semester, when she’ll pass them on to next year’s lead editors, Tyler Houck ’24 and Larissa Pothoven ’24.

Serving in the leadership roles this year were Hafner and operations editor Grace Simpson ’23. The rest of the students on the editorial board were Houck, Pothoven, Anna Brunner ’24, Addison Cox ’23, Madison Hieser ’25, Talia Long ’23 and Ilese Rodeffer ’24.

“I’ve definitely become a stronger reader and writer with MJUR and I’ve gotten a lot more familiar with the research process,” said Hafner, who will attend the University of Notre Dame for a Ph.D. program in political science. “I think if I hadn’t done MJUR, I wouldn’t have gone that route. MJUR helped me realize that I really liked academic research and I want to keep doing it. I feel a lot more prepared to do that program at, hopefully, a high level.”

“As a freshman and a sophomore reading these papers, they were kind of out there and something that I thought I wouldn’t be capable of. As I moved into my upperclassman years, I’ve realized that I can do that level of research, and I attribute that to what I’ve learned reading the papers that get submitted to MJUR.” Tyler Houck

Simmons said Long has had a similar experience.

“When Talia was doing her graduate internship at the University Illinois, the graduate students and the faculty members working with her commented on what a strong writer she was and how well she could read research,” she said. “Talia attributed that to her work with MJUR.”

Next year’s lead editors

Houck first learned about MJUR during the College’s Scholarship Day when he was a high school senior. He began working with the journal staff as a freshman, and the more experience he gained, the more he realized that producing high-level academic research was “attainable” for him.

“As a freshman and a sophomore reading these papers, they were kind of out there and something that I thought I wouldn’t be capable of,” said Houck, an accounting major who plans to pursue an MBA and become a certified public accountant. “As I moved into my upperclassman years, I’ve realized that I can do that level of research, and I attribute that to what I’ve learned reading the papers that get submitted to MJUR.”

An English and history major, Pothoven joined MJUR’s staff as a sophomore.

“I’ve read a lot of papers that I wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise,” she said. “I’ve also enjoyed meeting all these great people and working as a team together. It’s also helped me with my own research and writing and editing skills.”

Listen Up …

Editors and faculty advisers discuss the latest MJUR issue on the “Monmouth College Conversations” podcast.

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