Undergraduate Research Journal Showcases, Inspires, and Promotes

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The Tower, Georgia Tech's undergraduate research journal, celebrated the publication of its first print edition last week. The celebration took place in the library's first floor west commons and brought together many of the students, faculty, and staff who worked to make the initiative a reality.

In the spring of 2007, then-Georgia Tech student Mark Youngblood (COMP ENG '07) approached Dr. Karen Harwell, director of Undergraduate Research and faculty advisor to The Tower, with the idea to develop an undergraduate research journal. At the same time, the Georgia Tech Library and Information Center was formulating similar plans. Harwell united the two groups, forming one of many co-curricular collaborations that have helped advance the project.

Harwell said that Georgia Tech students, faculty, and staff wanted "a centralized mechanism to show the depth and quality of undergraduate research [at Georgia Tech], and to create opportunities for students to participate in the peer review journal process -- an experience that undergraduates don't usually get."

Seeking to showcase undergraduate research, inspire academic inquiry, and promote Georgia Tech's commitment to undergraduate research, The Tower became an official student publication in the fall of 2007 and published the first edition on-line in the fall of 2008. "Peer recognition is important," said Mac Pitts, director of Student Publications and Media. "The Tower allows interested students to see their work highlighted. Examples of quality academic collaboration are rewarding for the students involved in research as well as the students involved in The Tower."

The ambitious journey from creation to publication in one year required countless conversations with the campus community, both to educate and encourage participation in The Tower. "We contacted department heads, attended FASET, spoke with GT 1000 classes, worked with the Library and the Student Publications board — there were so many people involved in making this happen," said Harwell.

Though staffed by nearly 50 students, more than 40 Georgia Tech faculty and staff also volunteer their time to the advisement and review of the journal. Former Tower editor Dianne Palladino (PSYCH '08) noted that the establishment of an undergraduate research journal "was attempted in the past, but this time it succeeded because of teamwork across the Institute."

The notion of teamwork as a building block for The Tower takes many forms. Student editors strive to equally represent research across all of Georgia Tech's colleges. The Tower's most recent edition includes papers on subjects from renewable plastic to an examination of eugenics and Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Faculty advisors help in the evaluation of papers; Dr. Rebecca Burnett, said Palladino, "laid the groundwork for the review process and submission guidelines." Faculty reviewers and the Review Advisory Board, comprised of faculty and staff from every college, also help students learn how to evaluate a paper for methodologically sound data.

In her letter to readers, current Tower editor Chuyong Yi comments "The Tower was founded by a group of research-passionate undergraduate students with guidance from supportive faculty members," further reflecting the combined efforts necessary to bring about the landmark publication. She also urges undergraduate students to participate in the journal process because "it is a great learning opportunity for those who are involved in any shape or form."

Copies of The Tower are free and can be picked at distribution racks in the Library and Student Center. Previous editions of The Tower are available on-line.



  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Michael Hagearty
  • Created:10/06/2009
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:10/07/2016