Undergraduates encouraged to submit research to ‘The Catalyst’

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The editorial staff of “The Catalyst,” an online, multidisciplinary undergraduate research journal, is now accepting submissions through the Aquila Digital Community.

Senior English and news-editorial major Hiba Tahir currently serves as the executive editor and works alongside Southern Miss faculty members Jae-Hwa Shin, Josh Cromwell and Marie Danforth. Tahir said she hopes undergraduates, specifically those considering applying for graduate programs will submit their work.

“Though ‘The Catalyst’ may not be as established as other journals, it’s still a reputable peer-reviewed journal,” Tahir said. “If you’re considering graduate study or applying for scholarships or fellowships, being able to say that you were published in a research journal may give you just the competitive edge you need.”

Liaison for the USM Drapeau Center for Undergraduate Research, which fosters student-faculty collaboration in research, Danforth said ‘The Catalyst’ works to introduce undergraduates to publishing and peer-review.

“Sharing results is an essential part of the research process, and publication is one of the primary vehicles for doing that,” Danforth said. “I think it’s more that students just don’t generally consider publishing as a possibility. They are getting more used to doing professional presentations through venues such as UGS, something that didn’t exist even just 15 years ago, so hopefully it will be only a matter of time before they realize that they can also publish their work. We need to spread the work about the benefits of publication, from strengthening the analysis through the review process to gaining a great networking opportunity.”

Because “The Catalyst” is now online-only, submissions can include photo galleries and videos. Students will also be able to retain the full copyright of their work, so that they will be able to publish their papers elsewhere in the future.

Research papers should be 30 pages maximum. However, Tahir said good work will not be rejected because of page count.

“The Catalyst” was reintroduced to the Southern Miss community during the previous academic year when now graduate JD Ridmann relaunched it in spring of 2017. Danforth said DCUR had the same idea as Ridmann.

“We knew there had previously been an undergraduate journal at USM and thought it would be a wonderful opportunity for students to have that outlet for their work,” Danforth said.

“We talked with Dean Weinauer of the Honors College about it, and very coincidentally she said that one of their students, JD Rimann, had recently approached her about establishing a journal. We joined efforts, and that’s how ‘The Catalyst’ became revitalized.”

Volume four issue one featured six articles with analyses about fantasy novels, shopping at the airport, artist Andy Warhol, Spanish food, political rhetoric and the Shakespeare tragedy “Coriolanus.”

Phillip Snyder graduated from Southern Miss in 2017 with a Bachelor’s degree in English and submitted his paper ““Mind Over Magic: Repetition-Compulsion Power Instinct, and Apprehension in Ursula K. Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea” to the last issue because one of his professors told him to consider publishing it.

“I know that people across the world have downloaded my work thanks to the updates I receive from the Aquila database. Furthermore, having a publication under my name in an academic journal makes me more publishable and makes me more marketable for both work and future academics,” Snyder said.

“Really, anything goes as long as it’s good work,” Tahir said.

Those interested should submit their work by finding “The Catalyst” on the Aquila website under “Journals and Newsletters” and then use the online application. Questions concerning “The Catalyst” can be emailed to Tahir at hiba.tahir@usm.edu.