James Madison Undergraduate Research Journal

In March of this year, the first issue of the James Madison Undergraduate Research Journal, or JMURJ, was published on the journal’s website and shared via various social media outlets. Since then, members of the Editorial Board and I have been working diligently to spread the word about JMU’s newest publication. We hope that hearing the title (pronounced “Jay-Merge”) will eventually become commonplace within JMU’s undergraduate research community, not for shameless validation but rather as evidence that undergraduate research is becoming more visible and viable to the student body.  Continue reading

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A Study in Parking for Downtown Harrisonburg

When I applied to graduate school, I expected long hours spent studying, tough exams, and new experiences. The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at James Madison University, however, takes this a step further by allowing students to participate in more practical, hands-on projects in the surrounding communities.

From the onset, I was afforded these opportunities as I started my graduate years completing an economic development study with the town of Dayton, VA.  Despite being an integral member of the research team for that study, there were several other groups (i.e. faculty, undergraduate students, town residents/officials) that were also heavily involved.  However, that study – along with the skills and knowledge that I learned throughout my two years in the program – prepared me to go even further and take a hands-on leadership role in a parking study completed for Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance (HDR). This study was completed as part of the MPA program’s final, culminating Capstone course. Continue reading

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Reason and Wonder

“I think I have a book in me, and I think that teaching this course will help me write it.”  That statement may be the brashest thing I’ve ever said in front of a group of students (and I’ve said some pretty brash things.) The course was HON200D—Black Elk to Black Holes: Shaping a Myth for a New Millennium—and it was the first day of classes during spring semester 1999. The statement turned out to be true, but extraordinarily naïve. It took teaching the course five additional times, teaching a sister course once, and 12 years of writing and editing in fits and starts before the nascent book became a reality. Continue reading

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Summer Research Beyond JMU: An Experiment Worth Conducting

A large number of students at JMU have realized the valuable skills and unique opportunities presented by participating in undergraduate research. glovebox As a senior chemistry major seeking to pursue an advanced degree, I can attest to the skills that I have built in my two-and-a-half years of undergraduate research. These skills include basic and advanced laboratory techniques, critical analysis of scientific literature and results, and presentation of research in written and oral formats. Through my research, I have also been presented with several career-building experiences, such as presenting work at a national meeting of the American Chemical Society. One of the most exciting and influential opportunities I had was the chance to conduct research at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Continue reading

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Provost’s Award for Excellence in Research and Scholarship

During a season of celebration, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the past winners of the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Research and Scholarship. This recognition of scholarly accomplishments is presented annually to an individual demonstrating significant achievement in research, scholarship, or creative work. Continue reading

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