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Campus-based journal encourages undergraduates down research path

By Amy Agronis on January 31, 2005 in University

With graduate school admissions becoming more and more competitive, undergraduate students are hunting for new ways to distinguish themselves. The publication Explorations presents one such opportunity right on campus.

Explorations, the UC Davis Undergraduate Research Journal, presents students with a vehicle for publishing their academic research articles.

"When I was an undergraduate, we simply didn't do research," said Aram Yengoyan, professor of anthropology and faculty assistant to the vice provost of undergraduate studies. He serves as the editor of Explorations. "Our philosophy is to try to get undergraduates involved at a young age."

The yearly journal features six articles per volume. Topics in the current Volume Seven include how Disney films and Disney theme parks have influenced the ideals of child-rearing and family life in the "Atomic Era," the workings of the human artificial chromosome, and studies that attempt to link IQ with spirituality.

Each issue maintains a balance between natural and physical science research and humanities and social science papers, Yengoyan said. Submissions for Volume Eight are due by May 27, he said. Papers should be 30 pages or less.

Each year, Yengoyan receives about 15 to 25 submissions, most of which are either expanded term papers or Washington Center re-search projects. He reads the manuscripts and seeks input from faculty members in applicable departments. Once papers are accepted, Yengoyan and his staff help students fine-tune their articles.

As a side benefit, the Explorations enterprise also can serve as an extra source of mentorship for undergraduates as they try to step their way up to publication in more well-known journals. Yengoyan recalled a senior history student's 90-page honors thesis from 2003 that drew connections between food habits and feminism during medieval times. The paper recognized the emergence of the modern disease anorexia nervosa. While too lengthy for publication in Explorations, Yengoyan advised the student about pressing forward.

"It was so superb that I encouraged the student to submit the paper to an academic journal," Yengoyan said.

English professor Peter Dale started Explorations in 1998 with funds from the Students First campaign, launched in October 1993. Yengoyan took over in 2000 and has published five volumes with the help of managing editor Mark Hoyer and editorial assistant Arlene Jones of the office of the chancellor and provost.

Yengoyan said the journal also would not be possible without the support of Fred wood, interim vice provost for undergraduate studies, and Patricia Turner, who will return to the vice provost position after serving as interim dean of the Division of Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies.


Copies of Volume Seven of Explorations are available through the office of the vice provost for student affairs. For details, contact Arlene Jones at The current volume also is available online at

Media contact(s)

Amy Agronis, Dateline, (530) 752-1932,