A look at Lucerna: UMKC’s undergraduate research journal

Henry Gamber

Getting research experience when you’re an undergraduate can be extremely difficult, especially for non-STEM students. However, one option for students wanting to try their hand at research is UMKC’s undergraduate research journal, Lucerna.

The UMKC Honors College college has produced 14 issues of the journal, and each issue showcases undergraduate research with topics ranging from math to dance.

“Last year, I was published on my paper, The Wonderful World of Memes: Analyzing the Satirical Commentary of Memes in the Digital Age,” junior Chase Ford explained. “I was doing an analysis of the cultural significance of memes.”

That’s right—you can even research memes.

The next question the next potential meme researcher might ask, of course, is how do you even get published in Lucerna?

The first step is to submit a research paper of 2,000-6,000 words, approximately eight to 12 MLA-formatted pages. 

Easier said than done.

Ford estimated that with all of the researching and writing, his paper took around 50 to 100 hours to complete. 

“I just spent hours and hours rewriting my paper, having other people read over it, trying to write the best paper possible,” Ford said.

Once the paper is finished, the next step is to submit it to the Lucerna staff, who transition it to the peer review stage.

Peer review, as the name implies, is where the research paper is evaluated by fellow students from the Honors College who are picked by the Lucerna staff. At least two Honors College students are chosen to review each paper.

Once all of the submitted papers are through peer review, the editor-in-chief and senior editor select the best entries that will be published in the journal.

While getting published in the journal is surely an arduous task, it does come with its rewards. 

“Lucerna gives students the opportunity to publicize their research for other students at the university,” Editor-in-Chief Katelyn Fisher said. “And it gives them the opportunity to present the research at our annual symposium.”

It is also an experience that can give students an advantage when applying to graduate school.

“Graduate programs really admire students that have published research,” Fisher said. 

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