'Lucerna' Undergraduate research journal is six years strong

Nathan Zoschke

Since its 2005 inception by the Honors Program, Lucerna has remained UMKC’s lone undergraduate research journal.

Lucerna is also unique in that entries are selected in a blind reviewing process and edited by a select group of honors students and faculty who work with the organization.

Students from any discipline are allowed to submit entries in the areas of business, science, social science, humanities and the arts.

Lucerna Editor-in-Chief Taylor Barton said essays range from 2,000 to 6,000 words in length and are evaluated in the blind reviewing process based on originality, clarity, organization and argumentative qualities. Photographs of student works of art are also included in the reviewing process.

“Each essay is reviewed three times in the initial [blind] reviewing process,” Barton said. “After the pool of essays has been narrowed down, they are reviewed additional times until we have our essays to publish.”

Barton said the goal is to receive 50 submissions each year six of which will appear in the journal. Submissions for the 2012 journal opened Oct. 24 and will be cut off March 4.

Barton stressed the benefits of having one’s work published in an academic journal.

“When Lucerna was founded, the honors program was looking to create a new opportunity for students to share their original research and to recognize students who provide outstanding and unique insight into a wide range of fields,” she said. “It was also intended to provide students with a great opportunity to make their résumé or CV really stand out. Being published as an undergraduate looks great to future employers, graduate schools or professional schools.”

A preface by the editors to the first edition in 2005 explained the meaning of Lucerna, the Latin word for “lamp,” as the publication title: “Light has often been used as a metaphor for knowledge. But knowledge, like light, must have its source. The hope suggested by the journal’s title is that UMKC student research should by this source of knowledge – this light.”

So far, Barton said several promising entries have been submitted. The team of nearly 15 honors students who work on Lucerna is preparing to kick into high gear.

As editor-in-chief, Barton oversees the production of Lucerna, and must coordinate all efforts with the rest of her staff from start to finish, from designing the journal to reviewing its content.

Barton said she hopes to continue the tradition.

“My goal this year is to maintain the high standards that have been set for this journal over the past six years,” Barton said. “We’re looking to attract submissions from a wide variety of disciplines. We’re looking for fresh ideas and thought-provoking arguments in this year’s submission pool.”

A complete list of submission rules and forms can be found at www.cas.umkc.edu/honors/lucerna.asp.

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