Student Authors Present Research at Annual Symposium
Offering undergraduate students the opportunity to do real research is a highly valued priority at the University of Missouri-Kansas City – and they have the books to prove it.
The UMKC community joined together on Tuesday, Feb. 7 to celebrate the unveiling of the eleventh edition of its Lucerna undergraduate research journal. The first edition of Lucerna was published in 2005. As the only interdisciplinary undergraduate research publication at UMKC, Lucerna’s mission is to celebrate and promote research produced by UMKC undergraduates.
“Undergraduate research is especially valuable, because it enables students to expand the current boundaries of knowledge, and make original discoveries,” said UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton, adding that it also teams up students and faculty mentors to work as partners in the search for greater wisdom.
The peer-reviewed journal is solely managed and edited by UMKC Honors College students and includes research submitted by student authors in areas ranging from sciences to humanities. During Tuesday’s annual Lucerna Symposium, attendees heard presentations from select authors in this year’s publication. Presenters included fall 2016 urban studies graduate Claire Godfrey, French and criminal justice major Madison Lackey, spring 2016 graduate and current UMKC graduate student Sydney Harvey, and music therapy and psychology major Alexander Peuser.
Godfrey’s research study, Race, Language and the Urban Landscape: On Material Effects of Racialized Identity Formations, explored the historical concepts behind urban planning as it relates to post-civil rights racism. Godfrey explained in her research that “the distance between racial groups is evident in practically every area of social life, from housing, employment, and education to health, political access and representation, and involvement with the criminal justice system.”
Similarly, Lackey discussed the Existence of Racism in High School History Classes.
“In all four years I went to High School I only had one history class that discussed Black History,” Lackey pointed out in her introduction. She offered several solutions to the under-representation of Black History in textbooks and curriculums – one of which is the creation of a multi-cultural textbook that talks about many various cultures.
Peuser’s AIDS and the Artist’s Call to Action discussed how artists have lent their voices to many activist initiatives during the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and 90s. He discussed how art helps to raise awareness and combat misconceptions of those who live with the disease.
“I decided to research this topic because in Discourse 300 we had to think of artists and movements in history and study how they use their work to support that movement,” said Peuser, adding that he knew the 80s and 90s AIDS epidemic had a lot of artists as activists. Sculptures, propaganda, poetry, musical theater and film all served as media to spread messaging about the disease during a time when there was limited education available about its effects.
Discussing Cinema and the Subjective Reality, Harvey paralleled the similarities among memory and cinema.
“Memory and cinema are identical in form; both are a phenomenon comprised through a series of images,” Harvey’s research explains.
Toward the close of the symposium, attendees had the opportunity to engage in interesting discussions with each presenter during a short Q&A session.
“Publication of research is one of the highest achievements to which any student can aspire. Having one’s work published in Lucerna is a notable accomplishment for any undergraduate. Not only does this publication endorse one’s findings, but often it marks the early phase of a promising and successful professional career,” Morton said.
Copies of the 2016-17 edition of Lucerna can be found at the Honors College, located on the fourth floor of Cherry Hall.