The Tower Undergraduate Research Journal Releases Second Print Edition
At an informal Pecha Kucha (pee-CHAY coo-CHA) event with the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program on November 18, The Tower celebrated the release of its second volume amidst casual conversation about Institute research.
The undergraduate research journal that was conceived in 2007 and printed its first edition in 2009 has grown in size and breadth of content in its second issue. This edition includes both perspectives and articles on undergraduate research from the Schools of Computer Science; Physics; Electrical and Computer Engineering; Biomedical Engineering; Economics; Mechanical Engineering; and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.
The Tower’s competitive submission process resulted in just under half of this issue’s submissions reaching publication. One graduate and one undergraduate member of the journal’s 20-person review staff critiques each entry.
For undergraduates, submitting articles to The Tower is a unique opportunity to partake in a peer review process and receive feedback not only on their research methodology, but also on their abilities to discuss, communicate and present their research narratives to a wide audience.
“Reviewers don’t just consider the technical aspects of the research, but also the story it presents,” said Michael Chen, junior chemistry major and 2010-11 Tower editor-in-chief. All authors receive feedback from reviewers, regardless of whether they are published, and are encouraged to re-submit after making recommended improvements.
Computer science graduate student Alex Marquez, whose perspective appears in this edition of The Tower, submitted his paper at the encouragement of friends and to see how well his entry would be understood by a wider audience — one that does not necessarily have a computer science background. Marquez had submitted an earlier, higher-level version of his paper to a computer science-related conference, but this was his first experience submitting something for peer review to a general audience.
“I think it has to be more accessible, perhaps even multidisciplinary, for this type of journal,” Marquez said, as opposed to submitting an article for review within one’s field of study. Though no longer eligible to submit to The Tower since moving on to graduate studies, Marquez said he would submit to other journals in the future and would enjoy being part of a review board for the process.
To Chen, the lifeline of the journal is submissions. His goal as the journal’s editor-in-chief has been to encourage submissions from all areas of campus, continually challenging the diversity and quality of featured work. Recruiting articles from the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts and the College of Management became specific priorities.
“You can’t say the journal represents Georgia Tech if it doesn’t include all the facets of Georgia Tech,” Chen said. “Someone is doing research in every department.”
Chen hopes to host more Pecha Kucha events in the future to promote more frequent casual, jargon-stripped conversations about research at the Institute. Additionally, he plans to feature more varied content in the next print edition, such as interviews with professors, to “make the journal as useful as possible” and expand its audience.
Students can learn more about how to submit articles to The Tower or join its staff at gttower.org. Copies of The Tower are available at several locations on campus: the Institute of Bioengineering and Bioscience café, the Ford Environmental Science & Technology building (by the entrance from the biotechnology quad), the Student Center (by the post office), the library foyer and outside Howey Physics lecture hall.