Preface to The Eagle Feather 2014

This year is another milestone for The Eagle Feather, our online journal of undergraduate research at UNT. We are pleased to welcome to our editorial staff two new faculty editors, Dr. James Duban and Dr. Diana Elrod.

Dr. James Duban is Professor of English and a member of the Honors College faculty at The University of North Texas. The author of books about Herman Melville and the Henry James family, he has published, as well, in Philological Quarterly, Philip Roth Studies, Philosophy and Literature, Harvard Theological Review, Literature and the Bible, The New England Quarterly, and The Journal of Speculative Philosophy, among many others journals. His current research centers on Philip Roth, Arthur Koestler, Meyer Levin, and Jean-Paul Sartre. He is also the author of a book on college achievement and will, in the spring semester, be teaching an Honors College upper-division research course.

Dr. Diana Elrod is the Director of the UNT McNair Scholars Program and is a member of the Honors College staff. She holds a Ph.D. in biology and is actively involved in many professional organizations.  For the past 24 years, she has held university lecturer positions for numerous courses and is active in the university community.

Caleb BraunOur special feature article this year is a collection of poems by Caleb Braun, along with a discussion of the background for the poems. Caleb is a graduate of the University of North Texas with a major in English. He was mentored by the noted poet, Dr. B.H. Fairchild. Students in our Honors research classes are often surprised to learn that creative writers and performance artists have to do research in the course of their work. It is not all just inspiration!

Michael ThompsonAnother innovation this year is the inclusion of research papers produced in two of UNT’s new core capstone classes, one in linguistics and one in sociology. The capstone linguistics course was taught by Ivy Doak, Ph.D., in the Department of Linguistics and Technical Communication. The second course was taught by Dr. Michael Thompson, Assistant Professor, and by sociology graduate students, Mr. Michel Nino and Mr. Ozgur Solakoglu. These capstone projects in sociology used secondary analysis of data from major national datasets. Topics ranged from bullying to the effects of substance abuse on behavior of people with ADHD to results of media on child behavior.  We are very pleased to support the work of the capstone faculty in promoting undergraduate research.

We are pleased to welcome back old friends, including Dr. Jeanne Tunks in the Department of Teacher Education and Administration in the College of Education, and Dr. John Ishiyama in the Department of Political Science, College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Tunks adds another four student publications to her already outstanding record of 15 previous student research articles in TEF! For her extraordinary contribution to TEF and to undergraduate research at UNT, she has been named TEF Faculty Mentor of the year for 2014. This is the fifth year Dr. Ishiyama has edited a special section highlighting the students in his summer REU program in Political Science sponsored by the National Science Foundation. This year’s section features nine articles by students from a variety of institutions, including Gettysburg College, Truman State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida State University, Emory University, North Carolina State University, the University of Kentucky, and the University of North Texas.

Caitlin SmithThe Department of English always provides an outstanding selection of undergraduate research projects. Dr. Kelly Wisecup has mentored three exceptional young scholars, including Emily Dismukes, Caitlin Smith, and Cat Williams, who examined the lives of women in colonial America. All three of these young scholars will attend graduate school in fall 2014, with Emily and Cat at the University of North Texas and Caitlin at the University of Notre Dame.

Justin WoodWe tell our students that undergraduate research is the key to getting into graduate and professional schools with strong financial support. In addition to the students that we have  highlighted above, Justin Wood is an excellent example of the positive benefits of undergraduate research. In addition to writing an undergraduate Honors thesis mentored by Dr. Matthew Esbaugh-Soha in the Department of Political Science, Justin served as student editor of The Eagle Feather 2013. Justin was admitted to multiple law schools and will attend the prestigious University of Virginia School of Law with financial support provided by a Virginia Law Dean’s Scholarship.

In closing, we would like to thank Dianne Jansing, Digital Publications Coordinator, UNT Libraries Digital Libraries Division, User Interfaces Unit, for her meticulous care in creating the electronic copy of the The Eagle Feather. Her thorough attention to detail has saved us many embarrassing slips. Her calm and positive demeanor brightens our darkest days and somehow she shepherds us through to our deadline.  We are immensely grateful for her dedication to production of an outstanding undergraduate journal. Also thanks to William Hicks, Head, User Interfaces Unit for his support of undergraduate research at UNT. Thanks to Megan Gellner, Student Assistant, for taking all the beautiful photographs to enhance the journal special features and for designing the journal banners for us. And finally, thanks to Dr. Martin Halbert, Dean of the University Libraries for allowing his staff to create The Eagle Feather for our students at the University of North Texas.