Preface to The Eagle Feather 2012

The Eagle Feather (TEF) was first published in fall 2004. It was established as an online electronic journal open to all undergraduate researchers at the University of North Texas. The journal is open to student publications from any major at the university−music, engineering, sociology, chemistry, art, business, fashion merchandising, education, criminal justice—or any of the more than 90 majors available. The only requirements are that the student has worked with a faculty mentor at the university and that the mentor guarantees that the research is the student’s own original work and contributes to knowledge in the field. In the first eight years of publication, articles by 181 students have been published in TEF representing majors in all the schools and colleges with undergraduate majors.

This issue continues the tradition of publishing research by a diverse array of undergraduate students. It contains 34 articles by undergraduate researchers sponsored by 26 faculty mentors. Seven of the student researchers were in the Honors College at UNT and two were McNair Scholars. Three of the student authors─Briana Camp, Meagan Hatton, and Codi Potter─participated in research funded by the UNT Undergraduate Research Initiative developed by the Honors College and funded by the Office of Research and Economic Development.

Of the 11 articles in the first three sections—Humanities, Natural Sciences and Engineering, and Social Sciences—six were Honors College theses. One article was written by a UNT student, Tahirah Dean, who participated in the summer research program at Columbia University under the mentorship of the eminent political scientist, Dr. Robert Shapiro. The other four articles were born of research conducted independently by students working with faculty in classes. In fall 2012, four of these students are attending graduate school, including Mark Adams in political science and Desirae Hamilton in history at the University of North Texas, Kendall Tolle in social work at the University of Texas in Austin, and Alejandro Garrido, in English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Emlynn Chazhikat, mentored by Dr. Gloria Olness in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, was supported by the Undergraduate Research Initiative (URI) program developed by the Honors College and funded by the Office of Research and Economic Development. She and her mentor will present her research at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (AHSA) Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, in November, 2012.

Each year, we try to include some new development in terms of undergraduate research at the university. This year we are highlighting the Howard Hughes Scholars Program (HHMI), a program for freshmen who are planning to major in biology. This program has been funded at UNT for three years and a total of 79 students have participated. The freshman courses in this program are taught by Lee Hughes, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, who is himself a graduate of the Honors program at UNT, and by Dr. Robert Benjamin, a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Harvard University. Highlights of this program include participation by UNT students in the annual HHMI Conference in Virginia, six student poster presentations at the Texas Branch American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Spring Meeting in 2011, and the publication by nearly 50 students of a co-authored paper in the online journal, PLoS, in 2009. Because of his outstanding dedication to undergraduate research, the Honors College is pleased to announce that Dr. Lee Hughes has been chosen as The Eagle Feather Mentor of the Year for 2012!

For some departments, publication in TEF  has become a tradition. Dr. Jennifer Way (TEF  Mentor of the Year 2010) from the Department of Art Education and Art History (TEF  Department of the Year 2010) was the faculty mentor on the very first student article published in The Eagle Feather in 2004. This year’s issue contains the fifth special section in art history. The students in the senior seminar in art history who develop the best capstone projects are selected to publish their original research in the special section. In 2011-2012, Dr. Way held an Undergraduate Research Initiative from the Honors College, funded by the Office of Research and Economic Development at UNT. Dr. Way’s student on this grant completed her project on Molly culture in 19th century London which was presented at the Mid-America Humanities Conference in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Kansas in March 2012, and at the Social History Society Annual Conference at the University of Brighton, in Brighton, England, in April 2012.

The College of Education is well represented with a third special section by student teachers who report on their capstone projects from their student teaching experience mentored by Dr. Jeanne Tunks in the Department of Teacher Education and Administration.

Finally, we are pleased to announce that the Department of Political Science has been selected as The Eagle Feather Department of the Year for 2012! This is the third year that Dr. John Ishiyama and his colleagues have organized a special section of research articles from their Summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) sponsored by the National Science Foundation. This year, they have included ten papers by students from across the United States, including the University of Arizona, Trinity University, Texas A&M at Corpus Christi, Prairie View A&M, the University of Albany-SUNY, SUNY at Binghamton, and the University of Central Florida, as well as the University of North Texas. Faculty REU mentors from the department over the past three years  include, in addition to Dr. John Ishiyama, Dr. Marijke Breuning, Dr. Michael Greig, Dr. Paul Hensel, Dr. Michael Kenwick, Dr. David Mason, Dr. James Meernik, and Dr. Idean Salehyan, and graduate student mentors Jeremy Backstrom, Eric Keels, Angela Nichols, Anna Pechenina, and Michael Widmeier. Political science faculty members were active before receiving the NSF REU grant, having mentored 14 other undergraduate researchers, publishing in TEF in the 2004-2012 volumes. Congratulations to the faculty of the Department of Political Science for their outstanding undergraduate research mentorship.

As always, members of the User Interfaces Unit, Digital Libraries Division, UNT Libraries have transformed the articles we sent over into the beautiful issue you see before you. Thanks to those who work such wonders, including Neena Weng, Head, User Interfaces Unit; William Hicks, Technology Coordinator; Dianne Jansing, Digital Publications Coordinator; and Alexandria Neeley, Student Assistant.

It is our pleasure to present to you the 9th annual issue of The Eagle Feather.