By Bethany Ward, Staff Writer–
The UReCA (Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity) is a nationally renowned journal housed at the UTC Honors College that is making national strides in undergraduate publications.
According to Thomas Weigand, Editor-in-Chief of UReCA and current senior at UTC, about five years ago the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) asked for proposals from different universities across the United States seeking to house an undergraduate research journal. They offered funding to an honors college willing to do so, and UTC students put together a proposal and were chosen by NCHC.
As the journal’s bio says, UReCA is an “academic community without borders…a platform where students can engage with and contribute to the advancement of their individual fields.”
Since being housed at UTC, UReCA has expanded its borders. Total submissions for each edition increased from 50 submissions in 2016 to 175 submissions in 2019, according to the annual report draft.
The organization’s mission is to publish relevant and progressive content that appeals to undergraduate students. UReCA is in touch with the interests of its peers because the staff serves not only as the creators of the journal, but also as the audience, says the journal’s bio.
The nature of the journal is such that any undergraduate student at any university globally can submit work for publication.
“I’d say the good thing about the nature of UReCA is the fact that it provides an outlet that is much more connected,” said Weigand. “The way that we disseminate [student’s] work is online, which makes sure that their ideas and their innovation gets out to a wider audience than it would if they were just trying to publish with their campus.”
Because of this, Weigand encourages students to submit their work, although publication is competitive.
“It’s a good way for the student to be recognized, to potentially meet other faculty that they may work with in the future,” Weigand added. “It’s just more exposure, that’s how we all feel about it.”
Publication categories include Science, Social Sciences, Humanities, Visual Art, and Creative Writing.
Weigand advises students to work closely with a faculty advisor to get their pieces ready for publication if they plan to submit it for consideration. Students can write about almost anything they’re interested in.
“We’re about to publish an ecology research piece on how bees and other insects who pollinate flowers perceive color. We don’t get that kind of submission very often,” said Weigand.
“I think there’s a lot of students who feel that just because they’re undergraduates, they don’t have an opportunity to get published,” said Weigand. “It’s important for them to know that that’s not the case.”