New Journal Showcases Innovative Graduate Student Research

Posted: April 3, 2014 at 5:02 am, Last Updated: April 7, 2014 at 11:54 am

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Courtesy Journal of Mason Graduate Research

Caption. Photo courtesy of Brett Say

Peer Review Editor Syd Merz (right) and student volunteer Nedra Cossa, both PhD candidates in education, help orchestrate a peer review training for the Journal of Mason Graduate Research. Photo courtesy of Journal of Mason Graduate Research

By Brett Say

As George Mason University moves into the first year of its strategic plan, a new graduate student journal promises to spotlight George Mason’s vision of promoting research of consequence, community scholarship and innovative thinking.

The inaugural issue of the Journal of Mason Graduate Research (JMGR) consists of work from more than 30 student volunteers and several faculty advisors. It provides Mason, and the broader academic community, a quality peer-reviewed, open access journal for graduate research. With Mason’s graduate programs currently supporting more than 10,000 full-time and professional graduate students, graduate education may well be a significant factor that helps Mason move toward its goal of becoming a top-tier, interdisciplinary research university.

The idea for the JMGR was conceived in spring 2012, when Mason graduate students and faculty formed a committee intent on developing an online journal as a way for graduate students to publish and showcase their contributions to research in the Mason community. Promoting student accomplishments is certainly not new here at Mason, however. Journals, such as The George Mason Review, have been successfully showcasing undergraduate work for some time, and their success has encouraged graduate students to follow suit.

The Graduate and Professional Student Association (GAPSA) has been a significant supporter of the JMGR since the beginning. Steven Harris Scott, former GAPSA president and a PhD student in history at Mason, is pleased that graduate students have another outlet in which to share their work. He serves as marketing director and chief financial officer for the journal.

“As GAPSA president in 2012-13, one of the new initiatives I wanted to pursue was to showcase graduate student research at Mason,” Harris Scott says. “Every time I talked with grad students and heard of their wonderful research projects, I realized we didn’t have a way for people outside of their given programs to hear about all of this research going on at Mason. It has been great to be involved with the journal, and I hope it grows to become a viable option for Mason graduate students looking to publish early in their careers.”

The mission of the JMGR isn’t strictly focused on research but on service and community, as well. The journal aims to provide Mason faculty with opportunities for service through advising and mentorship, and promotes an interdisciplinary culture by not limiting submissions to a specific field.

Cody Edwards, associate provost for graduate education, has acknowledged the importance of these types of student efforts by funding a graduate assistantship to the journal. Stefan Amrine, a PhD student in education policy, is the first graduate assistant for the JMGR and knows better than most the benefits of being involved in this kind of effort.

“As a graduate student, I am always seeking relevant teaching, research and service opportunities,” Amrine says. “Through the journal, I have been able to do all three. It has been a great opportunity to meet fellow graduate students and collaborate with a community of scholars and faculty. I strongly encourage Mason graduate students to become involved!”

Voluntary support from dedicated faculty — such as Jaime Lester and Mary Zamon, faculty advisors for the journal — is an indicator that Mason’s faculty is ready and willing to help graduate students succeed.

The JMGR Editorial Board comprises Marilyn Sharif, chief editor; Amrine; Brett Say, associate editor; Sydney Merz, peer review editor; Harris Scott; Josh St. Louis, managing editor; Josh Yavelberg, web director and publication editor; Lester; Zamon; and Anne Driscoll, Mason’s education liaison librarian and consultant to the JMGR for the Open Journal System.

If you are interested in being involved with the journal, either as a student or faculty advisor, positions are open. For more information, contact Amrine at jmgr.assistant@gmail.com.

Write to Robin Herron at rherron@gmu.edu

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