From Social Media to Pedagogy

With a spotlight on undergraduate research, a new campus journal covers a wide range of topics

A new journal aimed at promoting the research achievements of the campus’s undergraduate students has launched, featuring contributions from nine students in six different fields of study.

The Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (URCA) Journal demonstrates the range of interests and talents of UC Santa Barbara faculty and students, according to Professor Anne H. Charity Hudley, director of undergraduate research and the project’s faculty advisor. “Each article is specifically tailored — thanks to the author, their mentor and our URCA peer review board — for a general readership in order to support the mission of the URCA office, which is to encourage students from all backgrounds and interests to come together as a scholarly community,” she said. “It’s been exciting to see that happen in person and online.”

URCA Journal Editor in Chief Sydney Leigh Martin, left, and Journal Editor Sarah Allen-Sutter. Courtesy photo.

Sydney Leigh Martin served as the editor-in-chief, assisted by Sarah Allen-Sutter as journal editor. “The URCA  journal is this new, innovative, academic thing and is the only journal on campus that is interdisciplinary,” said Martin, who graduated in June with a minor in professional editing and will begin law school at UC Irvine in the fall.

“We received papers from a lot of different disciplines, including a wide range of humanities and fine arts, math, life and physical sciences and social sciences,” Martin continued, noting that about a third of the submissions for the inaugural journal were selected. “It’s a wide range of research but a lot of it focuses on UCSB students. There are specific case studies that people do that are really innovative.”

She emphasized that undergraduate research journals are produced by undergraduate students. While Charity Hudley advised the editors, the reviews were all done by students because, as she explained, “if it’s an undergraduate research journal then students should be able to decide who goes in and who goes out and those students are the best indicator as to whether or not that paper is accessible to a general population.”

The review board consisted of the two editors and nine URCA peer advisors: Lesly Silva, Jordan Mitchell, Sabreena Sukhram, Erika Prado, Brenda Wu, David Lowe, Jasmin Morales, Wendy Santamaria and Xochitl Briseño. It is anticipated that this will be an annual publication.

The 2019 UCSB Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Journal publications include:

A Black Feminist Approach to Recreational Pole Dancing by Brianna A. Robinson, Department of Feminist Studies; Faculty Mentor, Laury Oaks

Unpaid Interns: ‘Breaking Persistent Barriers’ Without Employee Status and Anti-Discrimination Protections by Chelsea Borg, Department of History; Faculty Mentor, Nelson Lichtenstein

White by Association: The Mixed Marriage Policy of Japanese American Internees by Ashlynn Deu Pree, Department of History; Faculty Mentor, Adrienne Edgar

Impact of Ethnic Studies Pedagogy on Latinx Student Achievement by Jose Tapia, Department of Chicanx Studies; Faculty Mentor, Veronica Fematt

Literacy and Social Media: Young Adult Readers in Goodreads Online Communities by Emma Anderson, Department of English; Faculty Mentor, Elizabeth Heckendorn Cook

Investigating the Potential of Interactive Digital Learning Tools by Chinmay Surpur, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences; Faculty Mentor, Richard E. Mayer

Effects of Stress on Cognition and Performance (ESCAPE) by Chinmayee Balachandra, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences; Faculty Mentor, Michael B. Miller

Exposure to Multicultural Environments: Influence on Social Relationships and Altruistic Behavior by Paola Rivera, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences; Faculty Mentor, Vanessa Woods

How Remittances Are Changing Poverty Spending in Central America by Kuvimbanashe Edwin Chikukwa, Department of Political Science; Faculty Mentor, Kathleen Bruhn

Created as an open-access publication in order to expand the reach of the undergraduate research, the journal is available at

Originally published in The Current (UCSB) on July 26, 2019.