Faith LangfordVol. 4 Letter from the Editors
We were a group of four editors—one senior, one junior and two sophomores— responsible for this year’s Merge publication. We initially hesitated to assume the editorship of Merge given the expertise and precision required in the field. But throughout this semester-long process, we all came to realize our editorship was not merely limited to correcting the papers, but also incorporated organizing, directing, and connecting a cohort of editors, student researchers, and faculty reviewers to bring forth the final product. The Covid-19 pandemic on the other hand delayed our publishing process. With our daily schedule completely changed and challenged due to the crisis, it was harder for our team to communicate in time, let alone work on the journal. Thankfully our faculty advisor Dr. Kim Whitehead regrouped and checked on our staff and students so that we were able to finally assemble this volume despite the crisis. Regardless of the hardships this year, we are extremely thankful for this experience and the Ina E. Gordy Honors College.
Salina Rai, Victoria Choate, Faith Gammel, and Ali Glasgow Editors, 2019-20Vol. 3 Letter from the Editor
The Mississippi University for Women has provided unbelievable experiences for me, and Merge has not been an exception. Over this year, I have worked jointly with Merge and the Office of Undergraduate Research, and these projects have connected me more to this university more than I had been for my previous two years. Did I fear the amount of work I was taking on? Yes, however, I have learned that I like creating something that I am proud of. Did I think I was going to fail? Yes, but it is completely natural to have those thoughts, but you can never let them harm your progress. I’m thankful for the opportunities I have been graced with over the past year and I am sad to let this go. When I first talked to Dr. Whitehead, I made it clear that I wanted to make this my own, moving away from past boundaries and overall, be the overly-extra person I am. As my family, friends, and professors can attest to, I can be very driven when trying to accomplish a task. I apologize to those individuals that I have bothered, but you have all become part of this journey. I would like to thank Dr. Whitehead and the Ida E. Gordy Honors College for providing me this opportunity, the student editors and faculty reviewers that I bothered consistently, and those students who submitted to Merge after I convinced them it was not as scary as they believed. Overall, I hope I have grown Merge and left it in a better place.
Managing Editor, 2018-19Vol. 2 Letter from the Editor
“It takes a village . . .”
At the end of Merge’s first release party, there was talk of finding a new editor, and having just come from releasing another university magazine in which I was a co-editor, I was looking forward to trying my hand at Merge. In all the excitement of publishing another magazine, I imagined all the fun parts and forgot the difficulties that lay in the way. I was woefully unprepared for the hectic schedule of a final year and in the process almost gave up countless times. But thankfully, the community around me was incredibly supportive and they helped guide this lost editor.
There are countless people without whose help I could not have done it, but in the interest of keeping this brief, I would like to give special thanks to the following three people: 1) Dr. Kim Whitehead, Director of Honors, who takes on so many tasks and yet somehow manages to do all of them while at the same time guiding her students as well; 2) Rich Sobolewski, Web Communications Director at the W, for being patient and understanding through all the deadlines; and 3) Bailee Morgan, for going above and beyond in her support and being relentless in her pursuit of completion. (Fun fact: Bailee found the cover art for this edition!)
I would also like to thank all the students who contributed their papers, the individual student editors who took responsibility for submissions, and the faculty reviewers who worked with the student editors. This publication is a collective effort from all of us. Merge has certainly grown after the first year, and it is my hope that it will continue to grow in future editions. The presence of a peer-reviewed journal opens up new avenues for W students and I’m certain they will take full advantage of this opportunity.
Vikrant Thapa Gautam
Managing Editor, 2017-18Vol. 1 Letter from the Editor
Undergraduate research has been a cornerstone of the academic experience of the Ina E. Gordy Honors College for quite some time. Each year, senior-level students conduct an independent research project in their area of academic interest. They are then given the opportunity to present and share this research with their peers. Merge was born out of a desire to expand this opportunity to more students at Mississippi University for Women.
Submissions were accepted from students from every academic department, discipline, and level. The submission process gave students the opportunity to prepare their work for a peer-reviewed academic publication. The online format of this journal allows this student work to be searched and seen by fellow students, other researchers, employers, and anyone interested in the research topics pursued in the work.
Working on this project as Managing Editor has been a rewarding and difficult process. It has given me the opportunity to more fully understand the research process and what it takes to put together a peer-reviewed academic journal. This is a critical skill for continuing in academia, and I hope that many students will have the opportunity to continue to learn this by working with Merge for years to come.
Launching this journal has been a community endeavor. Colin Damms, Cassidy DeGreen, and Gabby Lestrade all served as members of the editorial staff. They were instrumental in advertising the call for submissions, distributing papers, providing feedback, and coming up with ideas for the structure of the journal. The Honors Faculty Committee served as referees to judge papers in their disciplines. Dr. Kim Whitehead played an integral role as faculty advisor to the journal and helped guide the student editors throughout the process. Rich Sobolewski, the university’s Web Communications Director, was crucial in putting together the web version of the journal.
I hope that students, faculty, administrators, and staff across the university all take a few moments to enjoy this new publication. This journal is meant to provide an opportunity for the whole community to come together to celebrate the academic endeavors of students across the university. With your help, this journal can successfully live up to its mission.
Managing Editor, 2016-17