Amalgam highlights graduate research
|Christopher D. Taylor (right) has founded a graduate student research journal, Amalgam (detail of cover above), which is now available online at http://amalgam.virginia.edu.
By Matt Kelly
Graduate students needed a forum for their research, and Christopher D. Taylor has supplied one.
Taylor, a 26-year-old physics and engineering graduate student, has founded Amalgam, a new online journal for graduate student research from a variety of disciplines.
His decision to create Amalgam was based on his desire to share his research in modeling corrosion reactions in computational chemistry with the U.Va. community but finding “a lack of outlets” for such information, Taylor said.
Amalgam initially will be a Web-based digest, though excerpts of some papers will be printed in magazine form and distributed at the graduate research exhibition during U.Va. Research Week, April 11 to 15.
Taylor got funding to support Amalgam from Roseanne M. Ford, associate vice president for research and graduate studies; Peter C. Brunjes, associate dean of graduate programs and research for the College of Arts & Sciences; the Graduate Student Council; and the Parents Program.
Taylor said he and his 12-member production team had received eight submissions by the initial Jan. 28 deadline, including research into the nature of police interrogations and the possibility of false confessions, a critical analysis of lesbian love poetry and a paper on monitoring climate change in Florida mangrove forests.
Amalgam not only gives graduate students a venue for greater exposure of their research, it also gives them practice writing for a broader audience.
“I’m coming from an engineering background, where students write scientifically,” Ford said. “I think it is important that people in the sciences be able to communicate with the general public.”
The more students write, the better they get at it, said Robert G. Kelly, materials science professor in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. The publication team that Taylor formed to create the journal will benefit as well, because “they will learn what it takes to run a technical journal,” Kelly said.
“It is the role of graduate students to do research,” Brunjes said, estimating that all of the roughly 1,800 graduate students at U.Va. are engaged in “original research to write their dissertations. ... Anything that gets graduate students together to talk about research is good.”
Taylor wants the journal to bring graduate students together but admits it is challenging to get together with varied schedules and different hours.
“This has been a lot of hard work,“ said Taylor, an Australian, who came to the United States in 2000, earned a degree in chemistry from the University of Memphis and arrived at U.Va. in 2002 to complete his graduate work.
“I think it’s remarkable what Chris has done,” said Kenneth C. Wilbur, former president of the Graduate Student Council.
Students who want to submit to the journal may send manuscripts and queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.