Writing reaches new heights

Students’ knowledge takes flight in the 2021 volume of The CROW (Campus Research and Observational Writings), an annual journal comprised of undergraduate and graduate research. The new edition, published on June 14, encapsulates the work of 19 students who spent the past year researching, learning and translating their knowledge into publishable articles — a very high standard to achieve.

The authors come from many different areas of study giving the journal a wide audience. Readers can learn about topics ranging from popular Christian music in Trump’s America to using computer programming to search for trends in the atmospheric compositions of extrasolar planets.

The research opportunities are sky high in The CROW.

Other topics include the history of America and television, racial oppression adaptations in education, workplace burnout and more.

Rose O’Connor, a member of The CROW’s editorial board and recent graduate who earned a Master of Fine Arts in the Creative Writing & Poetics program, said that as a self-described nerd, she loves to read the different submissions and learn from others’ research.

“I have had so much fun being on the board and working with writers,” said O’Connor. “It gave me a lot of tangible skills that I applied during my academic career, and I know I’ll use them after graduation.”

Success equals satisfaction

One of the writers is Jeff Liao, a recent graduate who earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Liao wanted to learn more about the reasons for workplace burnouts and how to prevent them from happening.

“This is a topic I am extremely passionate about,” Liao said. “Avoiding burnout and being in an environment where you are happy is arguably the most important aspect of your career. A lot of people chase salaries or the prestige that comes with a certain role, but surveys have shown that these things are secondary.

“Above all else, what people actually crave is satisfaction.”

Liao said this is a topic he felt connected to as he studied management within his major. Pushing back against the modern office culture where many are placed in cubicles with minimal interaction, he strives to one day create a more engaging environment where people have the tools to be their best.

He has a job lined up with a condo management firm called CWD where he will be implementing the strategies he learned in his research to his position as the resident services coordinator.

“I am happy The CROW published my work so that we can get more exposure on the topic,” he said, “and I hope that I can make a difference and really help people in my new job.”

Progress in the process

Annika Rundberg Bunney, a recent MFA graduate in the Creative Writing & Poetics program, wrote an essay that reflects on the works of writer and poet Edgar Allen Poe. To do so, Rundberg Bunney read a 1,000-page collection of Poe’s written work then spent six months compiling her research and analysis into what she titled, “Science, Spirits and Speculation: Edgar Allan Poe and the Metaphysical Battle Between Empirical and Supernatural.”

“Poe wrote volumes of work that inadvertently documented his downward emotional spiral and internal struggle between wanting to believe fully in the spiritual or the empirical,” Rundberg Bunney said. “By analyzing a selection of his works alongside his history, his writing reflects his internal metaphysical struggle.

“He was unable to come to terms with the empirical reality of loss and frequently weaves supernatural features into the worlds he creates. It’s his attempt at reconciling the unalterable facts of the natural world with the metaphysical hopefulness of spirituality.”

For Rundberg Bunney, the most rewarding part of the process was knowing that through publication her work will be read by others and therefore, live on. “It doesn’t just stay with me, it gets to have a life somewhere,” she said. “It’s like being a parent and sending your child out into the world for the first time.”

Wanting others to share in that sense of pride, she encourages fellow students to submit their work to The CROW. “You are always taking a chance when you decide to put your writing out to the public, but the reward isn’t just in publication. It’s also about knowing you wrote something you are proud of and put a lot of time and effort into,” she said.

“Whether it gets published or not, you still developed skills in the process and progressed in some way.”

Insight to impress

The new edition of The CROW is available to read online and copies will be available for later distribution. There will also be an event celebrating the contributors and their work at a future date.

O’Connor said that as a board member she has been able to develop skills as a writer, a communicator and a marketer.

“I have learned what makes effective writing, how to best communicate to authors and how to market the journal to the community,” she said. “It has given me a lot of really great experience and skills to add to my resume. It’s equally beneficial for the authors since having their work published is something they can include on higher level education applications, advertise to future employers and talk about in interviews.

“Being able to say that you created an argument and a paper that is of quality high enough to be in an academic journal is extremely impressive.”

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