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Vol. 3 No. 1 (2024): Pittsburgh Undergraduate Review
					View Vol. 3 No. 1 (2024): Pittsburgh Undergraduate Review

The Editorial Board of the Pittsburgh Undergraduate Review (PUR) is happy to announce the publication of the third volume of the newly-imagined PUR! The PUR, sponsored by the Frederick Honors College, is an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed, undergraduate research journal with over 30 years of history and tradition at the University of Pittsburgh. Our journal focuses on research and creative scholarship conducted by students throughout the Pitt community under the mentorship of University faculty across disciplines and departments. The PUR strives to build a community of undergraduate scholars by promoting and showcasing student work from all fields. The Pittsburgh Undergraduate Review is pleased to present this Fall/Winter 2023-24 volume, highlighting exceptional student scholarship from across the University of Pittsburgh.

I am deeply grateful to the many people who have made this publication possible. The Editorial Board has worked tirelessly since Spring 2023 to revise author guidelines, streamline article submission and review processes, and breathe new life into this storied Pitt tradition. I offer my special thanks to the students who have reached out in the last few months to inquire about opportunities to serve on the Editorial Board, leading to the creation of new positions and initiatives that will enhance the visibility and impact of the Pittsburgh Undergraduate Review throughout the University community. Furthermore, dozens of fellow University of Pittsburgh undergraduate students have volunteered their time and efforts to serve as peer reviewers, ensuring a rigorous blind review process while gaining experience in the academic publishing process. The University of Pittsburgh Library System has offered invaluable help in the logistics of publication. Dr. Brett Say, Director of Honors Research Programs, and Christina Prado, Research Program Assistant, provided critical institutional and organizational support while allowing the journal to remain entirely student-run. Dean Nicola Foote and Assistant Dean Dave Hornyak, along with the entire Frederick Honors College leadership team and staff, have created an intellectual environment in which students from all backgrounds can pose, investigate, and answer challenging questions, offering unswerving support for the PUR and for undergraduate research more broadly.

Most importantly, I am grateful to the authors whose work inhabits the pages of this edition. Their work is rigorous and conveys not only an understanding of, but also a passion for, the themes of their research. We occupy an age in which communication is increasingly reduced to quick emails or text messages, while interpersonal feedback is expressed through emojis and quantified in ‘views’ or ‘likes.’ Simultaneously, American public life and discourse appears dangerously fractured, from the streets of college campuses to the halls of Congress. The two phenomena are not unrelated. Adjectives such as “unprecedented” are employed far too lightly in today’s 24/7 news cycles, but the United States faces an identity crisis of rather unprecedented proportions. A nation that cannot agree on the definitions of fundamental terms, the purpose of government, or the virtues which permit self-governance cannot begin to have a meaningful conversation about downstream policy, social, and personal implications. The authors of the articles that follow illustrate a commitment to engage seriously and substantively--in keeping with the University of Pittsburgh's Year of Discourse and Dialogue--on major issues in the arts, sciences, and humanities. Their work offers hope that the rising generation of scholars takes seriously its obligation to promote good-faith, fact-first dialogue with an eye toward the common good. It has been a pleasure working with these authors, and I am confident that their work in this journal represents just the beginning of highly successful academic and personal journeys.

Thanks also to our readers--we hope you enjoy this volume of the PUR. To our student readers, we encourage you to get involved in research and consider submitting your work to the PUR in future semesters! Feel free to reach out to at any time with feedback, questions, or interest in getting involved!

- Mike Sobol, Editor-in-Chief

Published: 2024-05-13
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Hello and welcome to the Pittsburgh Undergraduate Review! The PUR is an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed online journal where students can publish their honors college-affiliated research and creative work. We publish student submissions in four categories: research, creative writing, visual arts, and reviews. Feel free to explore the site to learn more about the journal and get introduced to our editorial team. If you are a student hoping to publish your work with the PUR, take a moment to review our submission guidelines. We look forward to hearing from you!