Each semester, the Department of English offers 5-7 UPREP projects for undergraduate English majors. The Undergraduate Professional and Research Experience Program (UPREP) allows students the opportunity to work alongside a faculty member on a research project outside of the classroom. Student involvement can range from working as an editorial or research assistant to aiding in the preparation for an academic conference.
Students who are selected to work on a UPREP project will:
- serve as a project assistant for a faculty member for up to 100 hours throughout the semester
- gain invaluable practical experience in an area of interest for future academic or career plans
- submit an evaluation report of her/his experience at the end of the term
- have the opportunity to earn academic credit in the form of an ENGL 485 contract
- receive a $750 stipend at the end of the semester when all duties are completed
In order to apply, please complete the UPREP Application and email to firstname.lastname@example.org or drop off a hard copy of your application to LAAH 352 by the deadline. Students may apply to more than one project, but will need to complete a separate application for each one.
All student applications for Spring 2023 are due on November 7, 2022 by 5:00pm. Students will be notified of a decision by November 28.
Description: The World Shakespeare Bibliography (WSB) is seeking a student for its Shakespearean Performance History project. The goal of this project is to produce entries for Shakespearean performances that will appear in the WSB (http://www.worldshakesbib.org). This process includes gathering data through theatre company websites, occasional correspondence with theatre companies, books, theatre publications and databases, performance reviews, and articles; determining what data needs to be included in the WSB; researching histories of particular productions; and composing and submitting entries to the WSB's editors.
The WSB provides annotated entries for all important books, articles, book reviews, dissertations, theatrical productions, reviews of productions, audiovisual materials, electronic media, and other scholarly and popular materials related to Shakespeare and published or produced between 1960 and the present. The scope is international, with coverage extending to more than 120 languages and representing every country in North America, South America, and Europe and nearly every country in Asia, Africa, and Australasia. The over 131,500 records cite several hundred thousand additional reviews of books, productions, films, and audio recordings.
The student should be interested in Shakespearean performances and researching these performances. The student should be familiar with searching for items using electronic databases and Evans Library's LibCat and Get It For Me systems. The student needs to be able to use Microsoft Word and Google Drive (including spreadsheets). Although reading knowledge of a foreign language isn't required, it's useful for this project. Students will work with Dr. May.
Student Involvement: The student selected for the Shakespearean Performance History project will gather data through theatre-company websites, occasional correspondence with theatre companies, books, theatre publications and databases, performance reviews, and articles; will determine what data needs to be included in the WSB; will research histories of particular productions; and will compose and submit entries to the WSB's editors. The student will be guided through each stage of this process and will also get to see the entries published to the WSB.
Required Skills & Interest: The student should be interested in Shakespearean performances and researching these performances. The student should be familiar with searching for items using electronic databases and Evans Library's LibCat and Get It For Me systems. The student needs to be able to use Microsoft Word and Google Drive (including spreadsheets). Although reading knowledge of a foreign language isn't required, it's useful for this project. A detail-oriented, intellectually curious student would be best for this position.
Benefits to Student & Faculty:
The student will develop skills in research and bibliography and will learn a great deal about Shakespearean performances, as well as trends in production techniques and performance scholarship, from all over the world. Additionally, the student will benefit from involvement in an ongoing and well-established digital project that is crucial to early modern and Shakespearean scholarship. This could help prepare the student for a career in editing or publishing as well as provide training that will be useful in graduate school. The meticulous research and analytic skills gained by participating in this digital project, not to mention the exposure to arts and culture around the world, will stand this student in good stead. Faculty members will benefit from the student's work because it will directly impact the number of performances added to the WSB, which will make the WSB a better research tool for faculty. The WSB's workload is always high, and there is a backlog of performances to be entered into the WSB.
Description: This project will continue developing and revising the 203 OER, as well as focusing on the accumulation and organization of ancillary materials for instructors of 203.
Student Involvement: Student will assist with reading and assessing the 203 OER, participate in English 203 OER and Ancillary Materials Committees, provide feedback on all materials, and assist with the creation and organization of zoom recordings to contribute to ancillary teaching resources.
Required Skills & Interest: An interest in literature and the ability to attend meetings during business hours.
Benefits to Student & Faculty: Students will benefit from seeing and participating in committee work, interacting with faculty and grad students on materials, and attending sessions at a professional conference.
Description: Visual literatures represent a broad field of study including comic books, manga, the graphic novel, television, film, games, and social media. Each of these fields of art and entertainment provides readers and audiences narratives as engaging, in-depth, and didactic as classic written literature (poetry, short fiction, and novella/novel); however, visual literatures are often misunderstood in complement to their written counterparts. The goal of this project is to begin the development of a visual OER textbook that can be utilized for English courses and beyond in which the study and analysis of literature expands into visual spaces ranging from the comic book to the feature-length film (e.g., Barbarella comics created by Jean-Claude Forest in the early 1960s to Roger Vadim’s film of the same title in the late 1960s). As much as we ask what we learn from reading George Eliot or James Baldwin in classic and modern written literature, we can afford the same study to Satoshi Kon’s Perfect Blue (1997), Yvette Lee Bowser’s Living Single (1993-1998), or even the GTA (Grand Theft Auto) story mode. Considerations for visual literatures have already been addressed in English Department OERs created for ENGL 104, ENGL 203, and our new Sci-Fi/Fantasy OER; this textbook will provide an in-depth exploration of visual literatures, starting with a concentration on film and television, one of the more common and wide-reaching spaces of visual storytelling.
Student Involvement: The student researcher will work with the instructor on: organizing the OER into relevant chapters for development; researching critical theory and criticism to include in the textbook; locating relevant film and television narratives to reference for chapter development; reviewing previous OER materials to revise and incorporate into the new textbook; creating sample writings for instructor and student access; and contributing original writing about the OER subject matter. Simultaneously, the student will be able to help research a related niche area of study for a monograph project regarding the combination of youth and artificial intelligence in sci-fi cinema. They will help locate secondary research about the field of study and review visual texts to include in the book. Other general research practices (organization of materials, communication with each other via email, Zoom, and in-person meetings) will be included as standard protocol.
Required Skills & Interest: The selected student should have an interest in visual media studies, particularly film and television, but they are not required to have any specific expertise in the field. Basic research methodologies (using online databases, performing Internet searches, etc.) are required.
Benefits to Student & Faculty: The selected student will benefit from: acquiring and/or enhancing research skills, learning the academic process for OER creation, and earning editing/writing credits on the completed publication toward the building of their professional curriculum vitae. For the additional monograph project, the student will have the opportunity to contribute original writing and learn about the book-publication process. I would benefit from the assistance in locating materials for the project, organizing content, chronicling previous research on the subject matter, and having a second reader for editing and proofing.
Description: This project works at the intersection of game studies and Latinx studies.While I would like to discuss games more broadly, this initial stage would focus on Latinidad (conceptions of what it means to be Latinx) in video games. I plan to explore how Latinx identity and peoples have been represented by non-Latinx video creators as well as how a growing number of Latinx game developers are creating their own stories. How are characters represented? What experiences do creators attempt to simulate? How do developers employ and subvert stereotypes and tropes? How do Latinx games engage with Latin America and increasingly transnational conceptions of Latinidad? This would be the first book length work on Latinx video games, following up on Phillip Penix-Tadsen's (2016) recent work on Latin America and the video game industry.
Student Involvement: Students would help create a database of Latinx video game creators (both independent creators as well those who work in design for larger game developers), video games with Latinx characters, and narratives marked as "Latinx." The student may also be asked to help initiate contact with game developers or engage with archives that could mail game materials from the Learning Games Initiative Research Archive. Past UPREP students have attended conferences and analyzed both video and analog games with Latinx characters and stories.
Required Skills & Interest: Ability to research, ability to write emails of inquiry, interest in video and analog games and an awareness of the industry, general comfort playing games or reading game manuals, willingness to play games of a variety of genres, willingness to attend conferences and events
Benefits to Student & Faculty: Faculty Benefit: This database would help create a foundation for interviewing Latinx game developers, finding games and developers that are lesser known so that the research project can discuss games that have not yet been discussed. Ultimately, this would help me move along a second book project on Games and Latinidad. Student Benefit: Students would get experience in the burgeoning field of Latinx digital humanities, as well as game studies and Latinx studies in general. Students interested in entering the games industry or writing for games, TV, film, or social media would benefit from considering issues of diversity and inclusion in new media. In the past,
students have also had UPREP funds pay for attendance at a conference.