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 2022 are due on December 3, 2021 by 5:00pm. Students will be notified of a decision by December 13.
Description: This project will continue the work begun in Spring 2021 of adopting,
adapting, and creating materials for an English 203 OER (piloted in AY 2021-2022), as
well as the continued accumulation of ancillary learning and teaching materials, all of
which will be used in training instructors of 203 and will be made accessible to them for
use in their courses, as they are interested in doing so. This project will also continue
the work of editing and revising the English 203 in preparation for external review in
Student Involvement: Student(s) will be asked to assist in locating, reading, and
evaluating literary materials for inclusion in the revised edition of the English 203 OER.
Student(s) will also be asked to read the English 203 OER and provide suggestions
from their unique perspective as an undergraduate.
Student(s) will also be asked to write 1-2 short (3-4 page-) essays on assigned topics
analyzing various literary themes and genres. These essays may serve as examples of
writing about literature, for inclusion in either the English 203 OER or course
template/syllabus or both, depending on issues of copyright/licensing.
Required Skills & Interest: Student(s) should be interested in fostering issues of
inclusivity, diversity, and accessibility in learning and teaching materials, and have good
organizational and writing skills.
Benefits to Student & Faculty: Students will benefit from learning the motivations for
and methods of adopting, adapting, and creating OER materials for a literature course,
as well as having the opportunity to practice and hone reading, writing, and critical
thinking skills. Student may certainly choose to design an ENGL 485 (Directed Studies)
if interested and if the Department allows.
I will benefit from having undergraduate perspective(s) on our new 203 OER and
template/syllabus, as well as having help in editing, revising, and writing for the new 203
OER (pilot AY 2021-2022).
Description: The World Shakespeare Bibliography (WSB) contains entries for
professional Shakespearean performances (plays, mixed media performances, musical
performances, films, opera and ballet premiers, recorded music, radio broadcasts, and
staged and recorded readings) from all over the world. Performance entries in the WSB
include information about where and when the plays are produced, theatre companies,
key personnel (director, dramaturg, translator, adapter, set design, costume design,
etc.), production languages, and reviews. The student selected for the Shakespearean
Performance History project will learn about all these production aspects and will also
learn how to create entries for the World Shakespeare Bibliography.
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: Horror - as a genre - is a field of hybridity. The narratives within the genre cross with science fiction, the Western, folklore, and other - each with a rich investment of scholars to provide critical discussion and analysis of their contributions to the comprehension of the genre's breadth. One area ripe for critical study is the horror musical. This subgenre, niche label directly connects to narratives such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) and Little Shop of Horrors (1986); however, the growth and development of this sector remains untraced and somewhat ignored by scholarly criticism. The international appeal and production of the narratives exist within the Hindi horror musical 3 A.M. (2014), the Polish horror musical The Lure (2015), and Anna and the Apocalypse (2017) in the states. Such a burgeoning line of horror narratives demands academic underpinning to situate its importance in cinema. "The Horror Musical" proposal represents the opportunity to perform scholarly research and writing toward a monograph publication on the subject matter; the proposal seeks a research assistant to help develop and complete the project. Students with an interest in genre (horror and/or musical) studies who wish to gain valuable research and writing skills - along with learning the publication process - are encouraged to apply.
Student Involvement: The selected student will work with me to locate all relevant film narratives and their associated connections (possible original texts in novel, comic book, or short fiction forms) to establish and document the subgenre's canon. They will help locate secondary research written about the narratives and possible contacts for cast/crew interviews regarding the films. Involvement will also include reviewing monograph content for editing, proofing, and possible writing contributions. Other general research practices (organizing materials, communication with each other via email/Zoom, bi-weekly update meetings, etc.) would be included as standard protocol.
Required Skills & Interest: The selected student should have an interest in genre studies, particularly horror and/or the musical, but are not required to have any specific expertise in the subject matter. Basic research methodologies (using online databases, conducting personal interviews, performing Internet searches, etc.) are required.
Benefits to Student & Faculty: The efforts of the student assistant yield benefits that include: acquiring and/or enhancing research skills, learning the academic publication process for monographs, and earning editing/writing credits on completed publication toward the building of their professional curriculum vitae. I would benefit from the assistance in locating materials for the project, creating an archive of the texts, 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. This stage will 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: Student would continue to build 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." Student will, if willing, play and take notes in this database on common tropes, narratives, what Latinx cultures are represented, etc. 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.
Required Skills & Interest: Ability to research, ability to write emails of inquiry, interest in video games and an awareness of the industry, general comfort playing games, willingness to play games of a variety of genres
Description: My research examines the ways that the intellectual and political culture of
Borno, in northeast Nigeria, shaped Black literary culture in the United States during the
18th and 19th centuries. Focusing on the writings of Nicholas Said, who came to the
United States after his manumission in Europe and who soon thereafter fought in the
Civil War, this work broadly considers the relationship of African and Islamic intellectual
networks to Black knowledge production in North America. In its method, the project
brings the intellectual and political histories of West Africa together with Black literary
and cultural production, broadly defined, in North America.
Student Involvement: The student will be involved by researching materials in online
databases, transcribing manuscript materials, and organizing bibliographic records
using Zotero data management software.
Required Skills & Interest: There are no required skills. Interest in and knowledge of
African American literature and culture is welcome, as is experience with Zotero.
Benefits to Student & Faculty: A research assistant will help me collect and review
the material I require to complete my book-in-progress. Research assistance will
particularly valuable to me at a time when in-person access to archives is limited due to
the Covid-19 pandemic.
From this work, the research assistant will gain experience conducting a wide range of
online archival research. In particular, they will be immersed in topics related to Black
print culture and pre-1900 U.S. literature and culture. The student will also receive
advanced experience using Zotero.