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 email@example.com 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 2024 are due on November 20, 2023 by 5:00pm. Students will be notified of a decision by November 27.
Description: This UPREP will introduce an undergraduate student to Open Educational Resources (OER) and to the English 203 libguide, both of which are living documents and require regular attention. For the OER, we will continue to revise and expand chapters in preparation for the Fall 2024 semester. For the 203 libguide, we will continue to gather data on frequently-used texts in literature classes and ensure that reputable copies of those texts are included, whenever possible according to copyright law, in the libguide. In addition to work on these existing resources, we will also begin to compile material to expand the “Writing and Research” chapters of the 203 and Sci-Fi OERs into a standalone “Writing about Literature” handbook OER. Finally, we will also find a professional conference to attend together, the registration (and any additional) fees for which will come out of my UPREP bursary. Because time is short, we will probably attend a virtual conference, but an in-person conference such as 4Cs should not be ruled out, depending on the student’s availability and interest. We will meet weekly to make plans and discuss progress.
Student Involvement: Student and Dr. Carly-Miles will meet weekly to discuss progress regarding ongoing 203 OER revisions, expansion of the 203 libguide, and initial work on expanding OER "Writing about Literature" chapters into an OER handbook. Student will assist with compiling a list of texts used in English department syllabi and then either locating viable copies of those texts in the public domain or requesting they be purchased with unrestricted borrow licenses from the library.
Required Skills & Interest: Interest in reading and writing about literature ; availability to meet weekly.
Benefits to Student & Faculty: Faculty will benefit from assistance in these projects; student will benefit from learning about open education resources and from considering aspects of writing about literature as we work towards creating/compiling a handbook on that subject. Student will also benefit from attending (either virtually or in person) a professional conference in the spring.
Use of Abbott Funds: Funds will be used for conference registration, travel fees if necessary to travel to conference, and one working lunch for student and faculty at the end of the uprep period.
Comments: Thank you for considering!--Claire
Description: In celebration of Texas A&M University’ designation of the host institution of the New Variorum Shakespeare (NVS) and in continued commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the publication of Shakespeare’s First Folio, the Department of English (along with the Glasscock-supported Early Modern Studies Working Group and the Center of Digital Humanities Research) is planning a one-day symposium in the spring of 2024 that will focus on the histories and futures of textual editing of Shakespeare. This symposium will bring together leading scholars in the fields of digital humanities, Shakespeare studies, and textual editing, and it will be open to the A&M community and to the public. Dr. Todd is working alongside many English Department faculty, staff, and graduate students on several initiatives related to the New Variorum Shakespeare and the Spring 2024 Symposium, and the UPREP student would work closely with Dr. Todd in planning and promoting the Spring 2024 Symposium.
Student Involvement: The UPREP student will work on webpage updates for the Spring 2024 Symposium, flyer design and distribution, symposium logistics, and event planning. Ideally, the student will be able to provide in-person assistance at the Symposium (scheduled for April 26, 2024).
Required Skills & Interest: Familiarity with the Google Suite, especially Sheets, is desirable. Student should have an interest in Digital Humanities, Shakespeare, Textual Editing, event planning, and/or professional networking. Student should be detail-oriented, should follow with tasks in a timely fashion, and should demonstrate strong communication skills.
Benefits to Student & Faculty: The student will gain valuable experience in event planning and professional networking. The student will also learn about the exciting fields of digital humanities, textual editing, and Shakespeare studies. The benefit to the faculty will be additional time to devote to the planning and implementation of the initiatives involving the NVS, including the Spring 2024 symposium.
Use of Abbott Funds: N/A
Description: The project involves identifying primary texts and conducting textual analysis (production histories, critical responses, interviews, etc.) on feature-length films and any accompanying written literatures from which they were adapted focused on sci-fi and sci-fi horror cinema narratives with portrayals of childhood and adolescence through AI representation; a foundation in the classics (Shelley's Frankenstein and more) serves as the literary base for the project. From family films like D.A.R.Y.L. (1985) to the horror movie M3GAN (2023) - with a sequel already planned - goals for the research include: an investigation of audience in the niche genre (story content, ratings systems); formation of a critical, theoretical approach to the films' analysis; construction of a historical timeline for the development of the films; interviews with writers, directors, and/or actors of the texts; and the creation of original written content to document research findings. The result of the research - as a physical deliverable - will be an academic text to propose to a credible and applicable publishing house to contribute to genre studies in film, specifically within science fiction and horror studies.
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 breadth of the market. They will help locate secondary research written about the narratives and possible contacts for interviews regarding the films. Involvement will also include reviewing monograph content for editing, proofing, and co-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 science fiction and/or sci-fi horror, but they 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.
Use of Abbott Funds: n/a
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 continue 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. 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. 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.
Use of Abbott Funds: n/a
Description: The prospective UPREP student would help with promoting and advertising creative writing events, speakers, clubs, and other relevant activities.
Student Involvement: The student would help use social media and other strategies for connecting with the A&M community to help inform students, staff, and faculty about creative writing at A&M, especially activities organized by the English Department and assist the Creative Writing Coordinator (Jason Harris0
Required Skills & Interest: Effective English communication and social media tools familiarity and interest in creative writing
Benefits to Student & Faculty: The UPREP student's contribution will help increase attendance and participation from students and overall student, faculty, and staff awareness of the English Department's creative writing impact at A&M.
Use of Abbott funds: To help fund any software or hardware devices that might assist the UPREP student with the promotion and advertising of creative writing activities, speakers, and events.
Description: The New Variorum Edition of Shakespeare (NVS), which began with the publication of Romeo and Juliet in 1871, is now published open-access in digital form, beginning with two editions, The Winter’s Tale and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The digital NVS has been designed with three main goals in mind: 1) to teach students and early career researchers the concepts behind variorum editing through interface design as well as tutorials; 2) to enable searching across and within volumes and variants using Modern English and major Act-Scene-Line numbers; and 3) to be interoperable with, and allow access to, other major Shakespeare digital resources including bibliographies of criticism, digital copies of editions published since Shakespeare’s time, images, and videos (set for third-phase development). Following the practice of state-of-the-art digital humanities projects, we aim to render Shakespeare’s texts and international criticism available world-wide.
Student Involvement: The student researcher will work closely with me, the associate digital editors, and NVS volume editors to create and publish NVS volumes online at: https://newvariorumshakespeare.org/. They will have their choice of working on different aspects of the digital editing process, including locating relevant historical editions of Shakespeare plays for individual NVS volumes, OCRing and transcribing editions for collation, XML-encoding physical volumes for online publication, testing and providing feedback for the backend editing tools, assisting in creating documentation for training and workflow, and helping editors and the NVS backend developer think through the process of transforming physical editions into digital texts. Depending on their interests, they can choose what they would like to focus on for this project.
Required Skills & Interest: The student researcher should have an interest in either Shakespeare or DH—preferably both. Previous experience with XML and/or Gitlab is desired, but not required. Project-specific training will be provided.
Benefits to Student & Faculty: This project will benefit the student researcher by enhancing their research skills and enabling them to learn about both traditional editing techniques and methods in Shakespeare Studies and the newer digital editing and publishing practices. They will receive credit on our website’s Contributors page and their participation in this international project will help them build their professional CVs. Their efforts will help this project advance into the next phase more quickly, which we believe will greatly contribute to our recruiting efforts for the NVS project PI/tenure-track early modern hire as well as the early modern transformational hire this year.
Use of Abbott Funds: If possible, we would like to apply Abbot funds to secure copies--or just images--of any Shakespeare edition that may not be freely available through our library, interlibrary loan, or online. We are now tracking down editions for the process of collation.
Comments: Thank you for considering our application.
Description: I would like to have a UPREP to assist me this coming spring in the preparation of a monograph manuscript that is part of one of the new CAS merger grants, “The hidden science of Richard Waller: Artistic representations of science in the early decades of the Royal Society of London.” During this semester, I and my co-author, Dr. Lawrence Griffing (Biology) will be doing the annotations on Waller’s long manuscript poem describing how the material world came into being, a re-telling of the Genesis story without referencing the Bible but through the lens of seventeenth-century science mixed with classical mythology. We also will be drafting the introduction, focusing on the context of popular versions of the Genesis story and attempts to create a historical timeline for creation as well as the writings of early scientists on fossils and related natural phenomenon.
Student Involvement: The UPREP would be meeting with me to work on the annotations--who better than a sharp undergraduate to let you know where a gloss is needed and if it is clear?-- and also to help track down other late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century accounts of the formation of the natural world to be used in the introduction.
Required Skills & Interest: A student with an interest in the development of early scientific writing and thought would find this a rewarding project, as would any student interested in how early modern manuscript materials are edited and become print texts. Attention to detail, enthusiasm for using online databases, and willingness to learn basic seventeenth-century handwriting styles would be welcome.
Benefits to Student & Faculty: Students would get hands on experience in how a scholarly publication comes to life as well as having an opportunity if they desired to develop an independent project 485 on Restoration science and scientists or Biblical narratives in the context of the new science.
Use of Abbott Funds: not applying for as I have Lindsey funds
Description: Jean Ingelow (1820-1897) was a British poet and fiction writer, including Mopsa the Fairy, a novella for children. Ingelow's work won both popular and critical acclaim; she was considered a formidable rival to women poets such as Christina Rossetti, to whom she was frequently compared, and her American readers (unsuccessfully) petitioned Queen Victoria to name Ingelow as the first female laureate. Despite her fame and influence, there is little reliable biographical scholarship on Ingelow, and her letters -- the single most important resource for understanding her life, work, and impact -- have yet to be gathered and published. By collecting, transcribing, and annotating Ingelow's 200+ letters, this project will allow scholars to gain a more accurate understanding of Ingelow's career and international connections.
Student Involvement: The student will work with digital images of Ingelow's handwritten letters, helping to transcribe them and to research people, events, and other details mentioned within them. The student might also help with additional editorial tasks such as creating and updating a list of correspondents. The student would be welcome to design a 485 (not sure this would be a good 484 project but I would be willing to consider it).
Required Skills & Interest: Attention to detail; familiarity with the Google Docs Editors suite; interest in digital humanities and working with primary sources; interest in publishing history and biographical scholarship. Students should have some familiarity with 19th century British and/or American literature and history.
Benefits to Student & Faculty: Student benefits: strengthen and widen research skills through work with primary sources; gain experience with scholarly editing and digital humanities platforms.
Faculty benefits: assistance with editorial and research tasks
Use of Abbott funds: Purchase software, possible travel to the Humanities Research Center at UT-Austin; purchase of high quality images of manuscripts; possible purchase of software for text encoding or other research tasks.