Newcomb-Tulane College is pleased to announce the latest publication of the Tulane Undergraduate Research Journal (TURJ). Tulane University is one of the top research universities in the United States and our researchers are eager to include undergraduates in their work. The ease of accessing research opportunities via the Research Network allows students to engage in meaningful research, develop skills within their chosen field and connect with faculty beyond the classroom. “One of my top priorities as Dean of Newcomb-Tulane College is expanding opportunities for NTC students to conduct research under the mentorship of their faculty, and I am so thrilled to see the wonderful results of our students’ work in the pages of TURJ,” said Lee Skinner, Dean of Newcomb-Tulane College.
Each year, the TURJ showcases the exciting, original research conducted by our outstanding undergraduate students. “The research by undergraduate students in TURJ exemplifies just some of the interesting and critical research in which NTC students are engaged. In addition to their own research within and across many disciplines, NTC undergraduate students work alongside research faculty in labs, in the field, in the archives, and more,” said Celeste Lay, NTC Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs.
This year’s publication highlights work from Ning Xi, Valerie Warkins and a team of researchers, including Eshan Damle, Ysabelle Broderson, Nicola Anderson, Sharhana Shrestha, William Bai, Jordan Godfrey, Arjun Yusufji, Lindsey Friedmann, Yasmin Maurice, Meagan Kelly, Grace Qian, and Dr. Meenakshi Vijayaraghavan.
Ning Xi, a sophomore double majoring in English and history, worked with professors Justin Wolfe and Elisabeth McMahon to study New World Countries during the PostColonial Period. Their research compares how different societies treated women and Native Peoples. They found that, contrary to common conceptions, Spanish-speaking societies tended to grant more rights, provide additional chances for assimilation and allow a greater level of participation in society than English-speaking societies. “I felt pure euphoria when I learned that my paper was selected for publication,” said Xi. “This is a benchmark for my college experience and will inspire me to continue my research efforts. I would definitely recommend TURJ to my fellow students. It was a great experience working with the TURJ editorial team to get my first publication.”
Graduating senior Valerie Warkins majored in neuroscience and minored in public health. Her research investigated cortical inhibition in the thalamocortical circuit of mice. Cortical inhibition is important for finetuning the cortical activity of the adult mouse brain. Incomplete or improper development of cortical inhibitory interneurons is associated with disorders such as epilepsy and autism. Further study could provide insight into the pathophysiology of such disorders.
Rising junior Eshan Damle is majoring in neuroscience and minoring in psychology, philosophy, and cell & molecular biology. He worked with a cohort of students under Dr. Meenakshi Vijayaraghavan to examine the ways that natural and anthropogenic disasters can impact water quality in coastal Louisiana, with specific attention to the impact on salinity, dissolved oxygen and pH metrics. Damle said, “Personally, research has improved my academic experience by reshaping how I view the world and by informing my approach to novel problems. In designing, conducting, and communicating the results of research experiments, I have learned to ask ‘why?’ and ‘how?’ about everything, which has allowed me to gain a deeper level of understanding of the topics that I study.”