Student Research Journal

The Annual USC Upstate Student Research Journal is a compilation of outstanding papers submitted by undergraduate and graduate students who have been involved in faculty-mentored research projects and creative activities. This multidisciplinary journal is distributed to regional high schools, colleges, business and organizations. The Journal provides a snapshot of the types of research activities at USC Upstate that involve undergraduate and graduate students. 

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact:

Dr. Melissa Pilgrim, Editor-in-Chief
864-503-5457

Call for Papers

Call for Papers

The deadline for the submission of a research or creative manuscript is Oct. 31, 2017. The manuscript must be in MS Word format (a .doc file) and all parts of the online application form must be completed. The last step of the form allows you to upload your paper in word format. The student should only submit their contribution after receiving approval from their faculty mentor.

Original research articles and creative articles produced by current or recent USC Upstate undergraduate or graduate students along with the help of their faculty project adviser(s) will be considered for publication. The article should describe a project that was recently completed and similar versions of the article should be published elsewhere. If you are submitting an identical version of a paper that has already been published in a journal or conference proceedings, make sure the other publications do not object if your paper ends up being selected for publication in “The USC Upstate Student Research Journal."

Review Criteria

Papers are reviewed based on the following criteria: A well-written paper; significance and purpose of the research well described for a multi-disciplinary audience; well-developed research and methodology; thoughtfully interpreted and analyzed results; excellent utilization of supporting materials or references; a non-repetitive, efficiently organized, convincing and easy-to- follow paper.

There is a best student paper award competition, where the top-ranked paper submitted with an undergraduate as the first author will receive a prize of $500 and the top ranked paper submitted by a graduate student as the first offer will receive a prize of $500. The specific review rubric used by the Editorial Board can be viewed here. Note that students are eligible to submit to the journal and compete in the student award competition up to one year following graduation from USC Upstate.

Submission Guide (PDF) 

Use the Submission Guidelines to develop and format your manuscript submission (guidelines).

Remember your audience. Your article will be read by mostly undergraduates (as well as scholars from a wide range of academic disciplines) and thus should be readable and comprehensible to anyone interested in this topic, regardless of their expertise. Yet, one should avoid devoting more than a few sentences toward the explanation of standard information that should be known to the majority of those in academia. Your manuscript should uphold a sophistication that represents the standards that USC Upstate strives to promote.

The Editorial Board

Dr. Melissa Pilgrim
Editor-in-Chief 

Dr. Pilgrim is an Associate Professor of Biology. Her primary research focus involves an integrative approach to investigating how ecosystems respond to environmental change (natural and anthropogenic). She uses herpetological systems as her animal models and currently has an army of undergraduate students working with her in a research group called Upstate Herpetology. She has published works in several journals, including the following: Isotopes in Environmental and Health Studies; OIKOS; Copeia; and Southeastern Naturalist.

Dr. June Carter
Associate Editor 

Dr. Carter is a Professor of Spanish and Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence. Her research interests include Latin American narrative and film; Afro-Hispanic literature; Latin American female writers; and US Latino/a literature. She has published works in several journals, including the following: Anuario de Letras; Latin American Literary Review; Caribbean Quarterly; The Rocky Mountain Review; Prismal Cabral; and Studies in Afro Hispanic Literature.

Dr. Michael Dinger
Associate Editor

Dr. Dinger is an Assistant Professor of Management. His research interests include information security and IT workforce management. He has published his work in several journals, including the following: MIS Quarterly, Information Systems Research IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management and Journal of Organizational Computing and Electronic Commerce.

Dr. Lynette Gibson
Associate Editor

Dr. Gibson is an Associate Professor of Nursing and the Director of Research in Nursing at the Mary Black School of Nursing. Her primary research is focused on increasing health equity in ethnic minorities. She is testing the effect of a community-based intervention on screening mammograms by African-American women. She has worked with several undergraduate nursing students in conducting and presenting this research. She was a 2014 Summer Nursing Research Institute Fellow at the Institute for Health Equity at the School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania. She has published articles in Applied Nursing Research, ABNF Forum, Journal of the National Black Nurses’ Association and Clinical Nurse Specialist™.

Dr. Tina Herzberg
Associate Editor

Tina Herzberg, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Special Education and currently serves as Director of Graduate Programs for the School of Education. Her primary research interests are braille literacy and preparation of tactile materials for students who are visually impaired. Her research began with the exploration of quality in literary braille materials and has now transitioned to exploration of quality in math braille materials. Her work has primarily been published in the international peer-reviewed Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness. Prior to her arrival at USC Upstate, she served as a general education classroom teacher, an itinerant teacher of students with visual impairment, specialist for a regional service center and adjunct instructor.

Elaine Marshall
Associate Editor

Elaine Marshall is the Director of Sponsored Awards at USC Upstate. She has been with the University since 1996 and works with all faculty and staff on the Upstate campus who pursue and receive grant funding. Elaine holds a national Certified Research Administrator designation from the Research Administrators Certification Council. She also has a BA in English and History and a MA in English Literature from Clemson, where she also taught full-time before coming to USC Upstate.

Dr. Ben Montgomery
Associate Editor

Dr. Montgomery is an Assistant Professor of Biology. His research focuses on the evolutionary ecology of plant reproduction and plant pollinator interactions. He is currently focused on the partitioning of pollinators among different species of Silene, a genus of wildflowers with a wide array of floral traits and multiple pollination syndromes. Dr. Montgomery is also interested in delayed self-pollination as a mechanism that allows for cross pollinations while also providing reproductive assurance. His longer term research interests include competition for pollination between different species and mechanisms for the maintenance of cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) as well as repercussions of CMS for the maintenance of genetic diversity. He has been working with the Spartanburg Trees Coalition to work toward the eradication of Kudzu in the natural area on the USC Upstate Campus and is the de facto curator of the Upstate Herbarium. He has published his work in several journals, including the following: Biological Invasions, Oecologia, Annals of Botany,American Midland Naturalist, Oikos, and Botany.

Journal Volumes

Current and past volumes of the Journal will be accessible from this page. The Journal is available in both hard copy and PDF electronic format. The electronic versions of the Journal volumes can be accessed by clicking on the desired cover below. To obtain a hard copy version of the Journal, please contact:

Dr. Melissa Pilgrim, Editor-in-Chief 
864-503-5781                    

Student Research Journal FAQs

Who can submit to the USC Upstate Student Research Journal?
Any current or recent USC Upstate graduate or undergraduate student who has concluded a research project or creative activity can submit to the USC Upstate Student Research Journal. Non-USC Upstate undergraduates who have completed a project under the mentorship of a USC Upstate faculty member are also eligible. The student should only submit their contribution after receiving approval from their faculty mentor.

What is the USC Upstate Student Research Journal submission deadline?
The submission deadline for papers is announced at the beginning of each fall semester. More details can be found within the Call for Papers above. In addition, you may refer to the SARS Calendar for yearly deadlines.

Can creative project manuscripts be submitted?
Yes. For creative projects, we invite an extended description of the project, illustrations or more appropriate materials instead of a full-length manuscript.

Can my submission be the result of a class research or creative project?
Yes. Outstanding research or creative manuscripts resulting from a class project are welcomed. In this case, your course instructor would be your faculty mentor.

Can I also submit my paper to the Annual SC Upstate Research Symposium?
Yes. You may submit a condensed version of your Journal submission to the SC Upstate Research Symposium. Further, if you previously presented your research at the SC Upstate Reseach Symposium you are encouraged to submit an extended version of a paper/poster that you presented to the USC Upstate Student Research Journal.

What is the review and selection process for the USC Upstate Student Research Journal?
The Faculty Editorial Board reviews submissions, makes the final selection of articles and coordinates the final publication of the USC Upstate Student Research Journal with the University Communications Department.

What are the selection criteria for the papers?
Papers are reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • A well-written paper
  • Significance and purpose of the research is well described for a multidisciplinary audience
  • Well-developed research design and methodology
  • Thoughtfully interpreted and analyzed results
  • Excellent utilization of supporting materials or references
  • A non-repetitive, efficiently organized, convincing and easy-to-follow paper

Can I have a co-author?
You can have USC Upstate undergraduates and your faculty project advisor as co-authors. Other research personnel should be recognized in the acknowledgements section of your paper.

Can I request an extension on the deadline to submit my paper?
Yes. If your project or paper will not be completed by the deadline, and you are still interested in submitting for the USC Upstate Student Research Journal, send an e-mail to Dr. Melissa Pilgrim in the Sponsored Awards and Research Support office explaining your situation.

How will I know if my paper has been selected for the USC Upstate Student Research Journal?
You and your faculty mentor will receive an email about your status.

What subjects and how many papers do you publish each year in the USC Upstate Student Research Journal?
We welcome papers from all disciplines. The decision to publish a paper depends only on the quality of the paper. We do not have a quota as to how many to publish. Decisions are based on quality only. If all the papers submitted are excellent, we will publish them all; likewise if all the papers are poor, no USC Upstate Student Research Journal will be published that year.

What kind of format is required for the USC Upstate Student Research Journal?
Paper submission guidelines can be found within the Call for Papers section above. Only papers that adhere to these guidelines will be considered for possible publication in the USC Upstate Student Research Journal.

My faculty mentor has not read my paper. Should I submit it anyway?
No. All papers that are submitted must be read by faculty mentors prior to submission. A faculty mentor's approval is extremely important and increases your chance of being published.

I don't know how to cite sources. Where can I go for help?
For citing sources, you must use the guidelines stated within the Call for Papers section above. The Paper Submission Guidelines on the Call for Papers also lists how to cite common references, such as books, scholarly journals, magazine and newspaper articles and anthologies.

My project involves the use of human or animal subjects. What should I do?
If your project involves human or animal subjects, please make sure your study has obtained the appropriate IRB or IACUC approval prior to starting your project. You must provide the number approving this study. If you do not have this approval, your paper will not be considered for possible publication. See website of the Office of Research Compliance -  for additional information.

Do I need to respond to the biographical questions and turn in a picture?
Yes. After your paper has been accepted, you be instructed on how to get your picture taken by a photographer on campus and you will need to answer a short questionnaire. Published papers will include a brief biographical section about the authors.

Can I make revisions to my paper after I submit it?
Yes, but only if the Faculty Editorial Board deem such changes are necessary and would greatly enhance how understandable your paper is. Revisions should be submitted only after you receive a request from the Editorial Board for such changes. Such papers are considered borderline cases and have a good chance of being published.

Can I also submit my paper to other journals?
Yes, but make sure the other publications do not object if your paper ends up being selected for publication in The USC Upstate Student Research Journal. This is assuming that you are submitting identical versions of the paper to both journals.

For any other questions, please contact Dr. Melissa Pilgrim, 864-503-5781.