Scholarly Undergraduate Research Journal at Clark (SURJ)


Clark University's Scholarly Undergraduate Research Journal (SURJ) is the institution's first student-run undergraduate interdisciplinary research journal. It aims to promote critical thinking, practical application of knowledge, as well as awareness and recognition of ongoing research throughout the university.

As a completely student-run journal, SURJ members are provided with the opportunity to experience the wide range of publication processes: either as staff member or author. Through the collaboration with SURJ's faculty review boards, the journal seeks to create an avenue for student-faculty partnerships, as well as cross-departmental scholarly dialogue.

Current Volume: Volume 5 (2019)

Letter from the Editor-in-Chief

Dear readers,


It gives me incredible joy to present to you the fifth annual of SURJ. Getting through five initial successful years is the first sign of an organization flourishing, and I am proud to have been a part of this journey.

With five years under the belt, SURJ is also approaching an institutional maturity, and with a consistent uptick in readers and participants, we are on track to have the biggest year we have ever had. With about 11,000 more downloads in the last year since Alex’s letter, our readership has close to doubled. With the number of students associated at various levels (editing, reviewing, designing and of course submitting research) reaching triple figures this year, we can boast of a community that is beginning to more accurately resemble the vibrant research populace that Clark has.

Alex’s interest lay in determining an accurate manner of describing our success. As he concluded, such metrics are hard to establish; and I am thrilled to see SURJ become staple in a collective Clark consciousness. With this, we can try and be a little more risky. It is slowly becoming our mission to grow and become central to undergraduate research as a whole on campus. We need to humanize researchers and their work, and we need to make paths and outcomes clearer to all Clarkies. With a hopeful launch of a SURJ Conference next year, we may find a new domain for academic dialogue. Closer associations with active researchers in graduate programs and faculty on campus, will help as well, and we have tried to lay foundations this year that will become benchmarks for renewed SURJ next year.

It is serendipitous that we are also celebrating 50 years of the Robert Goddard Library as we celebrate 5 years of SURJ! As an attempt to toast this, we celebrate the history, beauty and importance of the library in the community’s consciousness as a center of knowledge on campus. The five pieces we bring to you this year will give you a good glimpse into the scholarship and dialogue on campus, and I would like to think we have accomplished what we set out to.

It is with great pride that I join the likes of Christie Joyce, Lauren Howard and Alex Grayson as former Editors-in-Chief of SURJ. This small community is made of people I admire personally and hope to have held this office with the standard set by these pioneers. It is with commensurate happiness that I pass the reigns on to Shelby Spohn and the rest of the Editorial Board to challenge conventions of academic dialogue and research on our campus in the next year.

Thank you for believing in SURJ!


Natural Sciences


Chemical Epitope Targeting: Review of a Novel Screening Technology
Qurrat Ul-Ain, Rene Kandler, Dylan Gillespie, and Arundhati Nag

Social Sciences