When the sixth volume of “Philologia,” the undergraduate research journal of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, is unveiled on April 8, its three top editors will have much to celebrate.

“We are really proud of this product,” said Managing Editor Josh Higgins of Galax, Va., a senior double-majoring in communication and political science. “Everyone on the team has worked really hard to make sure we have a topnotch journal.”

“Philologia” is Greek for “love of learning.” This year’s journal is 72 pages of articles with full-color photos and graphics, all written, edited, and designed by students. Containing research manuscripts, feature articles, and creative scholarship such as poetry and artwork, “Philologia” is the result of planning that began in August 2013 with a call for students to submit their work.

“Our biggest accomplishment was how we incorporated all the different disciplines of the college into one research journal,” Higgins said. His role was to keep the journal’s production on schedule by communicating with the editing team, coordinating meeting times, and making sure deadlines were met.

He worked closely with Editor-in-Chief Sam Sacks of Norfolk, Va., who selected him as managing editor. Sacks said about 30 submissions were made for the 2014 edition. He, Higgins, and a staff of eight associate editors and designers selected half of those to be polished for publication.

A senior with a double major in sociology and political science, and a minor in leadership and social change, Sacks said the journal workload was “more than I thought coming into it. You have to keep the team focused and maintain communication with the faculty board, the deans, the authors and artists — a total of about 40 people. That was the biggest challenge.”

He credited the college faculty, especially Visiting Assistant Professor Marc Lucht, interim director of the Undergraduate Research Institute, and Instructor Ryan Rideau with ensuring the journal’s success. “Without their help we would have been just a group of lost students,” Sacks said. “It took a lot of work from us, but we had their guidance.”

Lead designer for this year’s journal was senior Andrea Ledesma of San Jose, Calif., who has a major in history with minors in American studies and political science. She has been a layout editor for “Philologia” since her sophomore year.

“It’s an amazing thing to be part of,” Ledesma said. “It is a labor of love for the students who contribute and for the staff, from editor-in-chief on down to the associate editors. We’re so grateful to the students who were willing to share their work. The whole college can take pride in their achievement.”

For the editorial staff, producing a research journal is an opportunity to learn, to teach, and to challenge themselves. “You get to be a student leader, to work with faculty on a project outside the classroom, to learn about leading a team and developing professionalism,” Ledesma said. “It helps you grow and develop as a person.”

The “Philologia” celebration and unveiling will be at 4 p.m. on April 8 in the multipurpose room of the Graduate Life Center at Donaldson Brown. The event is free and open to the public.



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