Inaugural Journal Launch A Resounding Success
Nearly seventy-five students from Yeshiva College, Stern College for Women and Sy Syms School of Business gathered in Belfer Hall’s Weissberg Commons on Tuesday night for Yeshiva University’s inaugural Undergraduate Journal Launch. The event was sponsored and planned by Yeshiva College Student Association (YCSA) and the Stern College for Women Student Council (SCWSC). According to YCSA Vice President Ben Kohane, who was one the main organizers, the event was intended to provide the student body with an opportunity to “explore a variety of academic disciplines in a sophisticated, informed, and engaging setting.”
The event showcased YU’s four undergraduate academic journals: The Journal of Fine Arts, the Political Science Journal, CHRONOS (which focuses on historical research) and Undergraduate Research Abstracts (URA). Each of these journals display specific work and research from dozens of Yeshiva students, and are organized and edited by undergraduate students. The event allowed contributors a chance to present their work and distribute the published journals to their peers. Two other publications - Stern College’s Women in Science and Derech HaTeva - were also on display.
After two brief introductions from Kohane and YCSA President Shai Berman, the event’s keynote speaker, Dr. Akiva Covitz took the podium. Dr. Covitz, a visiting professor in his first year at Yeshiva College, currently serves as executive director of YU Global, Yeshiva University’s new online educational system.
In his speech, entitled “The Balanced Life and the Balanced Mind,” Dr. Covitz advocated for the benefits of core requirements, both secular and Judaic, praising the virtues of a well-rounded education. For a night celebrating the achievements of Yeshiva University students in the liberal arts and sciences, Covitz’s speech hit the spot. While Covitz acknowledged that core requirements cause many students to feel restricted in their learning opportunities, they ultimately enhance students’ education and introduce them to as many fields as possible. Covitz concluded by reminding the audience that as students of one of the premiere Torah U’Madda institutions in the country, we, more than others, should understand the value of a balanced education.
From the looks of the event, the journal launch did highlight that exact point. Following Dr. Covitz’s address, two students discussed their published work. YC sophomore Ari Tepler spoke about his research on immigration policy in America and Canada, which was published in the Political Science Journal, and was followed by Rachel Rolnick (Stern ‘16), who presented her research for CHRONOS on pirate codes and their parallels in the development of American democracy. The event concluded with a gallery of informal presentations of the scientific research that goes into the URA and the work - both visual and written - of the Journal of Fine Arts. As students snacked on hors-d'oeuvres and sipped mocktails, they were able to sample a taste of each of the four journals, before taking the final products home.
When asked about his work, Tepler was all smiles, praising not only the Political Science Journal, in which his piece was published, but each of the journals being celebrated. “Not only are there a number of academic journals in which students may present their work,” said Tepler, “but each journal is comprised of essays covering a wide array of topics, enabling students to pursue their true interests.”
Many others shared Tepler’s enthusiasm. Not only do these illustrious journals enable students to present their work in a broader academic setting, they provide students with a forum for expressing intellectual curiosity that extends beyond classroom borders. Sophomore Zev Behar, who will be working as an editor for the Journal of Fine Arts next year, commented, “with fewer class options, the undergraduate academic journals of Yeshiva University give students other avenues for pursuing excellence.”
Makena Owens (Stern ‘16), the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Fine Arts, “was impressed with the turnout and the enthusiasm of all the student supporters who came. I think the people from YUJFA who presented felt really appreciated and that was great to see.”
Similarly, senior Jonathan Green, editor-in-chief of the Political Science Journal, felt that the event “was successful in creating an enjoyable, educational (and delicious) evening where students could learn from the diverse subject matter of each student publication. We thoroughly enjoyed listening to Dr. Covitz, who engaged a diverse student audience with his thoughtfulness and humour.”
Overall, the event celebrated multidimensional aptitude and collaboration, two valuable staples to Yeshiva University and its students. Kohane added that he hopes the event “will become an annual, end-of-year event for students to synthesize the student body’s curricular and extracurricular interests. This event both recognized the hard work of the contributors and editors while also unifying the university as a whole.”