By Jamie McLeod
Undergraduate engineering students are mostly known for dyeing themselves purple. If professor Farrokh Sharifi has his way, they may soon be known for writing, too.
The mechanical and industrial engineering professor started the Student Journal on Automation, Robotics, Mechatronics, and Manufacturing (SJARMM), an academic journal publishing exclusively student material.
“This provides a vehicle for students to publish their early results,” Sharifi said in an interview with The Toronto Star.
“I hope it will open them to the idea of engaging in research work and contributing to the education and science community rather than just coming here to study and then get out and get a job,” he told the Star.
The journal, believed to be the first of its kind in engineering, published its first issue in July.
In his inaugural message as editor-in-chief, Sharifi wrote, “(t)he articles written in this journal are solely written by the students. That is why it is a student journal. I am not aware of any student journal covering (these) areas. Therefore, SJARMM will be the first of its kind.”
According to M. Reza Emami, a senior lecturer at the University of Toronto, undergraduate students doing research and publishing is generally a new phenomenon.
“For the undergraduate work there has been a very recent trend of involving undergraduates in research,” Emami said.
“The results are quite impressive.”
As for Ryerson students, the general response seems to be positive.
“It’s a good idea. If people actually have research to publish it would be great. If I did a thesis, I would definitely try to publish,” says John Yan, a third year aerospace engineering student.
The first issue of the journal was modest, publishing only nine papers from Ryerson students, two of them about Lego robots.
For the next issue, Sharifi is hoping for 20 papers and is trying to solicit submissions from other universities.
Run as a non-profit endeavour, the journal sells for $10. It has now taken up residence in university libraries and engineering schools across North America.