About Metamorphosis:

First published in 2009, Metamorphosis features scholarly and creative work at COPLAC member institutions across the United States and Canada. The journal is interdisciplinary by design, highlighting work in the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, arts and professional programs.Undergraduate research and creative activity has become a "COPLAC Distinctive" with all twenty-nine member campuses focusing on this recognized "high impact" educational practice. Work published in Metamorphosis must be reviewed and approved by the appropriate campus committee or undergraduate research director. The URSCA director must send the approved work to COPLAC for publication. We do not accept work sent directly to the journal by the author/artist.

Submission Guidelines

We request two documents, each sent electronically to

Doc One: Summary

  • Document must be in MS Word
  • Title this document with your last name and school acronym (for example, Bill Spellman at UNC Asheville would title his Summary Document spellmanunca)
  • In this document please list the following in this order:
  1. Title of Presentation Author(s)
  2. Faculty mentor(s) School
  3. 200-250 word abstract (submissions over the 250 word limit will be edited)
  4. Up to 5 keywords related to your submission

Doc Two: Research

This is your actual paper.

  • Document must be a PDF
  • Title this document with your last name, school acronym and the letters RD (for example, Bill Spellman at UNC Asheville would title his Research Document spellmanuncaRD)
  • On the first page, include paper’s title, author(s), faculty mentor(s) and school name
  • Document should be single-spaced text with 1” margins, 12 pt font, and a maximum of 10 pages
  • All references are to be organized as endnotes

Fall 2023 / Current Issue


Free in Body and Spirit: Spectral Liberation of Objectified Peoples in Victorian and Neo-Victorian Literature

Marcus Grant
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Allison Speicher
Eastern Connecticut State University


Ghosts in Victorian literature have been derided as manifestations of conservatism, overlooking the frequent depiction of both specter and observer as belonging to two groups that were oppressed in Victorian society: women and children. By applying Bill Brown’s Thing Theory and sociological research to texts such as The Turn of the Screw (1898) by Henry James, I explain how haunted persons and ghosts themselves are objectified, more likely to be heard dead than alive. I also draw upon various Neo-Victorian texts, such as “The Accursed Inhabitants of the House of Bly” (1994) by Joyce Carol Oates, to bring attention to how this objectified haunting has transhistorical reach. In doing so, I unveil that the ghost characters of the nineteenth century reveal the symptoms of their oppression through their haunting and their hauntedness; in contemporary times, we see the hierarchies revealed in the Victorian era flipped in Neo-Victorian texts.


Keywords: Victorian, Neo-Victorian, Children’s Literature, Spiritualism, Ghost

Refusing to “Just Survive”: The Experiences of Chicana Activistas in
Higher Education

X’andrí D.G. Bautista
Faculty Mentor: Dra. Patricia Kim-Rajal
Chicano Latino Studies Department, School of Arts and Humanities, Sonoma State University


My research focuses on the experiences of undergraduate Chicanas at a predominantly white university. I document their work in instilling systems of healing through student-led activist diversity initiatives. Our identities as scholars are not objective, they are shaped by the politics and culture we reside in. I document the institutional barriers and exclusion experienced by first generation Chicana students. The Chicana student experiences vary depending on their income, gender, sexuality, cultural identity, and immigration status, factors that impact the retention, graduation, and continuation of Chicanas in higher education. This project recounts, Chicana Scholars’ experience of endured physical, psychological, and emotional burnout. The oral histories and open-ended semi structured interviews that comprise this research center their perceptions of the colonizing university institution as well as their efforts of carving space for institutional healing, joy, and emotional fulfillment given their experiences of unbelonging and exclusion in the higher education academic sector.


Keywords: Student Activism, Chicana Scholars, First Generation, Communities of Support, Belonging in
Higher Education

Literature Review of SARS-CoV-2 Infection on Pediatric Neurological Function

Caroline Clarke
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Naseem Choudhury
Ramapo College of New Jersey


In the last three years since the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers seem to be consistently uncovering consequential information surrounding the possible long-term consequences of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Scientists have been learning more about post-viral syndromes in recent years and have been searching for treatments to sicknesses like myalgic encephalomyelitis, Epstein Barr, and Guillain-Barre syndrome. Similar to those afflictions, a significant number of adults who experienced COVID-19 have complained about post-viral illness and symptoms that impair their daily functioning; now coined Long COVID (LC). With many pieces of the puzzle still missing in terms of predicting long-term health outcomes following COVID-19 infection (especially in cases of repeated infection), we are left to wonder how this virus may affect youth development. In this paper I will review the neurological consequences from infection in utero to toddler age, effects on the brain and nervous system in adolescents, and general post-infection symptoms and illness in minors.


Keywords: COVID-19, neuropsychology, neurology, long COVID, post-viral infection

Social Media, Body Image, and Self-Esteem: A Study on How to
Press “Like” in Real Life

Sara Hosbach
Faculty Mentor: Satatrupa Dasgupta
Ramapo College of New Jersey


Overwhelmed by a high variety of responsibilities, social media has become an outlet for college students. The usage of these platforms has led to an increase in photo editing apps that has resulted in a high comparison of users due to an unattainable image of beauty. Piling onto the academic and extracurricular priorities of college students, social media’s subliminal messaging regarding body image affects the perspective students hold for themselves. In order to analyze and understand the extent of these effects, mixed methodological research was conducted via secondary data analysis and surveying. Conclusions unveiled editing on social media intensifies comparisons among college students resulting in adverse effects such as lowering self-confidence, increased disordered eating and eating disorders, and greater consumerism. Additional research is needed to advise and monitor change as well as ensure improvements.


Keywords: Social media, body image, self-esteem, student confidence, photo-editing

Love Me, Love Me Not: A Study on the Impact of Romantic Relationships on College Students

Jessica Dorn
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kraus and Dr. McCullough
Reed Honors College, Fort Lewis College


This study is an exploration of participants’ romantic relationship status and how it impacts daily functions such as mental health, social status, and academic status. This study also reported on hook-up participation and sexual satisfaction. There was a significant positive correlation found between social status and mental health – participants who had more platonic relationships had significantly better mental health. There was no significant difference found in terms of gender, relationship type, sexuality, or age. These were all compared by mental status, social status, overall relationship quality, sexual satisfaction, and hook-up culture participation. This study has an emphasis on undergraduate students’ lives.


Keywords: Romantic Relationships, College Students, Academic Status, Social Status, Mental Health, Relationship Quality, Hook-up Culture, Sexual Satisfaction, Gender, Sexuality

American Unionization: A Regression Analysis of Union Membership on Wages

Connor Alcorn & Savannah Halvorson
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nathanael D. Peach
Fort Lewis College


This study analyzes the impact of union membership on individuals’ wages and salaries. A microdata sample is pulled from the Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the Current Population Survey, n=10,312. Expanding on the Mincer earnings function, a non-linear model is constructed to estimate the significance of union membership on earnings. Three models are estimated, one in which explanatory variables are considered individually, and two which utilize interaction terms to evaluate whether the impact of union membership on earnings depends on sex or the industry the individual works in. The model finds that unionization increases wages and salaries by 8.23% to 21.37%, with laborers in the blue-collar industry seeing a 17.54% to 44.54% increase in their earnings.


Keywords: Keyword: Labor Unions, Wages, Earnings, United States, Regression