Miller ’21 Reflects on Time as Compass Editor

By Caitlin Burns | November 11, 2020

Biology/Pre-Forensic Science major Jane Miller ’21 is celebrating the release of the upcoming The Compass where she’s been editor-in-chief for the last three years. 

This issue in particular is quite the achievement—originally slated for publication last spring, the issue got delayed due the pandemic. Miller said the most challenging aspect of the move to online was reaching authors, especially those who didn’t attend Arcadia. While authors don’t have to be Arcadia students, Miller said the papers and research must have been completed while they were undergraduate students. 

“I’m so proud of the staff,” said Miller. “The quality of the work hasn’t changed through all of this because we’re all so dedicated. I had asked the staff if they wanted to postpone or take time off in March, and every one of them said they wanted to keep going. So we rolled with it.”

The only regret Miller has is that the staff won’t be able to come together and celebrate the publication. Usually, the staff of the yearly publication wrap up the issue with a cake and celebration. She said they’re working on an alternate way to celebrate this one, but as a senior she’s going to miss the excitement of closing it out with her staff—although she holds onto hope that another issue will come out in spring 2021.

This is the seven issue of The Compass, which is an online multidisciplinary scholarly journal edited and produced by students in the Arcadia University Honors Program. Miller said that as of October, the journal had papers that were downloaded in 160 countries, with between 800 and 900 downloads each month.

In the newest edition, slated for publication at the end of the month, is research by Isabella Bumbera ’19, “Computational Cognition and Deep Learning,” and Andy Malinsky ’20, “From Japanese to Elvish: Comparing Different Writing Systems.” 

“I submitted my paper when I was a senior,” said Spanish alumna Bumbera, whose research explored language acquisition for non-Romance languages. In the study, participants who only spoke English reviewed basic terms Korean, Russian, Chinese, and Elvish and then took a quiz to see what they could remember and how they remembered it. “My roommate identified the characteristics of Korean by what it looked like—she said one looked like a desktop computer and another one looked like a car in the distance. That’s how she made the associations.”

Bumbera said this paper spurred her interest in the psychology of language and linguistics, which inspired her thesis about language acquisition of American Sign Language and Spanish.

“It’s weird that I’ve been working on this paper for a year and a half,” said Bumbera. She worked with editors at The Compass since submitting the paper in summer 2019 to revise and update the paper. “It’s cool that it will be finally published and I’ll have a published research paper to my name.”