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Illinois College English student’s work selected by national journal


Emily Woods ’21 is one of just 25 students selected to have work published in the 2019 edition of UReCA: The NCHC Journal of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity.

Her short story “The Geneticist’s Daughter” will appear in the online publication alongside the creative and research-based work of undergraduate students from across the country.

An online, peer-reviewed journal for undergraduate students, UReCA provides an opportunity to publish research-based, intellectual, creative and interdisciplinary work. The National Collegiate Honors Council publication is highly selective, with just a 13% acceptance rate for the 2019 edition. Submissions are received and reviewed by a peer-group of undergraduates throughout the year and selections are made in August.

“Being published in UReCA is a national honor,” Brian J. White, Ph.D., UReCA faculty advisor and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Graceland University, said in a press release. “UReCA features only a handful of interdisciplinary works from among the best in the nation.”

Woods was inspired by the life of paleontologist Mary Anning and the psychology of ethical science when she wrote the piece for an IC Scholars Honors Program assignment — her first science fiction effort. The story’s main character discovers how much she has contributed to her father’s genetic experiments after thinking her efforts collecting fossils to aid his research have been unnoticed.

“The piece shows a clear mastery of the craft of fiction writing,” a member of the UReCA editorial team wrote. “The story's premise is original and thought-provoking in the questions that it raises about the ethics of genetic manipulation.”

Majoring in psychology and English, with a concentration in editing and publishing, Woods plans to be a science journalist and creative writer.

“After I wrote the story last year, I didn't know what I wanted to do with it; I feel like it has found its perfect home in this publication and am proud of myself for deciding to take a chance and submit it."
Emily Woods ’21

Woods wrote the story as an honors assignment in one of Professor Beth Widmaier Capo’s courses last year. Capo, professor of English and director of the honors program, praised Woods’ work and said it engaged with the themes of the course, which looked at how fiction can explore the ethical implications of science. Capo said Woods’ academics and experience working in the Campus Writing Center prepared her both to write and to apply an editor’s eye to her own work.

“The English Department works to prepare students to publish by giving them practical individual advice and targeted coursework that encourages their creative growth and mastery of skills,” Capo said.

To learn more about the English Department at Illinois College, visit

About Illinois College

Founded in 1829, Illinois College is a residential liberal arts college fostering academic excellence rooted in opportunities for experiential learning while preparing students for lifelong success. The college is located in Jacksonville, Illinois. With an enrollment of more than 1,000 students, the college offers over 50 undergraduate programs. In 1932 the society of Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at Illinois College, and it remains one of only 11 in the state.

Illinois College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

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