Commentaries are short articles (around 1000 words) which can address a variety of issues relating to research, mentoring or scholarship. Topics might include a research experience, the social and political implications of a line of research, the application of an academic theory to current events, observations about academic life here at the University of New Hampshire or elsewhere—or something entirely different that the editors have not envisioned. Commentaries are usually focused more on personal experience than are research articles, and may be written by students, faculty or staff at UNH. Graduates of the University are encouraged to look back on their undergraduate research experience and its place in their personal and professional lives.

Uruguayan Marijuana Decriminalization: Crime Rates, Support Levels, and Implications for the United States

The issue of marijuana legalization is coming to a turning point in American society, and it is clear that we are trending toward a total policy change. It is crucial to look internationally at different systems of legalization and decriminalization to determine which system would be the most successful here in the United States. I want our society to be governed by a set of laws that is fair and rational, a set of laws that at least the majority of citizens can believe in—laws that do more good than harm.

Growing as an Undergraduate Researcher and the Benefits of Directed Research

Scientific research has become the foundation for much of today’s public policy, medicine, lifestyle choices, and financial investments. We generally conduct research to learn more about the world and maybe find objective truth in the process, like the truth we have found in the existence of gravity and time. In many ways, science has allowed us to improve our quality of life and our society as a whole. Because of this, we take science seriously and try to maximize its success by investing in it, giving it structure, and treating it with rigor.

Can Utilitarianism Improve the US Criminal Justice System? An Evaluation of Punishment and the Utility Calculus

Utilitarianism is a philosophy that values the greatest amount of happiness for the greatest number of people (Driver 2014). Utilitarianism was created by European philosophers Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill throughout the late eighteenth and nineteenth century. Bentham believed that when a government is based on utilitarianism, a system of law and reason is created that values happiness as its foremost principle (Bentham 1789). To provide a mechanism for utilitarianism to be applied to governmental policy, Benthem created the utility calculus.

From Farm to Fork: A Firsthand Investigation into New Hampshire’s Food System

When you go to the grocery store and pick out a head of lettuce, have you ever thought about who produced it? Where it was produced? How many people were involved in the production, distribution, and sale of that single item?


The author, Alex Papadakis.

Looking into the Eye with REAP

My academic and professional interests took root long before I came to the University of New Hampshire (UNH) to study bioengineering. Encouraged by my parents to explore, ask questions, and experiment with my own creative designs as a child, I developed a device named the Micro Sling Shot, built a cell phone charger, and engineered what I referred to as the Smiley Faced Pull Toy, all from household items. My intellectual curiosity included all things science, and I was fascinated with how and why things work as they do. 

How Do Families Try to Survive Yemen’s Brutal War? Following a Spiral of Research to Unexpected Conclusions

To care about an issue, we need to know it exists in the first place. One of my first memories of the University of New Hampshire (UNH) is of sitting in a lecture hall listening intently to a speaker explain why we should care about nuclear proliferation. I left the lecture with a good understanding of why we should care, and I couldn’t help but wish that more of my fellow students had been able to attend and become informed about this important issue. I concluded that one needs to know that an issue exists in order to have any interest in acquiring more information.

Bees, Birds, and Beyond: An Unexpected Journey on the Path to Conservation

I never envisioned I would find myself at the largest entomology conference in the country, six months after I graduated from the University of New Hampshire (UNH), about to meet someone so formative to my career aspirations. But when I think about it, it really was a long time coming.


Down the Rabbit Hole: Searching for Native Scholarship to Better Understand Populism

There’s gotta be more to the story.

Studying Form, Color, and Pictorial Composition in the New England Landscape

It’s early in the morning and the light is just getting good. I pull on my tick-resistant pants and don a pair of rubber boots and a wide-brim hat. As I scramble down the rocks into the ravine, my paint supplies rattle in the pack on my back. I must look ridiculous, but today there’s no one here except me and a friend who is showing me around the woods of his small town. He is leading me to an almost inaccessible spot in a remote mill town in northern New Hampshire.

Keeping an Open Mind: Challenges and Mysteries in Cancer Cell Biology Research

Cancer arises after a series of mutations or other alterations allows cells to bypass their normal growth checkpoints and divide freely in the body. The body aims to prevent tumors from forming by protecting the integrity of its cells’ DNA. One protein, p53, is so vital in this role that it is often referred to as the “guardian of the genome.” In fact, more than half of all human cancers are associated with malfunctions that disrupt p53 function (1).


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