Grad faces beauty standards in Canyon Journal of Undergraduate Research

Lauren Baker has published two manuscripts in the Canyon Journal of Undergraduate Research.

“Words matter, and words have impact,” said Grand Canyon University graduate Lauren Baker, whose research manuscript discussing her identity as a Filipina woman is one of 10 scholarly papers included in the newly published edition of the Canyon Journal of Undergraduate Research.

“I hope when people read my research, they will understand it is OK to confront things they are uncomfortable with and to be vulnerable to spark conversations to create meaningful change."

The multidisciplinary journal, whose first issue debuted just a year ago, is designed so students can receive mentorship when it comes to academic research. The months-long process also challenges them to explore current academic, professional and personal issues, and to propose solutions to minimize negative outcomes.

The new issue covers topics ranging from mental and physical health to cultural appreciation, the effects of COVID-19 on health and challenges in K-12 education.

“Research is so important, and being able to articulate something that matters to you, to a wide audience, can be so impactful,” said Baker, who graduated as an honors student from GCU in December with a bachelor's degree in government/legal studies and works at the university as a community standards coordinator.

To learn how to compose a manuscript and prepare for the research process, undergraduates interested in being published in the journal have the option of signing up for an eight-week course called Academic Journal Writing, in which they receive guidance from faculty.

Baker didn't hesitate to sign up.

What started out as curiosity turned into passion once she began learning more about the research process and how she can address ethnic and cultural difficulties that are personal to her: “I wanted to challenge myself and talk about something that matters to me, which is my identity as a Filipina, overcoming barriers and what being Filipino means to me as a student and on a professional level.”

Students writing for the journal can choose different approaches, or guides, in how they will write their manuscript, from a literature review to an empirical discovery guide, a guide for a reflection on interdisciplinary problems and more.  

Baker’s first published manuscript, a literature review, appeared in the the 2023 issue. It addressed sex trafficking and exploitation. For this year's publication, Baker wanted to challenge herself by using a different guide and topic category.

GCU students studied how to compose appropriate research in the Academic Research Writing course.

Baker's manuscript is titled “Pinay and Proud: An Interdisciplinary Reflection on Colonization’s Detrimental Influence on Establishing Eurocentric Beauty Standards and Personal Ethnic Identity within my Filipina Experience.” Her research focuses on how Eurocentric beauty standards connect and affect personal and professional ethnic identity.

Baker is from Kailua in Oahu, Hawaii, and when she was a student at GCU was chosen for the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship, in which she studied intercultural communications and conflict resolution and traveled to Washington, D.C., and Ireland to do so.

“I am entering into workspaces where I feel my cultural identity isn’t present. That is intimidating and hard because there are a lot of barriers where people might be drawn to other people that have the same living experience. I want my experience to also matter.

“I want to encourage other people that, regardless of what they have been through, their identity and how they perceive themselves is meaningful and that they are more than capable of doing whatever they put their mind to.”

Over the course of four months, Baker used sociology, economics and history to dive into her Filipina experience and compose a manuscript that delves into different nuances found within her cultural barriers.

The other student and alumni authors joined by Baker are:

  • Julia Tangel, Makenna Cobb, Megan Otto, Alyssa Morales and Zachary Zeigler: “The Impact of Weighing Frequency on Weight Cycling in Post-COVID College Students”
  • Jeremy Varnadore, Colin J. O’Reilly, Kobe Lage, Aliya Kuester, Ashley Larson, Anisa Barbosa, Sean K. Cuddyer, Dillan McGuckin, Logan Demeter and Elizabeth Moore: “Mindfulness and Stress: Understanding How Awareness Impacts Stress Reduction”
  • Allison Limley: “Sheltering Survivors: A Literature Review of Safe Houses for Sex Trafficking Survivors”
  • Foxx Walz: “Novel Phytochemicals in Treating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria: A General Review”
  • Jeremy Varnadore, Ashley Larson, Sean K. Cuddyer, Anisa Barbosa, Elizabeth Moore, Rogelio Garcia and Janean Mikutis: “The Mindful Student: Investigating Relationships Between Mindfulness, Locus of Control, and Stress”
  • Sean K. Cuddyer and Aliya Kuester: “Early Life Adversity and Resilience”
  • Lauren Williams: “A Literature Review: Promoting Healing and Social Justice Through Trauma-Informed Transformations in K-12 Education”
  • Colin O’Reilly, Ashley Larson, Zachary Singleton, Anisa Barbosa, Kobe Lage, Kaito Cuddyer, Aliya Kuester, Brennah Molsberry, Dillon McGuckin, Jaelyn Crebbin, Janean Mikutis, Jacob Romero, Jeremy Varnadore and Joseph Yepez: “A Review of the Dark Triad, Leadership, and Leadership Styles: The Relationship Between the Dark Triad and Leadership”
  • Ashley Larson and Elizabeth Moore: “The Changing Lives Outreach Program, Interpersonal Skills, and General Self-Efficacy”

The published manuscripts can be found here.

To be considered for a future publication, students can create a manuscript based on the guides provided by GCU and submit their research on the Canyon Journal of Undergraduate Research website.

GCU staff writer Izabela Fogarasi can be reached at [email protected]

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