Professor Jayne Lewis has mentored an extremely wide array of undergraduate research projects throughout her career at UC Irvine. She sees her mentoring as a way to help students gain confidence and develop their powers of expression. Professor Lewis particularly enjoys the process of engaging with her students; often she finds herself learning as much from them as they do from her. Through her mentoring, she has shown her dedication to helping her students explore and focus on the topics that interest them most. UROP is proud to highlight the passion that Professor Lewis devotes to mentoring her undergraduate students’ research projects.

1. How did you develop an interest in mentoring undergraduate research or creative projects, and what type of projects have you directed?

I've directed many senior theses and UROP and SUROP projects on an array of topics, many but not all touching on aspects of the supernatural. Recently these have included the American ghost story, female epistemology in Milton's "Paradise Lost"; "Peter Pan" as initiation ritual; the sexual politics of the Harry Potter series; the gothic fiction of Ann Radcliffe; tarot and modernism; Alexander Pope and the problem of value; the Salem witch trials; and emotional hacking in modern Swedish fiction. I've also mentored a couple of short story collections. The variety in this list should tell you that I'm a bit of a generalist, and that more than the topic I am interested in the mind engaging it. When a courageous, good-hearted Anteater approaches me, I want to do all I can to help him or her personalize her undergraduate experience here.

2. What do you look for and what are your expectations of undergraduates you select to conduct research under your guidance?

I look above all for curiosity, self-discipline, and a capacity for independent inquiry.

3. Describe your level of engagement and style in mentoring undergraduates.

It varies depending on the student: but we usually start with an annotated bibliography and then just work through successive drafts with long conversations in between. If the student isn't writing, there's nothing I can do. Most interaction is mediated through that, as opposed, say, to just bouncing ideas off the wall. I'm in favor of catching those ideas and punching them to see how much air they have in them.

4. In your experience, how have your students improved or benefited as a result of their undergraduate research experience?

They've gained great confidence and a sense of what their natural mental path is. And they have trained their powers of expression to match their wonderful minds.

5. What have you learned or benefited from guiding undergraduate research or creative projects?

I often mentor topics I don't know all that much about, so sometimes I just learn 'things.' I admit that I've learned a *lot* about how technology can be a friend to research—my students are typically more adept with it than I am. I also am usually able to imagine my way into the student's point of view, so one thing I gain is a unique perspective on the world.

6. What recommendations and advice would you give students embarking on undergraduate research or creative projects?

Set a schedule! Stick to it! Break your project down into small parts that you can manage. Follow your intuitions. Buy print versions of your primary texts so you can mark them up!

Research Interests: Literature and medicine, restoration and 18th-century British literature; literature of the supernatural and gothic fiction; history and/of fiction; atmosphere as literary concept and construct within natural philosophy

Faculty Profile:

Past Faculty Mentors of the Month

Dec. '14 Emiliana Borrelli
Nov. '14 Joel Veenstra
Oct. '14 Jonathan Alexander
Sep. '14 Leslie M. Thompson
Aug. '14 Jonathan R.T. Lakey
Jul. '14 Diego Rosso
Jun. '14 James Kyung-Jin Lee
May. '14 Lisa Pearl
Apr. '14 Jayne Elizabeth Lewis
Mar. '14 Donald Jay Patterson
Feb. '14 Dritan Agalliu
Jan. '14 Stephanie Reich