Undergraduate students in the College of Communication and Information Sciences were recognized for their research at the 2017 Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (URCA) Conference in March. The conference, a premier annual event at The University of Alabama, provides undergraduates an opportunity to share their research and creative activity in a supportive environment.
Dr. Kim Bissell, director of URCA, professor and associate dean for research in the College of Communication and Information Sciences, said she believes it is important for undergraduate students to participate in research.
“We are surrounded by research in almost every aspect of life but especially in a mediated context,” Bissell said. “I think that, at a minimum, involvement in undergraduate research elevates students’ ability to think critically and to have a broader understanding of the information we are presented with every day.”
Caroline Prichard, a student in the Department of Communication Studies, was awarded first place in the category of Oral Presentation for her research on the impact of cultural values on U.S./Serbian communication.
“It’s great to get a foundation in research so that if you continue to grad school or other paths where research is important, you have some experience,” Prichard said. “Even if your research is still in progress, it’s a great opportunity to get presentation experience.”
Prichard is the associate director of the Serbia Fellowship Experience at the University of Alabama. Her research centered on a two-week fellowship experience in Serbia in May 2016. Using ethnographic and autoethnographic inquiry, including participant observation and interviews with locals, Prichard was able to identify the cultural values and expectations in comparison to those prevalent in U.S. culture.
In addition to providing a greater understanding of Serbian cultural identity, Prichard’s findings also demonstrated areas where there could be communication breakdowns between Serbian and U.S. discourse.
Additional C&IS oral presentation winners included: Amanda Flamerich (second place); Amy Lekai, Dalton Kerby, Madeline Abrams and Hudson Nuckolls (third place)
Poster presentation winners included: Elizabeth Payne (first place), Bryant Bowlin (tie for second place), Xuan Wang (tie for second place) and Sam Sheriff (third place)