Kiley Lord, a senior in the College of Communication and Information Sciences (C&IS), was recently awarded the Franklin Shirley Award for the Top Undergraduate Honors Conference Paper at the Southern States Communication Association (SSCA) Convention this past weekend in Montgomery, Alabama. The convention’s purpose is to promote the study, criticism, research, teaching and application of the artistic, humanistic and scientific principles of communication. SSCA is a nonprofit organization that exists for educational, scientific and literary purposes only.
Lord’s research specializes in a popular Youtube series titled “S— Southern Women Say” and examines gender roles and expectations for women in the south. She postulates her research on the idea that gender is something that people perform and points to examples in the Youtube series as being representative of cultural norms compared to other regions in the United States. Lord grew up in Connecticut but spent her summers with family in Mississippi. This upbringing sparked an interested in the duality of cultural norms in the south vs the east coast.
Lord first explored this topic in the Spring of 2018 in Dr. Jessy Ohl’s class and was encouraged to develop her research about ideological arguments more. Over summer, Lord spent time researching communication theory, reading both fiction and nonfiction accounts that documented women in the south and connecting how the Youtube series reflected expectations of the region. Her paper concluded that the series is not inclusive of the entire spectrum of southern women. It is limited to the life experience of wealthy, white, Christian women and does not account for other races, religions or genders.
“This conference was a great fit for my area of research, and I am grateful for Dr. Ohl’s assistance in editing back and forth,” said Lord. “So much of my enthusiasm for this research has come from Dr. Ohl’s encouragement and feedback. I was intimidated by the idea of doing undergraduate research, but now I am considering doing research at the master’s level.
Lord received a monetary award and a plaque in addition to presenting her research in the undergraduate research forum on April 6.
The College of Communication and Information Sciences’ faculty and students at The University of Alabama conduct cutting-edge research that creates knowledge and provides solutions to global issues across the full communication and information spectrum. To learn more about the College’s research initiatives, visit cis.ua.edu/research.