JMC Student Participates in McNair Scholars Program
Senior public relations major Endya Watson presented a research project focused on Hofstede’s Cultural Dimension and Global Public Relations Practice as part of the Kent State’s McNair Scholars Program.
The McNair Scholars Program, a federal initiative started in 1986, aims to prepare first-generation, low-income undergraduate students from groups underrepresented in graduate schools, for doctoral study. During an eight-week Summer Research Institute, the Scholars partner with Kent State Faculty Mentors on selected research topics and learn the basic principles for conducting research, typically in their major field of study.
Watson, who was mentored by Associate Professor Gene Shelton, was one of 13 McNair Scholars selected to participate in this year’s program.
“I really feel that knowledge of issues in international public relations is a great topic to study,” said Watson. “There are always cases about public relations campaigns that, when taken on an international level, offend or don't transfer well to people of different cultures.”
The Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions theory is a very basic model that explains the preferences among different countries in four different indexes. Watson used the indexes to test how a campaign about malaria prevention done in Nigeria would transfer to two other malaria-endemic countries: India and Brazil, and explored which tactics, strategies and messages would work best in each country based on their culture.
During the summer program, students are housed in the Honors College residence hall and enroll in a three credit hour course intended for Honors theses. At the end of the two-month program, students share their research in a 15-minute presentation as part of the McNair Research Symposium and Scholars’ Reception. Those who complete all requirements for the institute are invited to complete a thesis and continue their research into the academic year.
Watson said that the program was a great learning experience and that developing some fundamental research skills will be essential to her future career in the public relations industry.
“My research gave me some useful insight,” Watson recalled. “Professor Shelton was also great to work with. He's given me good feedback throughout the summer and has been very enthusiastic about my research. I hope to work with him again next summer in my continuation of the project.”