JMC Students Participate in Undergraduate Research Symposium
Five JMC students will participate in the Undergraduate Research Symposium on Wednesday, March 11 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Kent Student Center. The Undergraduate Research Symposium is an opportunity for students attending any of Kent State's eight campuses to present research, scholarly work or creative activity.
Senior dance studies major and electronic media production minor Ashley Lain will present her documentary from a study abroad experience in Costa Rica. Lain’s story focuses on the conservation efforts of Costa Rica.
“During my time there, I was able to interview the directors of the biological reserves and other experts in the field,” Lain said. “Preservation, habitat protection, and environmental restoration are all very important to this country."
Lain said it was her first experience shooting video out in the field.
“It was not only a cultural experience but also the biggest learning opportunity I have been able to take advantage of in my college career,” she said.
As a JMC minor, Lain did not know anyone going into the trip. She said other JMC students and Assistant Professor David Smeltzer helped her with her technical and storytelling skills.
Smeltzer served as the students’ mentor on the trip. He coached the students, provided equipment and shared techniques for conducting interviews, shooting footage and building stories. Smeltzer recommended that Lain enter her work into the Undergraduate Research Symposium.
"After thinking about it I decided, why not?" Lain said. “I worked so hard on this project. Why not share it with others? I want others to get to experience the true beauty of Costa Rica and to also hear about the great strides the country has made in conservation. I think that most places could learn a thing or two from Costa Rica's active involvement with environmental protection.”
A team of public relations students will also present at the Undergraduate Research Symposium.
Haley Keding, a sophomore public relations major; Sarah Henderson, a senior applied communication major with minors in public relations and public communication; Austin Bennett, a senior public relations major; and Breyanna Tripp, a junior public relations major will present the campaign they worked on last semester for their client.
The students worked together in Assistant Professor Stephanie Smith’s Public Relations Case Studies class and developed a campaign designed to solve the problem of their on-campus client, the National Student Exchange (NSE).
Keding said the team spent hours working together as they conducted research about NSE and created a comprehensive campaign to solve their client's problems.
“It was definitely a challenging semester for all of us,” Keding said. “We had some very late nights at the library working to create what ended up being a 50-page document that explained in detail the plan we had for our client.”
Keding said that the team wants to showcase their campaign at the symposium to show others that research “goes beyond the research that's conducted in a science lab.”
“Public relations has a unique form of research where we use interviews, focus groups and surveys to gather information rather than lab tests or formulas,” said Keding. “Both forms of research are valid, and we want to show others more of public relations research.”
Henderson said the team heard about the symposium through another team's client and decided that it would be an excellent opportunity.
“When you spend 11 consecutive hours in the library, working as hard as you can to have the best possible product for your client; you want that hard work to be showcased,” Henderson said.
Henderson is excited to take part in the Undergraduate Research Symposium because the team has the opportunity to present their work to people who can appreciate and critique it.
“As a senior, this is a great experience to have for my resume for potential internship opportunities before I graduate,” she said.
The Undergraduate Research Symposium is sponsored by The Office of the Provost, Honors College, Research and Sponsored Programs, Undergraduate Studies and University Libraries. The event is free and open to the public.
Photo caption: From left to right: Sarah Henderson, Sky Fought, Pamela Jones, Professor Stephanie Smith, Breyanna Tripp, Haley Keding, Austin Bennett