Archive for Saturday, April 2, 2011

KU symposium showcases wide variety of research

April 2, 2011


Undergraduate Research Symposium

KU senior Morgan Cheeseman discusses her highly academic research. Enlarge video

Some students presenting work at the 14th annual Undergraduate Research Symposium on Saturday at the Kansas Union chose some very sophisticated academic topics.

Posters scattered around the Union addressed issues such as “Mechanical Analysis of Poly (Ethylene Glycol) Diacrylate and Agarose Interpenetrating Network Hydrogels.”

But communications studies and journalism senior Morgan Cheeseman went a different way, designing her project around the hit TV show “Jersey Shore.”

“Anything you’re interested in could be turned into a research topic,” said Cheeseman, who was selected as one of three students to present their research at the beginning of the symposium.

The goal of the event, said Mark Daly, associate director of undergraduate research, was to bring together a wide range of university topics.

“We have everything from aerospace engineering to painting,” he said.

Cheeseman’s unique research examined the communication effects of “Jersey Shore” and she found that viewers often weren’t necessarily watching for the show’s artistic qualities. Rather, they didn’t want to be left out in certain social situations.

“One of the primary motivations for watching ‘Jersey Shore’ is to be able to talk about it,” she said. “If they hear someone talk about it and they can’t contribute, they feel excluded.”

Participating in the symposium helped her learn about the technical aspects of research, Cheeseman said. She’ll be taking a sales consulting job when she graduates in May and doesn’t plan on continuing her research into the show, but she said she hopes that other researchers may take up where she left off.

“I want to leave my mark somehow,” she said.


ConcernedCynic 6 years, 10 months ago

With all of the excellent research presented at the symposium, you chose to highlight the research on 'Jersey Shore'...

At no point in your rambling, incoherent article were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone is now dumber for having read this article.

queenshims 6 years, 10 months ago

I was thinking the exact same thing. A few weeks ago, there was a Graduate Research Competition and you guys did not cover that at all. There is a lot of important research being done by both graduate and undergraduate students here at KU on things which are much more complicated and relevant than this. People feel left out if they do not watch Jersey Shore? Seriously? And this is worthy enough for your precious news space?

MorganLe 6 years, 10 months ago

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to defend my work. I will be doing this in front of a panel when I finish my Honors Thesis, so this is wonderful practice.

The emphasis of my research is not on Jersey Shore but rather it focuses on why people are compelled to watch it. The Uses and Gratification Theory states that people consume media to satisfy a motivation. You know about Jersey Shore, obviously, or you would not be criticizing it. But do you know why it has all of the hype it does or why so many people are compelled to watch it? What sets it apart from other reality shows? It is important to know not just what societal trends are but also why they are even trends in the first place. We need to understand the next U.S. generation of working professionals, so research is one way to do just that.

The point of my research is to a] fill in the void where past research has neglected to talk about communication's affect on motivations to watch reality television and b] conduct primary research to apply the skills from my Communication Studies coursework to a relevant, real-life situation in my field of study.

My main goal with the presentation yesterday was to sharpen my ability to translate academic research (Independent Samples T-tests, Paired Samples T-tests, social connectedness, Uses and Gratification Theory, etc.) into terms that everyone understands. That is one of the toughest parts about research.

I realize this isn't research on cancer cells or Alzheimer's (although I am very grateful for those who are currently working on cures), but that is because I am not a science major. I work with the skills and interests I have and try to make a difference where I can.

Lastly, I did a stellar job presenting, so I am not ashamed to feel great about my part in the Symposium. I am so proud of all the participants in this year's Symposium because we all did a wonderful job sharing our work. ROCK CHALK!

Phillbert 6 years, 10 months ago

So I take it that you'd pass on using any of the cancer fighting drugs developed at KU? Good to know.

MorganLe 6 years, 10 months ago

First of all, just because something seems "obvious" does not mean there is research to support it. We need researchers not only to create new ways to solve health and technology problems, but also to help explain the world around us.

Secondly, I don't think it is a sin to feel proud. You must not have children. I know many parents who are proud of their children and their accomplishments. Does this mean they are "abomination[s] to the Lord"? I think not.

Cai 6 years, 10 months ago

I'll say two things - 1) @ Morgan. I listened to your talk. I didn't want to. Jersey Shore is a worse than worthless friggin show, and I can't stand it, That said, you presented the research you had with aplomb, fluency, and (surprisingly to me about such a stupid show), a degree of scientific rigor. Though, I would have entitled the talk "why do people watch this s*?" - which admittedly, isn't a very professional title. These are the reasons that I think you earned your sigma Xi award.


I am absolutely APPALLED at this editor, for the reasons listed above and more. Congratulations for covering absolutely nothing of worth about this symposium. Given that Morgan took 1st place in the Sigma Xi Scientific Honor's Society, I understand why you covered her. Congratulations. She deserved a mention.

But how about a mention of the other two students who presented in the openings? Or the other people who won sigma xi awards.

Or the other research symposiums that do such things?

Or the other 1st place Sigma Xi Researcher, who presented on the same day, and took 1st from the graduate students?

Or you know...any thing at all about the point of the symposium to begin with.

Also, way to imply that Morgan's research wasn't sophisticated. Just cause the topic is retarded doesn't mean her research is, (as she did a fantastic job of proving to me ...)

Next time you cover an event, get the point. Not just the media crap buzzwords.

Cai 6 years, 10 months ago

the two was an implication after the giant however. Given the topic shift, that makes it number 2.

And I didn't say I was attempting to make an argument, merely that I had two things to say.

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