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On January 26 the School of Communication's Applied Mass Communication Research Methods class hosted a research colloquium on communication technology. Photo | Tatyana Dumova, Ph.D.
Pictured left to right: Dean Simpson, Kathryn Dudas, Christina Horner, Frank Sottile and Brian Miller at the research colloquium, held Jan. 26 on Point Park's campus in Downtown Pittsburgh.

The School of Communication's Applied Mass Communication Research Methods class hosted the Three Rivers Communication Technology Colloquium, Jan. 26 on campus. A group of graduate students came up with the idea to hold their own research forum after participating in the 75th Annual Conference of the Pennsylvania Communication Association at Duquesne University last fall.

The colloquium gave students the opportunity to present their research projects and gain feedback from other Point Park students and faculty. The program featured presentations on a variety of topics such as mobile health applications, fantasy sports technology, social networking tools, animation technology, as well as tips for students interested in submitting their work to academic conferences.

In addition to being able to hone their writing and presentation skills, students enjoyed the opportunity to conduct their own research and explore subjects that they are passionate about. "They all have a passion for technology and for ideas," said Tatyana Dumova, Ph.D. who teaches the research methods class, "and that is remarkable."

"The ability to do my own research gave me an incredible opportunity to select a topic I was interested in and explore it in great detail," explained Frank Sottile who graduated with an M.A. in journalism and mass communication in December and took the research class last spring. "It also allowed me to formulate questions I felt were important and perhaps had been previously underinvestigated. In that sense I felt that I was really contributing something and breaking new ground on my topic."

The presentations included:

  • "The Relationship Between Fantasy Sports Participation and Team Loyalty," Frank Sottile, M.A. in journalism and mass communication alumnus;
  • "Disney-Mediated Culture: A Semiotic Analysis of Disney's First Princess, Snow White," Christina Horner, M.A. in communication technology;
  • "Whoop Whoop: What Researchers Can Learn About the Uses and Gratifications of Computer Mediated Communication from a Deviant Subculture," Kathryn Dudas, M.A. in communication technology; and
  • "Academic Conferencing: Benefits and Challenges," Dean Simpson, M.A. in communication technology.

"Students develop a better sense of what is involved in research when there is an opportunity to build their own research agendas and disseminate research findings to a larger audience," said Dumova. "They devote time and effort, and discover the value of research firsthand."

"Taking part in the colloquium was a wonderful experience for me," added Sottile."It not only was an opportunity to present my work to others alongside my fellow students, but it also showed the incredible diversity of how both the topics and methods I've learned here at Point Park can be applied to a variety of research areas."

The evening concluded with the presentation by Simpson, who shared his experience at the PCA past September and offered advice on what to expect when presenting at an academic conference.

Ashley Kress, first-year M.A. in communication technology student, reflected: "I'm really excited to get started with developing my own research topics after seeing the presentations. And Dean's presentation made me excited to go to a conference and maybe get published."


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