FOR THE QC
Students presented on collaborative undergraduate research at Whittier College’s Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity Conference (URSCA) on Saturday, April 28. Dr. Cheryl Swift led and organized the URSCA event, where students who were accepted into fellowships were also able to present on their projects. This year’s presenters represented more than a dozen majors and topics and included fourth-years Lorena Heymans and Emily Crennen and second-year Amy Trinh. Similar to recent years, URSCA presentations were given through various forms of media, including individual and group poster presentations, creative art explorations, and student panels. Students and faculty were on hand to give greater detail to individual projects that involved student-led initiatives, class projects, and other work within established volunteer organizations.
For many students, participation in the URSCA event represents the culmination of senior project work while also satisfying a Capstone Experience requirement that the College Liberal Education Program calls Communication IV. For second-year Amy Trinh, a double major in Digital Art and Design and a self-designed Whittier Scholars Program major, her participation in URSCA revolved around a collaborative class project with Assistant Professor of Marketing Dr. Kristen Smirnov. Trinh’s undergraduate project is titled “Welcome To Little Damage: Visual Product Perception and Consumer Experience.” When asked to tell the QC more about her experience as Dr. Smirnov’s research assistant, Trinh said, “the idea sparked from research and observations [I] conducted during [Dr. Smirnov’s class], Consumer Behavior.”
As a current Parks and Cauffman Research Fellow, Trinh said, “I combined marketing and social sciences like psychology and sociology to better help identify consumers’ needs and how to fulfill them.” In terms of her motivation for her project and the background as to why she chose this particular topic, Trinh said, “Visually compelling cuisines have become increasingly popular in the restaurant industry. Social media platforms, especially predominantly visual ones like Instagram, have began to revamp how we consume food. The hashtag #food itself has generated over 270 million posts [on Instagram] alone.” What makes Trinh’s research different from other studies is that it “looks at a product through a consumer behavior lens, with a focus on Little Damages’ colored soft serve ice cream,” said Trinh.
All sessions had at least one faculty member present who completed an evaluation which was a part of the College’s overall assessment process that is part of our accreditation. Faculty determines how well we, as a College do regarding preparing students to do research and to present that research orally.