Emma Han, Sophomore, Public Relations, Advertising, & Entertainment Marketing (Major), Business Administration, Marketing Emphasis (Minor)

Emma Han spends her time analyzing social media influencers. Her research project, “on the rise of the deinfluencer trend on TikTok and Instagram,” which she presented at the Student Scholar Symposium, involved looking into the techniques social media influencers use to build a following. “I worked with [fellow student] Misha Harneja in data collection of Instagram posts to investigate the motivations of deinfluencers such as building trust by being more authentic.” To get a better understanding of her project, let’s quote from Han’s abstract: “some deinfluencers talk about consumerism while others recommend against purchasing a specific hair mask. The diversity of opinions and motivations for deinfluencers makes it challenging to uncover their motivations for creating this type of content.” As Han continued working on her project, the Symposium was an avenue to develop, grow, and prepare for new opportunities.

In the Spring 2023 Symposium, Han first presented on authenticity in social media. She received feedback from professors and other students on her topic, which would later develop into the deinfluencer study. Presenting this research helped develop Han’s presentation skills. “At the time, I wasn’t as confident in my public speaking and networking skills but after meeting and talking with 30+ people, I grew comfortable talking about my research.” After the Symposium, Han took her ideas to the Digital Marketing Conference in Washington, D.C. in the Summer of 2023. With the new skills gained following this experience, Han returned to the Fall 2023 Symposium with her deinfluencer study. “When working towards my second symposium, I felt much more prepared and confident in my capabilities as a student researcher.” 

Dr. Kelli Fuery

Dr. Kelli Fuery (Professor – Creative and Cultural Industries)

Research can grow, change, break off into new areas, and improve by putting it out for others to see. As Han’s experience shows, the Symposium offered an opportunity to try out a new research idea, which later developed into a more specific study after several presentations. Having moderated various Symposium sessions, Chapman Professor Dr. Kelli Fuery has witnessed this development time and time again. “I have had students present at a number national and international conferences after presenting work at the Symposium. Specifically, NCUR, SCMS, SCMS-U, PCA (Popular Culture Association) and other conferences in the UK.”

It doesn’t stop there, either. “In terms of publication I have mentored over 20 students publishing their research as peer-reviewed articles in Film Matters, Animation 2.0, and Groundings, at both UG and GR levels.” The Symposium isn’t only a place to develop your research: it can be a launching pad for publication, or give you the skills to present at larger, national conferences.

Still, presenting at the Symposium is a good place for students interested in research to start. Presenting for an audience of peers (and people who don’t know you) can be enriching. Dr. Fuery says that “Whilst [students] have already completed their research, there is still the important step of communicating that work to an audience. Sometimes that audience will be disciplinary peers, but likely it is an intelligent lay-community who the work is shared with.” Getting your ideas across in a succinct, informative presentation is a skill, and the Student Scholar Symposium prepares students to become experts not just in their field, but in presenting their research.

We asked Dr. Fuery if she had any tips for students looking to get into research. “Find a faculty member who you can really work with and who will support you…While the mentor cannot do the work for you, they should certainly also show commitment to and investment in your success. In my experience, when I see students who are passionate and committed to their work then mentorship is fun and extremely rewarding for everyone involved.” 

Interested in presenting at the Symposium, or looking to attend? Applications for the Spring 2024 Symposium are closed, but the conference is held every Fall and Spring semester, so look out for the new deadline once the Fall 2024 semester begins. If you’re interested in attending the conference, check out the CUE website to see the full session schedule, including room locations and dates.

The Spring 2024 Symposium will be held from May 1-2.