Texas Tech University

Student Research Success Stories

What does student research look like?

Learn more about CoMC student research and the value it provides.

Robyn Adams 

Robyn AdamsRobyn Adams always had an interest in media and communication. Her experiences with undergraduate research in the College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech University helped her find new ways to look at her interests and set her up for graduate school and a potential career in communication research.

“It was intimidating at first because you saw all these computers, all these wires setup and I didn't know what any of it was for,” Adams recalls about her first experiences with research as an undergrad. “Working in the lab, I quickly loved everything that was in the lab and I learned more about it.”

“You are surrounded by opportunities.”

Adams, who transferred to Texas Tech during her sophomore year, says she had no idea what she wanted to do when she arrived at the University, but was quickly influenced by the research opportunities available and the Center for Communication Research.

“Working with the lab put me on track,” Adams said. “I am getting my masters in media and communication, I am on a thesis track in hopes in becoming a professor one day, so it did play a huge role in helping me out with what I wanted to be and do in life.”

Adams encourages other undergraduate students to explore the research opportunities available to them.

“You're here to learn something you didn't already know, so take advantage of that,” Adams said. “You are surrounded by opportunities.”

- Article by Jeff Hunter

Lauren Kriss 

Lauren Kriss, Student ResearcherLauren Kriss, a sophomore Public Relations major, got involved with undergraduate research during her first semester at Texas Tech University. Her media literacy professor, Andy King, Ph.D., put out a call for research assistants, and she threw her name in. Kriss said she was picked, despite being a freshman, and began to run a video experiment for him in fall 2015 and then an eye-tracking experiment in spring 2016.

Beginning her sophomore year, Kriss began to work on her own research project identifying how people feel about the portrayal of disabilities on television. Kriss said she worked on the project from the very beginning to the very end—coming up with the framework, theory and hypothesis, and training people for data collection. Kriss said she did not find a lot of evidence proving or disproving her hypothesis.

“It was disappointing for sure. You always want to think you're going to find a super significant result,” Kriss said. “But with media research, that doesn't always happen, especially when you are studying the effect of something because it is hard to measure an effect right away.”

"Participating in undergraduate research has encouraged me to explore more options in my academic and future career."

Kriss said it was still a “really neat” experience. She said if a person had asked her this time last year if she was capable of designing her own research process, she would have thought that person was insane.

"Participating in undergraduate research has encouraged me to explore more options in my academic and future career," Kriss said. And she said she is now considering going to graduate school and earning a doctorate.

“I now see the potential of research within companies or private labs,” Kriss said. “This experience has really opened the research sector of media to me.”

Kriss said participating in research has made her more critical of what people tell her, and she now understands how to discern bad research from good research. Kriss said undergraduate research is something students should consider exploring, as it has given her the opportunity to learn something completely different from what she would ever learn in class, such as how to create a survey.

“Pick your favorite professor and ask her what she is researching and if she needs help,” Kriss said. “I would be shocked if she said no.” Kriss said King has encouraged her to try different things. She said he believed in her as a freshman and continues to now.

“He's not a babysitter and he's not a hand-holder,” Kriss said. “He makes me learn and push myself.”

Kriss said she is looking forward to her role in undergraduate research as a junior and she is excited to be even more involved.

Article by Katie Main, photo by Hannah Woodfin

(Katie Main is a senior journalism and electronic media and communications double major from Cypress, Texas. Hannah Woodfin graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations.)

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