Students head to the CSCA convention

By Chelsea Weeks, News Editor

April 4 through 8, seven students and three professors will head to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to present their research papers at the Central State Communication Association (CSCA) convention.

The CSCA was founded in 1931 and hosts a convention every year with the purpose of giving opportunities for scholars to share their research. OBU has been sending students to this convention for over a decade.

“The students worked very hard; they never gave up,” Dr. Vickie Ellis, professor of communication arts and chair of the division of communication arts, said. “We’ve never had every student who submitted get into a nationally recognized and nationally attended conference before. OBU students are amazing! I’m so honored to get to work with such godly, inspiring, and curious young scholars.”

During the 2017 fall semester, Ben Cale, Alena Blakely, Payton Clark, Preston Morris, London Bradshaw and Sarah Claibourn all took the Communications Research class with Dr. Ellis.

At the end of last semester, and even over Christmas break, these students were working on their papers to make them ready for submission by January 12.

“Our students submitted their work to the President’s Undergraduate Honors Research Conference,” Ellis said. “Their research papers were stripped of their names and their institutions’ names and then evaluated by experts in the respective fields of study.”

Students had to use a variety of methods learned in class to create original research in order to answer their research questions for their papers.

“Each paper had to have an introduction containing their research questions, a literature review containing the relevant research conducted by others, a discussion of their methodologies, the results that were assessed from their data mining, a discussion of their results, a conclusion explaining the “so what” of the work and a reference list,” Ellis said. “Many also contained a variety of tables, figures and appendices.”

Alena Blakely, a junior communications major, is presenting her paper “Give to Receive: Egoistical Dynamics in Nonprofit’s Online Appeals” on the President’s Undergraduate Honors Research Conference Competitive Paper Panel.

“I am very excited for the opportunity to go to conference, but at the same time I am also very nervous because it is at the national conference,” Blakely said. “I hope to learn about graduate schools while at [the] conference and I also hope to learn from other research.”

Ben Cale, a junior communications major, just changed to a communications major last March. After only one semester in the new major, he is presenting at a conference which he says feels not only great, but like he belongs in communications.

“I think going to this conference is great because I’m actually new to communications, this is my first year doing it, I felt like it was something that I always should have gone into,” Cale said.

“[Communications Research] was one of my favorite classes and I think it directed me on where I want to go in life. Having this conference, I haven’t experienced it yet, but I think giving my research here is a great experience because I get to share all the hard work that I’ve put into this class and then I think having this on a resume will be great for a future job. Presenting my paper in front of a research board will develop great skills in public speaking, demonstration, organization and leadership.”

This convention gives provides students a chance to network with other scholars and grow in their research abilities.

“The experience of sharing original research with professors and grad students is tremendous,” Ellis said. “Their sessions are also attended by graduate school recruiters and they are invited to a job fair. Additionally, they are honored at a luncheon and get to hear from and meet with the keynote speaker.”

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