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.”

Kamryn Bartley: Beyond the sideline

By Bryanna Davis, Contributing Writer  (Courtesy Photo/Bison Athletics)

Oklahoma Baptist University cheerleader, Kamryn Bartley, is getting a lot of attention for the paper she wrote for her Communication Research class with Dr. Vickie Ellis.

Not only is she presenting at a conference, it will be published on the USA Cheer STUNT website.

“In the Communication Research class, the students are required to not only conduct research into a related field to see what’s already been written about the topic but, in this class, they are required to develop a piece of original research,” Ellis said.

For this project, students were required to find and research an original topic.

“They have to investigate something that we cannot find in the library database,” Ellis said. “They are not only learning the process of original research and conducting a literature review, designing a method, gathering data, analyzing the data, discussing the data and coming to a conclusion. Along the way, they are learning other aspects of social science research and taking exams extending beyond their own projects,” she said.

“Three Cheers for STUNT: An Evaluation of Persuasive Acts Designed for the NCAA” is a research paper composed of numerous letters from institutions arguing for the induction of STUNT as a NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) sport.

“I wrote it over the persuasion acts in the letters of support through the STUNT proposals that they submitted to the NCAA. Basically, I looked at about 25-30 letters of support from different colleges, high schools and organizations from all over the country and analyzed what persuasion acts they used,” Bartley said.

Bartley’s curiosity about which compelling persuasive acts STUNT members were using to get verified as a full collegiate sport in the NCAA inspired the paper. She studied different persuasive theories such as the central processing methods or peripheral methods.

“In Kamryn’s case, she started looking at the terms of the general literature,” Ellis said. “She started looking at persuasive acts. In particular one persuasive theory, she discussed there was a central processing route that humans think about. When you are being persuaded and someone is communicating with you, they are promoting a particular agenda that is usually a direct line of persuasion.”

However, her observations did not stop there. Bartley gathered a multitude of letters that had been sent to the NCAA supporting this cause, and broke each one down carefully.

“She analyzed all the letters that were written from all the colleges requesting that stunt become a sport,” Ellis said. “She analyzed them line by line, piece by piece. In this kind of analysis of each letter, she invested several hours. In terms of bumping it up against her theoretical approach, she did the complete analysis over all the letters and then made the arguments based on the theory.”

“It was not only interesting her outcome and how she made the final arguments, but I think it speaks to a broader picture of if we are trying to compel and persuade others to take action on our part. It’s a great idea for us to think about the acts we are communicating in those persuasive attempts, and how we are communicating those acts. If all the schools were saying the same thing it didn’t matter. It was still a canned argument. It was about, in a broad sense, how we persuade each other all day long, day in and day out, organization to organization, and subculture to subculture.”

Bartley’s research is not only altering the minds of those who read it, but she opened a door for many other unrecognized organizations much like STUNT. Bartley is touching the hearts of every generation through her passion and dedication.

“Not only did it change my perspective about the women’s sports and the passion that drives women’s sports, but when she was giving her presentation somebody was in the crowd, not from her family but from another one of my student’s families that just happened to be there for hers as well,” Ellis said. “The woman raised her hand and said ‘I just want to say thank you. I played basketball and we barely got a head nod from the community. I say carry on. You keep going. This makes me so proud.’ This woman in her 70’s or so was just so proud that a young woman was championing women’s sports in a public, powerful and scholarly way. When I turned around and looked at the woman you could tell it meant the world,” Ellis said.

Bartley has been a cheerleader for OBU for the past three years, and expresses her passion for STUNT as a part of the cheerleading program here.

“STUNT is what I love most about cheer,” Bartley said.“It is starting to give cheerleaders more opportunities to become athletes to get scholarships … It’s like we are actually being recognized as athletes now, and I really like that. Just playing STUNT is so fun. Just the game aspect of it just being with your team.”

However, after graduation, she does not intend on letting it go. In fact, in the future, she intends on continuing this research in order to benefit more organizations like this.

“She is interested not only in STUNT and not only in persuasion but in the intersection of those and what it means as society moves toward honoring more female sports in the collegiate world. It takes skills. It takes determination. It takes practice. It takes commitment and loyalty,” Ellis said.