Edelman CCCA holds 2nd annual Fall Research Showcase

Edelman CCCA holds 2nd annual Fall Research Showcase


The Ric Edelman College of Communication & Creative Arts held its 2nd annual Fall Research Showcase, a program featuring some 50 investigative projects and readings from Writing Arts students, Dec. 3 in Eynon Ballroom.

Showcasing work by students from all of the college’s programs and majors, the program included research across a wide range of topics such as the effect of heavy TikTok use on mental health, the impact of contact sports, and the “Kinship of Boxes,” an art project that repurposes old wood from campus in the construction of nesting boxes for birds.

Advertising and Public Relations majors Breanna Lalla and Karis Brady, who took part in the “TikTok & Mental Health” study, said the popular social media app can be addictive and, for some, devastating. The team fielded an online Qualtrics survey and got 82 respondents.

“We asked people to check their TikTok screen time and they averaged 12 to 15 hours per week,” Brady said.

A big problem with TikTok, she said, was that interactions are often with strangers whose posts, down to their very image, can be fabricated, and it promotes beauty ideals that are not easily attainable.

“What people display can be a total lie,” she said.

Lalla said because the TikTok algorithm, like others used by social media platforms, suggests content based on previous views, it can be very addicting.

“My little cousin is 12 and she uses it,” Lalla said. “The way she dresses and acts is all inspired by TikTok.”

To counter the draw to spend time on TikTok, the team suggested simple, offline alternatives like taking a walk, reading a book or going out for ice cream.

Humanity for habitats

Associate Professor Jennifer Kitson said students in her Art & Environment Studio class, working with staff in the Division of Facilities, Planning & Operations, are constructing and installing a series of wooden boxes on campus to invite contemplation about human interconnectedness with other species, each other, and the University.

Made from the lumber of a felled Red Oak on the Glassboro campus (which was cured and milled in South Jersey), the wooden nest boxes will support a variety of local species, including screech owls and wood ducks. Other boxes contain interpretive materials for humans and celebrate vast Rowan investments in native plantings and green stormwater infrastructure on campus, all of which help to address the climate and biodiversity crises.

“The class is really about using creative practice to observe, understand and respond to environmental issues, engaging with place and the environment through field experience,” said Kitson, who holds dual appointments with the Edelman CCCA and Rowan’s School of Earth & Environment.

Senior Jill Taylor, an environmental science and biological sciences double major who took Kitson’s class, built a box not for birds but to serve as a lending library for seeds.

“We’re helping to rewild campus and allow safe spaces for animals to exist but you can’t have the animals without the plants,” she said.

Student-faculty research results

The Showcase program involved an awards segment in which 185 students, faculty and visitors voted for the top six research projects.

“Celine” Seoyeon Hong, an associate professor in the department of Public Relations and Advertising and Dean’s fellow for research, helped organize the program.

 “It’s an opportunity for students to apply what they’ve learned in designing and executing a research study and sharing the results with others,” Hong said.

Edelman CCCA Dean Sanford Tweedie said the sheer volume of entries speaks to the college’s emphasis on objective, results-oriented research.

“We saw again this year how productive, creative and forward-thinking our students are,” Tweedie said. “I love interacting with students who, in producing such high caliber work, are, in fact, teaching me. Having our students and faculty present together creates an energy that you don’t often see.”