Spring Hill College

Undergraduate Research Symposium 2020

Dear all:

The Spring Hill College Undergraduate Research Symposium provides a venue for Spring Hill College students to present research, artistic works, classroom projects, and more to the entire campus community and the public. Student attendees who are not yet involved in research will discover that attending the symposium is a great way to learn about the broad range of opportunities available at Spring Hill College. This year, an unforeseeable crisis changed our plans dramatically, including our plans to have an Undergraduate Research Symposium in a traditional, face to face format. Having put some serious thought into this, our community decided to resist the pandemic by encouraging our students to present their research this year!

This year, we received more than 30 submissions, ranging from original research and class projects to off-campus research and media projects. Most students chose to submit short videos (up to 15 mins) explaining their work. Students have submitted a quality work of professional importance or academic interest, work worth sharing with their classmates and professors. Many students turn in first-rate products, and having a video record of their work could also be beneficial for their LinkedIn profiles and professional visibility. Currently, the YouTube video channel dedicated to the URS 2020 is available for the official judges only. Later on, we hope to open it to be viewed (and, hopefully, discussed) by non-presenting students.

I am proud to announce our 2020 winners. In the category "Original Research" (which includes any projects with a substantial original research component whether conducted independently or as a part of a course) the winner is Amelia Hoffeld from the Department of Communication Arts with the research entitled: “The Rebranding of Volkswagen: Brand Identity & Strategy Change.” This is a case study of the 2019 rebranding execution of the global brand, Volkswagen, after the company’s environmental emissions scandal in 2015. This project, the judges suggest, "would lend itself nicely to a market research study to get consumer reactions to the rebranding effort."

In the category "Class Projects" (which includes projects completed as a part of class whether individually or by a group) the winner is Griffin Morgan from the Department of Political Science & Law with the presentation entitled "Coronavirus out of Deadlock: The Effects of the Pandemic on the Electoral Process in Israel." This research profiled one political event, i.e., building an improbable political compromise, that, counterintuitively, became possible because of the disruptive influence of COVID-19.

In the category "Media Projects" (which includes media projects including graphic design projects, film projects, and other media projects) the winner is Cassidi Sterrett from the Department of Communication Arts with the 6-part media project entitled "Where are the Women?" This impressive submission, a docu-series on the inequity of women in sports, started as Ms. Sterrett's senior capstone project. This high impact project, according to the judges, seamlessly integrates media, interviews, images, both historical and current. It discusses the campus community in the context of the larger global perspective. It is available on YouTube, and the segments could be viewed as stand alone pieces.

Our team of judges this year includes Faculty from all over the campus: Alex Ruble, Anindya Biswas, Cathleen Orange, Chelsea Haramia, Dan Massey, Jamie O'Bryant, Janden Richards, Jennifer Henson, Joan Sands, Lauren Grimley, Martha Gibson, Maura Mandyck, Rachael Hatley, Thomas Metcalf, and Tom Hoffman. On behalf of the event coordinators, sponsors, and presenters I would like to thank you for judging the student presentations at the Spring Hill College Undergraduate Research Symposium held on May 8, 2020. Your willingness to participate in the event in this challenging environment demonstrates our unwavering commitment to the ideals of Spring Hill and experiential learning. It is through your generous support and selflessly allocated time we were able to have a successful event. We also thank all the mentors and advisers who committed to our students' success. Special "thank you" goes to Dr. Daniel Massey, the former URS Director, and Dr. Jamie O'Bryant, who generously helped at all stages of making this event happen.

We are not intimidated by the pandemic: what we do now might turn into an innovative practice beneficial for the new generations of Badgers and Spring Hill College in general.


Dr. Vlad Kravtsov

URS 2020 Director

Please send all requests and questions to the URS Director Dr. Vlad Kravtsov (vkravtsov@shc.edu).