Undergraduate Research

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Ignacio Cruz

Ignacio Cruz
Major:
Communication Studies, focusing on Corporate Communication
“It’s an amazing feeling standing in front of a room of people and sharing your work.”

Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Keri K. Stephens, Communication Studies

Please tell us a little bit about your research project.

Everyone is guilty of sitting in a meeting and pulling out their cell phone to check email, get on social media, and become distracted. I’m fascinated by how these actions affect relationships, networks, and productivity of an organization. My thesis aims at conceptualizing contemporary meetings through the influence of technology.

How did you decide that you wanted to pursue research?

As a sophomore, I was mentored by a doctoral student in organizational communication through the Intellectual Entrepreneurship (IE) Pre-Grad internship. I was able to sit in on graduate seminars, read academic articles that I found interesting, and conduct a literature review. After my IE experience, I was hooked on research! I was connected with my faculty mentor, Dr. Keri K. Stephens, and have been creating projects ever since.

How did you get involved with your current research project?

I knew what fascinated me and I knew what I wanted to study, but I didn’t know who I could work with. After searching online and speaking to other graduate students, I was able to get in contact with my current faculty mentor. Dr. Stephens readily took me under her wing and we hit the ground running by brainstorming about projects. I had no idea how to plan a study, yet alone execute one, but if you need help, it is there!

What’s it like working with a faculty member?

I’ve had the chance to develop a strong relationship with my faculty mentor. She has been my coach for the past three years—I’ve seen so much growth in myself as a scholar and young professional.

What’s been the greatest reward of doing research? The greatest challenge?

The best moment: getting an email saying your research has been accepted for publication or presentation at a conference—all your hard work is being recognized. It’s an amazing feeling standing in front of a room of people and sharing your work. Although the writing process can be challenging and requires a lot of time management, it’s all worth it in the end.

What is the most interesting or surprising thing you’ve gotten to do for this project?

I’ve had the chance to study abroad in Beijing, China and Accra, Ghana and conduct on-site research in both places. Research does not have horizons—there are questions to be asked in all contexts—and there are resources to help dig deeper and answer the questions that make you tick!

Do you see your research connecting with your plans for your future?

Definitely! I have just applied to six Ph.D. and two masters programs in organizational communication and technology across the country. My research experiences have culminated and guided my decision to enroll in a graduate program.

Research Week showcases the exciting work of undergraduates across campus and highlights opportunities for students interested in getting involved. Co-sponsored by the Senate of College Councils and the School of Undergraduate Studies, Research Week takes place in the middle of April each year. Take a look at the online schedule of events to find out more about Research Week events.