I had no idea that my final paper for the Co-Cultural Communications class I took last fall would transform into a piece of scholarship that would endure the remainder of my academic experience at CSU.
With encouragement from Dr. Aoki, my Co-Cultural Communications professor, I submitted my final paper, which discussed professor cultural identity/disclosures and student perceived credibility, to the 2016 Western States Communication Association Undergraduate Scholars Research Conference. It was accepted!
I presented my paper at the 2016 WSCA USRC, hosted in beautiful San Diego, Calif., just last week. I have been deeply impacted by the academic experiences I gained and the people I had the opportunity to meet.
Saturday, Feb. 27, was the WSCA’s Undergraduate Scholars Research Conference. I arrived early that morning, registered, and headed to the presentation panel ballrooms. Might I mention that the view out of every window was incredible, water and boats for miles and miles!
Once all of the undergraduates arrived, we headed to our designated presentation rooms. Presentations started at 8:30 a.m. and several different panels took place until lunch time. After having some delicious pastries and a cup of tea at the morning reception, I felt ready and excited to present.
I walked into the room to find a table at the front with three chairs facing the audience. I made myself comfortable in the chair furthest to the left where I met the two other panelists and our respondent. Behind us were grand windows, lots of sunshine, and beautiful ocean views!

Photo Courtesy of Dr. Eric Aoki
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Eric Aoki

The three of us presented our papers, which were all based on instructional research, and received constructive and supportive feedback from our respondent. The session was followed by a Q&A where the presenters had time to engage with the curiosities of the audience.
The rest of the USRC day consisted of attending other undergraduate research panels, along with a grad school panel and open house after lunch. The panel allowed undergrads to ask questions about grad school, which regarded the application process, the different programs, and what it takes to graduate. At the open house, undergraduates networked with grad schools and learned more about what it means to advance academically in the field of Communication Studies.
By the end of the day, I was in amazement of all of the incredible scholarship that had been researched and presented by so many intelligent and passionate students. We absolutely have the guidance of our mentors to thank for the support!
The remainder of the WSCA Conference was filled to the brim with presentations from grad students and professors, business meetings, and various fun events like open houses and the sock hop! There were many Colorado State scholars who presented research, served as respondents, and worked to organize various aspects of the conference.
One of the most valuable aspects of the conference was the opportunity to network with those from other schools who radiated enthusiasm for education and communication. I also appreciated getting to know the CSU faculty and students on a deeper level.
This experience worked to remind me of the importance and relevance of the field of Communications. I learned about what it means to be a scholar and what it looks like to advance as a passionate student. I was given feedback for how to research professor cultural identity in more depth, and I look forward to using the paper as a foundation for my Honor Thesis.
I am beyond grateful for the opportunity and for every person I had the honor of meeting and working with along the way. Until next year, WSCA!
Undergraduate Scholar