Congratulations to our Ph.D. Student Michelle Matter, who won a College of Liberal Arts – Highest Achievement Award for Scholarship/Research at the 2022 GradShow!

CSU GradShow

Photo of many adults standing in an event hall surrounded by research posters on display

The Colorado State University GradShow is an annual event at which hundreds of CSU graduate students present their research, entrepreneurship, and creative arts. On November 16, 2022, students competed for over $20,000 in scholarships.

Matter was one of four graduate students from CSU’s College of Liberal Arts to win a $500 award for Highest Achievement in Scholarship/Research. She presented her poster, “Caring for Caregivers (Supportive Experiences of Informal Dementia Caregivers),” at the GradShow.

“The GradShow was an amazing experience,” Matter says. “It was so fun to talk to people from a variety of different backgrounds and disciplines, and I enjoyed hearing the attendees’ and judges’ own questions, ideas, and personal experiences as we discussed a topic that I’m really passionate about! …It’s a cool opportunity to see the awesome research being done in a variety of fields!”

Matter’s Research

Photo of Michelle Matter, a young woman with a long, red braid and a turquoise short-sleeved shirtAt this year’s GradShow, Matter presented her original research—done in collaboration with her advisor, our Associate Professor Meara Faw—on how family caregivers of individuals with dementia communicate with one another and their larger social networks.

“Generally, these individuals’ networks shrink as they provide more and more care to the people with dementia,” Matter explains, “so we interviewed them and observed them interacting with one another in support groups to determine how they reach out to others for help and how they provide support to one another.”

For more on Matter’s research, see her recent related paper, “Adding amusement to anxiety: Uses of humor in informal caregiver support groups,” published in Communication Quarterly last month.

Overall, Matter found the experience of the GradShow meaningful beyond her own award. “I … loved attending the GradShow and hearing other students explain their research,” she says. “It’s amazing to see how my peers—who are incredibly intelligent scholars!—are working to make a difference.”