Undergraduate researchers shine this spring

CATEGORIES: Department News
Undergraduate researchers shine this spring -- Photographs of Tracie Martinson and Lydia Samuelson

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ labs and classrooms were abuzz this spring as faculty-sponsored research projects were implemented by the latest recipients of the LAS Dean’s High Impact Award for Undergraduate Research. Twenty undergraduate students from across LAS were selected to participate in this semester’s cohort.

Following is a look at some of the groundbreaking work the students completed this semester. A list of all spring 2023 recipients appears in this article.

Tracie Martinson (’23 communication studies)
Mentored by Abby Dubisar, associate professor of English

What can we learn from the way companies engage in philanthropy? Tracie Martinson is researching images and meanings related to a partnership between John Deere and Busch Light, which teamed up to produce a “For the Farmers” limited-edition beer can.

“I am identifying ways in which the campaign changes the public’s view of farmers and points them toward helping farmers by buying beer,” Martinson said. “By looking at these images and points, I can show how corporate philanthropy is not always a positive. I have really enjoyed working with my faculty mentor because she has helped me identify how I can go about conducting my research. Working with her is fun and rewarding!”

Lydia Samuelson (’23 English)
Mentored by Emma Peer-Murray, assistant teaching professor of English

Lydia Samuelson is connecting the past with the present. She is a research assistant and producer for the “Dear Casey” podcast, which explores the stories of people who requested song dedications during Casey Kasem’s American Top 40, a popular weekly radio show that aired from 1970 to 1988. Samuelson seeks out past dedicators to discover how their story played out after the show aired.

“You don’t often get the chance to sit down with a stranger and talk about their life. The atmosphere completely changes when you set out to listen to them, and only them,” Samuelson said. “Something clicks when they realize that, too. They open up and you realize that everyone, everyone, has an incredibly interesting life.”