Dr. Kendall House
My research will focus on the Student Media Department at Boise State University - a student-run organization aimed at producing hyper-local media for the student newspaper, university radio station, and an independent magazine. Through ethnographic methods, such as contextual interviews and referencing physical artifacts, I will produce a qualitative analysis of how Student Media employees actively gain professional experience. My study will encourage participants to reflect on their personal and career goals within the organization, while also informing the department how they can best uplift students transitioning into professional environments.
As younger generations increasingly prioritize meaningful work in their careers, the results of this research will assist in documenting the social contexts shaping a new workforce of creative young adults. While collecting data, it became evident that the department has provided a level of autonomy such that an employee’s personal interests can inform their education and career path. The functionality of the department is dependent on self-directed motivation - which largely reflects expectations within “real-world” professional environments. Across the 3 organizations, a variety of media content is published daily, leading to extensive portfolios reflecting individual skill sets. Their work is often revised by peers in a collaborative process, requiring them to receive and utilize relevant feedback. When asked about sentimental physical artifacts related to their jobs, it revealed a level of intellectual maturity that wouldn’t be possible for somebody who didn’t have to navigate their opinions so formally and on such a public scale - it was a roadmap for what influences their portfolio.
The analysis also raised valid challenges of the department, including various barriers to recruitment and limitations within university environments; this helped to inform the new-hire process, departmental procedures that need more attention, and improved planning to best support student employees. It is apparent that the Student Media Department acts as a springboard for creative young adults to truly bolster their passions by means of professional development, coursework connections, and portfolio curation.
Maldonado, Marissa and House, Kendall, "Ethnographic Analysis of Student Media: Uplifting Creative Young Adults" (2023). 2023 Undergraduate Research Showcase. 22.