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Senior Research Projects

Projects Completed by Former Students

Penn State New Kensington Communications students are encouraged to approach the senior research project (COMM 494) requirement as an opportunity to advance their knowledge and expertise on topics directly related to their professional goals and/or individual intellectual passions and interests. The following projects were completed by former students and illustrate the diversity of topics researched:

  • How the Pit Bull Became a Dangerous Dog: An Analysis of Stereotypes Created by Mass Media (Laurie Maxwell, Fall 2006). Read Laurie Maxwell’s Alumnus Profile
  • Promoting Undergraduate Learning Communities at a Commuter Campus (Matthew Zidek, Fall 2006). Read Matthew Zidek’s Alumnus Profile
  • Social Media and Crisis Management:  A Case Study (Gretchen Toy, Fall 2011). Read Gretchen Toy’s Alumnus Profile
  • Television Weather News and Meteorological Credentialing (Dennis Lane, Fall 2006). Read Dennis Lane’s Alumnus Profile 
  • Public Relations, News Media, and the Video News Release Controversy (Krista Goch, Fall 2006)
  • Photography and Documentation: The Evolution of “Social Documentary” Photography (Hollie Hepler, Fall 2006)
  • Implementing Inter-Cultural Awareness in Corporate Communications (Emily Alice Selednik, Fall 2006)

  • Serial Killer Superstar: Serial Killers and the Media, the Story of H. H. Holmes (Danielle Donahue, Fall 2006)

  • Explaining the Role of Mass Communications in Genocide: Rwanda and Germany (Mark Pakulski, Fall 2006)

  • Adaptive Management: A Holistic Approach to an Uncertain Future at the Butte-Silver Bow Superfund Site in Butte, Montana (Johanna Custer, Fall 2007)

  • Male Sexuality and Sitcoms (Melissa Franklin, Fall 2007)

  • Advertising, Marketing, and the Super Bowl (Jeff Mangone, Fall 2007)

  • A Semiotic Analysis of Organ Donation Slogans in Japan and the United States (Ashley McLelland, Fall 2007)

  • Journalistic Access to Investigate Military Actions, Operations and Installations (Joshua Myers, Fall 2007)

  • ‘Do’s and Don’ts’: How Glamour and Cosmopolitan Address Rape and Sexual Assault (Tara Scott, Fall 2007)

  • Fantasy Football: The Emergence of Convergence (Lee Sobotka, Fall 2007)

  • How Female Leadership is Hindered by Gender Stereotypes (Danica Meyers, Spring 2008)

  • The Controversy Surrounding the Fashion Industry: The Rise of Eating Disorders in Young Women (Lindsay Glasser, Spring 2008)

  • Up Against the Wal-Mart! (Jamie Hewitt, Spring 2008)

  • The Pseudo-Event and Celebrity Culture: The Case of Britney Spears (Stacy Sheftick, Spring 2008)

  • Gender and Value in Broadcast Network News: An Analysis of the Media’s Response to Katie Couric’s Appointment as Lead Anchor (Elena Rose Ziccarelli, Spring 2008)

  • The Function of the Public Library in American Society (Julie Arvay, Fall 2008)

  • The Construction of an American Hero: Pat Tillman, a Rhetorical Analysis (Mark Bentz, Fall 2008)

  • Stereotypes in Advertising: Female Identical Twins (Jessalyn Oliver, Fall 2008)

  • Japanese Anime and American Cartoons (Stephanie Sluser, Fall 2008)

  • The “Yes on 8” Campaign and Proposition 8 (Erin Harford, Spring 2009)

  • Public Relations as a Means by Which to Regulate the Influence of a Governing Class (Dale Mann, Spring 2009)
    How U.S. Television Media Frames Perceptions of Female Athletes and Women’s Sports (Jaclyn Trabucco, Spring 2009)

  • Is Google Good for Small Business? (Steven Iacoboni, Fall 2009)

  • Marketing “Green”: Authenticity and Affordability (Steve Patterson, Fall 2009)

  • Fan Perceptions of a Driver’s Brand Image in NASCAR (Matthew Fulton, 2009)

  • How PR Can Help Small Towns and Businesses up Against Big Box Retailers: The Case of Tarentum, PA (Joshua Freeman, Spring 2010)

  • The Controversy Over Concussions in the NFL: Why it’s a Big Deal, How the NFL is Managing the Issue and What They Can Do Better From a PR Perspective (Kelly Girdano, Spring 2010)

  • The New FTC Blogging Guidelines: A Proposed PR Industry Response (Kayla Smail, Spring 2010)

  • How Two Pittsburgh Newspapers Report on Race and Gun Violence (Brandi Staton, Fall 2010)

  • Why is it Hard to Eat a Healthy Diet in America? (Andrew Randas, Fall 2010)

  • Representations of Celebrity in American Idol (Alyssa Blystone, Fall 2010)

  • Children, Food Marketing and Advergaming (Kristen Wagner, Fall 2010)

  • Sports Journalism and Gossip (Scott Carnahan, Fall 2010)

  • How Social Networking is Affecting the Public Relations Profession (Mallory Mayer, Fall 2010)

  • The Marcellus Shale Coalition: The Power of Public Relations (Nick Cardinale, Fall 2010)

  • Perceptions of Femininity in Female Bodybuilding (Elisa Anderson, Spring 2011)

  • Flowers in the Dustbin: Rock Music and Aesthetics (Andrew Tsou, Spring 2011)

  • How Were Gender Roles Portrayed in the 2011 Super Bowl Commercials? (Brittany Sackett, Spring 2011)

  • Police and Public Relations: How Public Relations Can Mediate Negative Perceptions of Police in Urban Communities (Chris Gizzi, Spring 2011)

  • Cyber-Bullying: Criminal Law vs. Civil Law and School Policy (Megan Karl, Spring 2011)
    Alcohol Advertising: Do We Need Stricter Regulation on Alcohol Advertisements in Youth Markets? (Felicia Stone, Spring 2011)

  • Are Video Games Sexist?: An Analysis of the Portrayal of Women in Video Games (Erika Watson, Spring 2011)

  • The Impact of Self Regulation on Food Advertising to Children (Jillian Snoznik, Fall 2011)

  • Signs of Inclusion at Award Winning Companies (Lori Maystrovich, Spring 2011)

  • Illness vs. Empowerment: Conflicting Messages about Weight in Women’s Fashion Magazines (Alicia Arraujo, Spring 2011)