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AU communication student wins top honor at RIT research conference
4/21/10

Kristin Van Ormer of Corning, a junior communication studies major at Alfred University, received top honors at the recent Conference for Undergraduate Research in Communication at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) for her advertising-related communication studies paper.

Van Ormer’s paper deals with how corporate sponsorships and advertising in the classroom often create conflicts of interest and the promotion of unhealthy lifestyle choices.

Alfred University communications professor Dr. Robyn Goodman, professor of communication studies at Alfred University, said Van Ormer’s accomplishment tells her that “despite the small size of AU’s communication program, students still have the opportunity to excel in academics.

“For me it reconfirms the fact that AU’s communication studies program is the little engine that could — although our faculty are small in number, we are able to provide our students with the education they need to make their academic dreams come true.”

Using the Potter Box model as an ethical framework, Van Ormer’s paper examines the moral pros and cons of advertising in public schools. The criteria of the Potter Box are applied to the situation in order to analyze the ethical implications of this practice, and ultimately to draw a conclusion using the guiding principles of social ethicists Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill.

The RIT competition asked researchers to turn in theoretical, critical and/or empirical papers on a broad range of communication topics for presentation in traditional panel format.

Undergraduate research projects suitable for poster session presentation in an interesting, engaging visual format were also encouraged.

The Conference for Undergraduate Research in Communication, which began in 2004 as a small gathering of communication students from Western New York, has grown into a vibrant regional conference. Sponsored by the Department of Communication at RIT and held annually on its campus, the conference draws nearly 200 undergraduate scholars from colleges and universities in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Virginia.

All accepted papers are published in a paperback, which is available for purchase online.
Van Ormer resides in Corning with her husband, Ron, a gift officer in the University Relations Division at AU, along with their two children, Giselle, 10, and Nolan, 5. She is the daughter of Tim and Linda Shaddock of Corning.