Flying above her peers

Hamline senior presents her research alongside professors and Ph.D.s.

Catherine Stolz, News Editor

Amid preparing to graduate and squeezing in her last science requirement, senior Sarah Campbell has managed to complete two major research projects in the last year.

The communications and Spanish double major first tackled generational media in the fall of her junior year, looking at the difference between media targeted toward Millennials and their parents in Generation X specifically in Bangladesh. This research was part of communications professor Suda Ishida’s class on global media. Campbell was invited to present her research at the 25th annual St. Thomas Undergraduate Communications Research Conference, a gathering of professors and students from all over the Midwest.

“I loved it,” Campbell said. “It was a lot of fun to hear other student’s research and to present mine.”

After this experience, Ishida encouraged Campbell to do summer collaborative research on a lengthier project of Campbell’s choosing.

“I came to [Ishida] with a bunch of ideas, and we ended up picking the one I wrote down last minute,” she said.

The ultimate focus of her summer research dealt with Donald Trump’s rhetoric on issues of immigration and the ongoing refugee situation, citing her semester abroad as inspiration for her topic.

“When Trump first said he was running for president and he was in the news a lot, my host brother in Spain said ‘what an idiot,’ ” Campbell said.

Incorporating her time in Spain and her studies of the Spanish language, Campbell looked at three different newspapers around the world and how they portrayed Trump in relation to the refugee crisis and his immigration policies, examining articles from the Spanish newspaper El Pais, the Mexican paper El Universal, and the English language version of Pakistan Today.

Campbell read over 30 articles and five books during the course of her research, and looked at how the three papers framed Trump and his comments over the course of his first year campaigning.

Campbell presented her findings at Hamline’s International Roundtable series, a space usually exclusive to professors and visiting scholars presenting their research.

Her presentation focused on spin and framing in newspapers, or how positively or negatively the newspapers presented Trump’s policies, finding that all three papers spun Trump in an overwhelmingly negative light in relation to immigration and refugees.

“Spin has power,” Campbell said.  “Anything with power is worth understanding.”

Campbell felt that her experience doing summer research will help in the future when it comes to finding jobs and applying for graduate school.

“You definitely have to have individual drive,” she said. “It’s about 40 hours a week, eight hours of reading a day.”

She said that while it was collaborative research, Ishida let her own her work and take charge of the project.

“I was more of a facilitator,” Ishida said. “It’s all her own work, her own writing.”

Ishida said she saw a lot of potential in Campbell when she had her in class, especially when it came to her writing.

“She just flies,” Ishida said. “She worked so hard and had so much self discipline. She’s a great writer and analytical thinker.”

Campbell and Ishida are currently working to submit her research to other conferences, including the National Conference on Undergraduate Research at the University of Memphis in the spring.

In the future, Campbell plans on continuing with research and hopes to one day be a professor or work for a non-profit organization.