Three Chaminade University students – Madison Choi, Alexander Jankowski and Kawehiokekai Moefu – were among the presenters at the 2017 National Conference on Undergraduate Research. The 31st annual event, held at the University of Memphis, promotes research, scholarship and creative activity in diverse fields of study.

Choi, whose faculty mentor is English Professor Allison Paynter, gave an oral presentation entitled: “A Critique of American Reality T.V. in Collins’ The Hunger Games.”

“The entire process of preparing, editing and delivering my speech – both methodical and emotional – was a learning experience I definitely could not have received in a classroom setting,” Choi said.

“The pressure to deliver to an audience of people I don’t know was daunting, but now I know that I’m capable to doing it so next time I won’t be as nervous or apprehensive,” Choi continued.

“The positive feedback I got from other students and faculty was also encouraging to hear and gives me a newfound excitement not only for research, but also for the specific topic of pop culture, film and literature.”

Moefu, whose faculty mentor is Dr. Cheryl Edelson, gave a presentation entitled: “Disney’s Moana (2016) and Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke (1997): The Depiction of the Female Heroine in Film Spanning over Twenty Years.”

Moefu pointed out that the conference is “not just about research work” but also “acts as a stepping stone for graduate school.”

“I had the opportunity to talk with representatives from some universities that I have an interest in attending for graduate school – like Purdue University, University of Georgia and NYU – to gather contact and program information,” Moefu said.

Madison Choi, Professor Amber Caracol Noguchi, Professor Eva Washburn-Repollo, Kawehiokekai Moefu, and Alexander Jankowski

Madison Choi, Professor Amber Caracol Noguchi, Professor Eva Washburn-Repollo, Kawehiokekai Moefu, and Alexander Jankowski

“I would recommend that every undergraduate student take the opportunity to do research on a topic that they are interested in, and then go and present it to an audience,” Moefu added. “It will forever change the trajectory of their life’s course and possibly guide them to travel even further in their academic journey.”

Jankowski, whose faculty mentor is Communications Associate Professor Dr. Eva Washburn-Repollo, gave a presentation entitled: “The Kids are Alt-Right: A Cultural Window Into the Disenfranchised.”

Choi and Moefu developed their abstracts through Chaminade’s Title III-funded Undergraduate Research Mentor Program, which helps students in the humanities and social sciences strengthen their applications to graduate schools.


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