Schiano Takes Top Poster Prize at RIT’s Undergraduate Research Conference

April 29, 2013  |  by Michael Freedman

Schiano Award

Award-winner Vincent Schiano is congratulated by Dr. Kalen Churcher, left, and Dr. Rudy Pugliese, director for graduate programs at RIT.

Vincent Schiano, a senior communication studies major at Niagara University, received the Top Poster Award during the Conference for Undergraduate Research in Communication, held April 16 at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Schiano’s winning poster was titled “Young Adult Cancer Awareness: A Public Relations Presentation.”

“The opportunity offered a lot of experience in presenting about the young adult cancer community so I took a lot of time to do the research in it and eventually it paid off because I love expressing just how important it is to get involved in the young adult cancer fight,” explained the native of Gates, N.Y.

Seven other communication studies students, in addition to Schiano, presented posters or research papers derived from their honors theses or communication studies department’s courses. They included Jeannine Alsous, Kerisa Bonville, Robert Crates, Ashley Dilcher, Julie Fonzi, Julie Hunt, Jillian Teeter and Alicia Wainwright.

Many of the students said that they appreciated seeing the research done by others in their field. It helped them understand the vast possibilities of research in communication studies.

“The best part of this experience (was) being able to discuss the research that we were able to conduct throughout the year and it was great being able to talk about and learn about other people’s experiences and what they have done,” said Crates, whose co-presented a poster with fellow seniors Bonville and Dilcher.

Bonville also presented a research paper on the media’s construction of the ideal woman via televised Miss America and Miss USA pageants.

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 annually by RIT’s department of communication, the conference has drawn nearly 250 undergraduate scholars from colleges and universities in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Virginia.

“We’re incredibly proud of our students,” said Dr. Kalen Churcher, assistant professor of communication studies. “Their work is a sample of some of the best in the department. They represented Niagara University well.”