June 24, 2014

Sergio Prin Undergraduate Fellowship Award Profile


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Working with Professor Frederik Lesage and research peer Marianela, Sergio will be exploring the reactions to the seemingly endless dialogue boxes prompting Adobe and iOS users to ensure the have the latest security fixes and bug patches. 

Area of study: Communication

Faculty supervisor: Frederik Lesage

How has your academic endeavors prepared you for this experience?

I have taken both quantitative and qualitative research methods courses during my three years at SFU. In addition, I took CMNS 362 last spring (Evaluation Methods for Applied Communication Research), which was a challenging but rewarding experience. I had the opportunity to work on a research project with three other people, which focused on the media coverage of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. We did a content analysis on several newspapers from Alberta and British Columbia in order to examine the ways in which media outlets from these two provinces are portraying this topic. We also interviewed a journalist, a Greenpeace activist, and two SFU professors to hear their comments on the political and environmental sides of the issue. My teammates and I had a great time working together over those four months, and the tools I acquired during this experience will be extremely useful in Prof. Lesage’s project.

Give us a description of the research project and your role during your working semester.

The main purpose of this research project is to evaluate people’s reactions towards upgrades in the iOS operating system and Adobe software. We plan to carry out a virtual ethnography in order to get firsthand information from the consumer and see which changes have been received favourably and which haven’t. The planning phase of our project is not finished yet so I don’t know exactly what my role will be, but part of it will be to analyze people’s activities in chat rooms and online forums about the software mentioned above. 

What do you look forward to the most? 

I think having the opportunity to apply the knowledge I have acquired in the classroom to a real-life setting such as this one is what I’m most excited about. I’m also looking forward to working in a team, since I’ll be sharing the research project with a fellow Communication student. 

What do you hope to gain through this opportunity? How do you envision this experience contributing to your future academic and professional career?

Working directly with Prof. Lesage on his project will be a great way to spend my last year at SFU. The research skills I hope to acquire will also be very useful when I go to graduate school, which is among my future plans. 

What would you tell a student that is thinking of applying for the Fellowship Award next year?

If you want to have the chance to network with professors in your faculty, gain useful hands-on experience, and make money doing it, then you should definitely apply! This is one of those opportunities SFU gives students to make their university experience a more exciting and rewarding one, so don’t miss it.