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Communications and Marketing

Mobilizing research

Amanda Peterson ’18 worked side-by-side with her advisor over the summer on research she is confident will give her future career a boost.

“Being able to do research as an undergrad puts me ahead of a lot of people,” said the sociology and anthropology major and education minor. “I plan on going into management, so the opportunity to present my research—and get public speaking experience at this level—is really important.”

Peterson and Assistant Professor of Sociology Todd Beer worked together to determine if organizations in the 2014 People’s Climate March in New York City participated out of a commitment to climate change or if they viewed the march simply as a ready-made platform to promote their message.

“Recent research indicates that both individuals and organizations are increasingly ‘crossing over’ to other social and political issues­—becoming hybrid organizations,” Beer said of their ground-breaking research. “The single study done thus far on this phenomenon looked only at the anti-war movement leading up to the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan in the early 2000s.” 

This summer, the duo researched websites of participating organizations to analyze their online posts before and after the well-attended—and well-publicized— march. Through their analysis, Peterson and Beer hope to determine if the impetus for participation in mass protest events has changed. Beer even plans to submit a paper on the research to a peer-reviewed journal for consideration and possible publication—another accomplishment Peterson can add to her resume.

The duo worked together through the 2015 Richter Scholars program. Peterson is among 42 Richter Scholars who presented their research outcomes during student symposiums in the summer.