My accomplishments have in part been the result of friends who have motivated me and professors who have encouraged and supported me.
Jamie Bartolino ’11 describes her Elizabethtown experience as a fairytale college story. “I was a very quiet first-year student with high goals,” she recalls. “I knew what I wanted to do, but didn’t have much confidence in whether I’d be able to achieve it.”
In her first semester on campus, the communications major connected with Assistant Professor Kirsten Johnson. Soon after their meeting, the pair forged a fruitful collaboration that has encouraged Jamie to greater achievements than she ever dreamed. “I admire Dr. Johnson so much,” says Jamie. “She has been a guiding figure to me throughout my college career.”
For their first undertaking, Jamie and her faculty mentor launched a research project on the effectiveness of wikis as a classroom platform. As Dr. Johnson’s research assistant, Jamie completed a literature search and helped survey students about their perceptions. The findings reaffirmed their understanding of the needs of today’s learners. “My generation is much more confident on the computer,” she explains. “As opposed to raising their hand in class to speak, students like wikis because the technology offers them more time to think about what they want to say and not have to deal with an immediate reaction from their classmates or professor.”
In summer 2009, the pair traveled to present their work at the Human-Computer Interaction International Conference. “I felt so privileged to be at the conference. I was one of maybe 20 undergraduate students who attended,” she recalls. “Those at our session were extremely complimentary of me and were very impressed that Dr. Johnson would conduct research with an undergraduate.”
With one success under their belt, the partners collaborated on two more studies that provide insights into the impact of advancing technology on perceived credibility. During the presidential election, they analyzed a CNN blog to look for trends in citizen journalism and published their results in the journal Mass Communication Research. In October 2010, the pair presented the results of their third study documenting the impact of Twitter posts on students’ perceptions of instructor credibility at the Pennsylvania Communication Association conference.
The collaboration with Johnson is just one of many that have spurred Jamie to excel at Elizabethtown. “My accomplishments have in part been the result of friends who have motivated me and professors who have encouraged and supported me,” Jamie says gratefully.