FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aug. 21, 2007
Contact: Anika Mitchell Perkins
MUW honors students participate in undergraduate
COLUMBUS, Miss. – The Ina E. Gordy Honors College at
University for Women awarded four grants to fund
Proposals that were fully or partially funded this
past year covered a range of subjects including
music used in video games, leadership, English
literature and pop culture.
Rachel Delk’s grant funded her trip to a conference,
where she presented her research titled “A Video
Gamer’s Use of Music in the Process of
Self-Identification and Character Development.” Delk,
who is a senior general music major from Vernon,
Ala., said her research is the result of an honors
seminar titled “Media Effects.”
“The class really interested me in the media, and I
was particularly interested in the area of
video games. I’ve been playing them my whole life.”
Delk wrote a seven-page research paper about music
in video games and after doing some additional
research decided to develop the theory.
She said game space immersion is one hook that video
game companies use to draw people into playing more
games. One tactic of immersion that
video game companies use deals with the relationship
that a gamer may
have with a character.
“According to a study conducted by Kim and McDonald
identify strongly with characters inside a video
game to the point that they advance their social
self,” she said. “This identification may come about
by different means. Two theories that may explain
these processes are self –verification and mood
management. Both of these theories can be related in
some way to music.
Delk said she was trying to find out if the music
inside a video game had a direct effect on a gamer’s
identification with a video game character.
“I’ve been working on this project since fall of
2005. I’m still not really done with it. I want to
keep working on it because it was only a pilot
study. I had limited resources and limited
participants. The results showed a lot of promise
and with a full fledged study, I think would have
more support for all of my hypotheses.”
The grants also funded Irene Miller’s trip to
Washington, D.C., and Megan Stoner’s research trip
Miller, a senior political science major from
Tupelo, was in D.C. for seven days in May for a
seminar titled “Leaders on Leadership ’07: Critical
Issues in the Age of Globalization.”
The seminar immersed participants in the culture of
D.C. from the historic monuments to current offices
As part of the seminar’s curriculum, participants
were encouraged to navigate the city on their
own and schedule an appointment to meet with
someone or some organization that interested them.
Miller accompanied a
friend she made in D.C. on her meeting with Jackie
Payne, director of
Governmental Relations for Planned Parenthood.
The experience was amazing. We were instructed to
only consume fifteen minutes of the professional’s
time, but Mrs. Payne allowed us an hour,” she said.
“I was so inspired and had already learned much
about lobbying and grassroots mobilization.”
She also met with Latoia Jones from College
Democrats of America, White
House Fellows and staff of the Organization of
“Leadership was constantly discussed throughout the
week. I learned what kind of a leader I am and how
to groom others for leadership, which is important
since I’ll be leaving two posts after I graduate
Stoner’s independent study senior project is titled
“The Femme Fatale vs. The New Woman: Anti-feminism
in Victorian Art and Poetry.” It is an expansion of
work she did a few years ago while in London on a
study abroad course.
This summer Stoner conducted research on a 10-day
trip to London at the
Tate’s Hyman Kreitman Research Centre, the British
Library, the UK
Women’s Library and the Royal Academy of Arts.
“I chose this subject because I have a strong
interest in how English literature is entwined
with popular culture, and I also really love Keats,
who wrote one of the poems I discuss in my work.”
The senior English major from Columbus applied for
two grants, the first was an opportunity for her to
deliver a paper at the SW/TX Popular Culture
Association/American Culture Association Conference
in Albuquerque, N.M., spring of 2007.
While their focuses were different, the honors
students agreed that undergraduate research is
becoming increasingly important and has
boosted their confidence.
“I am finding in my grad school applications that
having some solid research and publication on my
resume is a great benefit and really helps me stand
out from the rest of the applicants,” Stoner said.
“Having the opportunities to conduct professional
research and present at conferences has given me a
great sense of confidence in my academic work.”
Delk added, “The most important item or lesson I
have gained during my research is confidence…
“When my paper was selected for presentation at the
Southern States Communication Association, I
was brimming over with excitement. It may
seem corny, but I really felt smart for the first
time in my life. This confidence has made me do
better in other classes, as well as preparing me for
Miller said, “I really enjoyed my time in D.C.
because it is like a mecca for political science
majors, the epicenter for American politics. Getting
acquainted with the city also alleviated some of my
fears about going to a big city for graduate school.
Now, my number one choice is political management at
George Washington University.”
Dr. Eric Daffron, director of the Ina E. Gordy
Honors College, said, “I hope more honor students
will participate in research activities. The fact
that the Honors College awards research grants shows
that we value their intellectual development and
sets the stage for more students to engage in
All students who graduate with departmental honors
at MUW complete a
senior honors project. The Honors College supports
this endeavor and
related activity not only through faculty mentorship
but also through student research grants.
The Ina E. Gordy Honors College at MUW supports the
intellectual development of highly motivated,
high-performing undergraduate students.
With nearly 100 participants, The Ina E. Gordy
Honors College offers courses and field trips
as well as an honors residence hall, a study abroad
program and opportunities for student research. Over
a year ago, the late Ina E. Gordy endowed the Honors