October 13, 2016

The Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group for the Design of Communication (ACM SIGDOC) works to advance an interdisciplinary approach to design, development, and delivery of communication. The mission of SIGDOC includes the encouragement of research, development, and use of emerging modes of communication. In September, SIGDOC held its annual conference, which included the ACM Student Research Competition. The SRC is a joint venture of ACM and Microsoft where undergraduate and graduate students present their original research to a panel of judges. It is an exciting opportunity for students to venture deeper into the world of research, learn from other students and professionals, envision real-world applications of their work, and gain recognition. This year’s SRC included students from universities across the country, including UCF.

UCF’s own Leslie Simms presented her research, “Balancing the Equation of Undergraduate Research: The Importance of Reading, Learning, and Presentation Stability in the Success of STEM Laboratories,” and received second place at the Student Research Competition. Simms is an undergraduate junior majoring in mechanical engineering at UCF. Her research on the effectiveness of writing produced and perceived the undergraduate in STEM research laboratories was created in Professor Matthew Bryan’s Composition II course. She was able to work closely with and receive guidance from Professor Bryan, Dr. Stephanie Vie, and Texts & Technology graduate student Chris Foley to create research that was accepted to be published in UCF’s Stylus: A Journal of First Year Writingand part of the 2016 Knights Write Showcase. The Student Research Competition was an opportunity for Simms to communicate her ideas on the involvement of the undergraduate in STEM research and receive useful insight from technical communication professionals ranging from information architects to managers responsible for researching, producing, and supervising the creation of user interfaces, information architecture, content, websites, and social media.

Professor Matthew Bryan had this to say about Leslie Simms:
Leslie’s research really demonstrates what students can achieve in ENC 1102: Composition II when they work to find an intersection between their own interests and the subjects of the course. She came into the class with an interest in and understanding of the importance of undergraduate research, and so she sought creative ways to use the concepts and research methods we explored in ENC 1102 to help her learn more about that subject. The success she has found—first in sharing her work at UCF’s own Knights Write Showcase and later at SIGDOC—is evidence that the inquiry projects students work on in their first-year composition courses matter and are of interest to others. Winning this award at SIGDOC is another well-earned recognition of Leslie’s very good work, and I couldn’t be more proud of her.

The University of Central Florida was also represented at the Student Research Competition by two other outstanding students. Garrett Colon, a Writing and Rhetoric major, graduated in 2016. He presented his research, “Social Media in the Classroom: An Analysis of Current Practices in Pedagogy.” Clayton Benjamin, a Texts & Technology PhD student, also presented his original research, “Conducting Place/Consulting Space: Psychogeography, Logic and Electronic Mapmaking.”

The Department of Writing and Rhetoric is excited to see their students’ work and research go beyond the classroom and hopes to see more students take advantage of the opportunities available at the next SIGDOC conference in August 2017. The Call for Proposals ends in January 2017, and can be found here. Contact Dr. Jason Swarts, 2017 Student Research Competition Chair, for information about the SRC at [email protected].