Students use Avatars to Navigate Digital Research Presentation Posted on May 6th, 2021 by

Mackinzee Miest ‘22, Sophie Pletcher ‘21, and Isabel Banks ‘21 presented their psychological science research at Gather Space Digital Symposium as a part of the Minnesota Undergraduate Psychology Conference hosted by the University of St. Thomas. 


During the virtual conference, these researchers presented their project to attendees who could stop in at any time. Participants navigated the conference experience virtually using their individual digital avatars.


This Gustie student research team presented “Evidence for Meaning Making Strategies and Developmental Processes in Emerging Adult Narratives of the 2020  Federal Election.” Their work is a collaboration with faculty advisor, Dr. Marie Walker


Miest is pursuing a double major in Psychological Science and Communication Studies. Pletcher is graduating this Spring with degrees and Sociology and Anthropology and Psychological Science, and Banks is also graduating this Spring with a degree in Psychological Science


This project surveyed 49 Gustavus College Students with the question, “What does the 2020 Federal Election mean to you?” They found how these students created meaning between their personal identity and a shared cultural narrative. 


“This is the first time that research has been quantitatively counted to see how much these meaning making developmental strategies were being seen,” said Banks. 


Miest reflected on their research saying, “I thought it was really interesting to get that insight and see how many different perspectives are out there, and how that affected people’s worldviews. How they use their own identity to understand what’s happening in the world.” 


“I hope that these types of conferences, and seeing other Gustavus students participate in these conferences, encourages others to do it too for the experience,” said Pletcher. 


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