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AddRan College of Liberal Arts


AddRan Students

Across areas of study, the AddRan College of Liberal Arts fosters student research and creative activity to equip future leaders to tackle modern challenges through a liberal arts lens. The college celebrated this type of scholarship at the 18th annual AddRan Student Research and Creativity Symposium (ASRACS) in April.

Peter Worthing, Ph.D., associate dean of graduate studies and research and professor of history, said 50 students participated, showcasing their work via traditional academic presentations, creative writing entries and poster presentations. Worthing co-organized the event with the help of Muriel Cormican, Ph.D., associate dean of undergraduate studies and professor of German, and Lesley Mackinson, academic program specialist.

Political science major Jazmine Velasquez was one of three award winners for Outstanding Research Presentation with “Don’t Say Gay or No More Gay: A Content Analysis of Media Reporting on the Parental Rights in Education.”

She was inspired to explore this topic after observing an abundance of commentary on social media related to legislation passed in 2022.

“That summer, I noticed that there seemed to be a lot of discourse happening on Twitter about ‘Don’t Say Gay’ legislation that was targeting transgender people and even drag performers,” Velasquez said. “Alarmed, I did my own investigations and found that the bill was actually called the Parental Rights in Education Act and was recently signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. I set out to figure out what the actual wording and context of this bill was, why different media outlets were framing it in different ways, and how media framing contributes to a snowball effect of discriminatory legislation and plays a part in framing public opinion.”

Velasquez was encouraged to enter the symposium by her mentor, Rachael Houston, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science.

“Dr. Houston stood by my side through the entire process,” said Velasquez. “She helped me refine my ideas, create my proposal and aided in my subsequent research and writing. For the symposium, she helped me create my slide deck presentation and took the time to review my oral presentation, timing and content.”

Other presentations explored a variety of topics, including The Puerto Rico Pill Trials, the Black female student-athlete experience, comparing the heroes’ journeys in the “Odyssey” and the “Percy Jackson” series, and the efficiency of meal swipes related to food insecurity at TCU.

AddRan students
Seven of the 11 ASRACS winners accept their awards at the 2024 ceremony.

The competition’s 35 research presentations, seven creative writing presentations and three posters were reviewed and critiqued by AddRan faculty members.

Among the judges was Stacie McCormick, Ph.D., associate professor of English and department chair of comparative race and ethnic studies.

“The student presenters this year were very strong,” said McCormick. “Their work was wide-ranging in scope and showcased the myriad possibilities of research and writing in the liberal arts.”

To determine the winners, the judges observed and assessed student presenters for quality of research or creative work and the overall presentation.

“Many students presented projects with great social impact and critical importance,” said McCormick. “So, the level of critical thinking was top of mind for me. Secondly, I considered the sophistication of the presentation of ideas. Often, the quality of the presentation correlated with the quality of the research.”

McCormick said she encourages all AddRan students to consider participating in the ASRACS each year.

“It’s a great opportunity for students to take their work beyond the classroom and get feedback from interested audience members,” she said. “The symposium affirms that the work we do in the classroom matters and can set you up for making an impact.”

Worthing agreed.

“Standing up and articulating one’s ideas, then answering questions from the audience is not only an important intellectual exercise, but it also helps prepare students for the kinds of professional situations they will encounter when they leave TCU,” he said.

He also noted that the ASRACS helps those in different departments better understand their peers’ work and find commonality among their research and creative activities.

Velasquez benefited greatly from her participation.

“Never did I imagine that I would get the chance to research something I genuinely cared about, be supported by my department and have the opportunity to share it with my peers,” she said. “Participating in the symposium really pushed me to step outside my comfort zone, practice my speaking skills and, most importantly, improve my self-confidence.”

2024 ASRACS Award Winners

  • Outstanding Poster Presentation: Lucy Berry, Anthropology
  • Outstanding Research Presentation: Cecily Newman, Religion; Jacora Johnson, Comparative Race & Ethnic Studies; Jazmine Velasquez, Political Science
  • Outstanding Creative Writing Presentation: Brooklyn Wilson, English
  • Outstanding Presentation in Asian Studies: Preeshita Biswas, English
  • Outstanding Presentation in Middle Eastern Studies: Meredith Moore, History
  • Outstanding Presentation in Spanish & Hispanic Studies: Katherine Bruley, Spanish & Hispanic Studies
  • Lane Schmutz Prize for Outstanding Presentation in Economics: Jackson Kaiser, Economics
  • Lane Schmutz Prizes for Outstanding Paper in Anthropology and Sociology: Chloe Matthews, Sociology; Julianne Tai, Anthropology