A Long Day’s Journey: My First Research Conference

April 8th marked a great day in my academic career. UNC Pembroke holds an annual symposium for undergrads to show their research through our PURC (Pembroke Undergraduate Research & Creativity) program. During December of 2014 I was accepted to the program and earned a grant to continue my research. I presented my poster for Innovative Authors: Charles Dickens and Modern Marketing at the symposium. The project started as a Senior Seminar paper 2 years ago. While I investigated my interests in marketing, I noticed Charles Dickens was the Original Gangsta in the marketing industry and my interests quickly took over.

Fast forward to the morning of the 8th and I get to look at the finished product of my poster, view here-(PURC Poster). When I arrived for registration I immediately got some coffee at 8:00 in the morning, then did my rounds throughout the catacombs of the posters. There was art, bio projects, and literary reviews, but nothing that used two different disciplines as I did with English & Marketing so I naturally began to worry as the judges started making their rounds.

The conference started out with a few speeches from presenters that went from a Victorian literary review to the difference in a computer science degree and information science degree (A friend and I looked puzzled over how a grant was given for basically a blog post), but I was starting to get nervous for the poster competition. So nervous my mom ran back to my apartment and got me a plaid shirt so as I could hide my pit stains.

During the poster competition, I knew I would get foot traffic from the supermodel posed with a Hardee’s burger right next to Dickens, but I did not know the mixed feelings people would have. As the male judges and professors walked by they immediately gave a chuckle, talking to me about key points that I went over and over the night before. Suddenly, some of my female professors (who are unfortunately rooted in feminism) thought that my poster was stereotyping the gender. O well. If I were to put a man up there it still would have been stereotyping men.

As the conference continued, the students who wanted to give speeches went through. Some interesting, some no so much, but regret started to seep in. I wanted to speak. Rather than viewers gazing, they would of had to listen and it would have been up to my skills as a confident speaker to get the job done. Unfortunately, I went for the poster.

As the prizes began to be handed out a professor came up to me raving about my project. That same professor was a judge. He told me I did not win anything but it was not because of a lack of validity, sources, or especially poster presentation. But because I transcended the two disciplines in English and Marketing, a lack of focus. To that end, my confidence was a tad diminished, but not my creativity. I was proud of my project, how I was the only one to go across disciplines and most of all mesh my interests. Unfortunately, there was not best in show.

PURC Poster


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