COMM student wins Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Award

Annalise Kapusta
Annalise Kapusta

Florida State University School of Communication undergraduate Annalise Kapusta received a 2014 Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Award (URCAA) for her proposal to study the media in relation to the peace process in Northern Ireland.

The award of $4,000 is given by the Office of Undergraduate Research to support students conducting summer research or creative activity under the direction of a supervising faculty mentor.

Kapusta became interested in the conflict between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland while traveling abroad in Europe last summer.  Before visiting Ireland on the trip, she was unaware of the violent, decades-long conflict that ended with a peace agreement signed in 1998. 

While the peace agreement was an important step in the process, there has still been intermittent violence in the area with car bomb explosions happening as recent as last year. 

“My research is why the peace has been so precarious and if the media had anything to do with it with the reporting of the troubles,” Kapusta said. 

Dr. Steve McDowell with Annalise Kapusta and her research poster at the Undergraduate Research Symposium on April 1.
Dr. Steve McDowell with Annalise Kapusta and her research poster at the Undergraduate Research Symposium on April 1.

“Ms. Kapusta’s work addresses very important aspects of media coverage of violent political conflict and its resolution,” Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Steve McDowell said.  “What happens to a society after a formal agreement ending political violence has been reached?  What role can media portrayals play in rebuilding institutions and social connections?  I’m very goad Ms. Kapusta is undertaking this project.”

Kapusta will do a qualitative media analysis of print media post-1998 and analyze the information was presented and how it was framed, and how that might have affected her generation’s perception of peace.

“I’m finding that it is a pattern with my peers that they have no idea this happened or things could still potentially happen if things don’t change,” Kapusta said.  “I feel that is an injustice that I had no idea this was going on.  Another part of my project is trying to talk to people in my generation who didn’t see the news in the 1980s and early 1990s.” 

The junior media and communication studies major will travel to Ireland for nine weeks this summer for her research where she will work with the Institute for Conflict Research in Belfast.

“They are going to provide me with interviewees and I will ask them how the media influenced or did not influence their perception of peace,” Kapusta said.

URCAA recipients are also required to present their findings at the Showcase of Undergraduate Research held in the fall semester following their summer of research.