School of Communication student to participate in President’s Showcase in Research Excellence

This article was written by Abigail Ellis, a senior public relations student and School of Communication Director’s Ambassador.

For the second year in a row, the School of Communication will be represented at The President’s Showcase of Undergraduate Research Excellence, a yearly university-wide event promoting research and creativity.

Rachel Corry, a senior double majoring in Public Relations and Editing, Writing and Media, recipient of an IDEA grant, will present her research on November 19 on consumers’ perceptions of sustainability and the most effective way for farms to communicate with consumers.

Zoe Zirlin, a senior majoring in Advertising, had been selected in 2019 for her novel review of posters portraying Jews under the Nazi regime. Eight students from the School of Communication had the honor of presenting their work since 2015.

Corry, with support from Dr. Patrick Merle, seeks to understand how organic farms can craft messaging and select communication strategies. To do so, her plan is to interview farmers throughout the Southeast about their outreach strategies, survey consumers about their views on sustainability and conduct an online experiment to compare how consumers respond to specific farm communication strategies. So far, she has conducted interviews with farmers and has found that the majority for farmers emphasized the importance of establishing a farm narrative and sharing daily farm life. 

“One of the best parts is knowing my research will positively impact consumers and farms while shedding light on consumer perceptions towards sustainability and organic agriculture,” Corry said. 

Corry’s research is supported by the IDEA grant. This grant is organized by FSU’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Academic Engagement (CRE) and supports FSU students by funding parts of their research. For Corry, this meant paying for travel expenses to interview farmers. However, due to COVID-19, she is interviewing farmers virtually which has allowed her to use the grant money to distribute her surveys to wider audiences. Students can apply for an IDEA grant after attending an interest meeting. The upcoming applications are due February 1, 2021. 

“Our advice for all undergraduates wondering if research is right for them is to set up an advising appointment with some of the great staff in our office,” says Latika Young, Director of the CRE. “We are thrilled to help you get started on your own research journey!”

This years’ Showcase, unlike previous years, will be hosted online. While this is certainly a different experience, Corry says she is up for the challenge and is excited that this format allows her out of town friends and family to attend her presentation.

For more information about the event and how to attend, go to the Facebook event page for this year’s event. To learn more about the Idea Grant, go to their website To learn more about Honors in the Major, go to their website