Two IST undergraduate researchers present at iConference

Jessica Hallman
March 23, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Two undergraduate researchers from the College of Information Sciences and Technology were invited to present their work in Boras, Sweden, this week at iConference 2020 — a forum through which information scholars, researchers and professionals share their insights on critical information issues in contemporary society.

However, with the global coronavirus pandemic, the conference was moved to a virtual format. Adanna Nedd, junior in information sciences and technology, and Courtney Smith, sophomore in security and risk analysis, are presenting their work virtually among information scholars, researchers and professionals around the world.

As scholars at the iSchool Inclusion Institute (i3) hosted by the University of Pittsburgh, Nedd and Smith presented posters with their respective i3 teams which comprise scholars from institutions across the United States. The i3 projects are significant in that they were all designed and run by undergraduates, and were subject to blind peer review, before being accepted.

“It’s a big deal, not just because we’re undergraduates, but we’re also underrepresented students,” said Nedd. “On the i3 teams [attending this conference], many students come from fields outside of IST. I’m the only information sciences person on my team, so it’s really interesting to see how all of these different people come together with diverse perspectives.”

Nedd’s team was one of five conference-wide finalists for the Best Poster Award. Their project studies player perspectives on aesthetic appeal and self-representation with video game character “skins.” The team surveyed video game players — including players from underrepresented populations — to analyze if and how they would spend their money on diverse representational options to customize their characters.

“As someone who has played games for years, I don’t really see a lot of in-game marketing that looks exactly like me,” said Nedd. “We’re studying the stuff behind it, and how much money people are willing to spend to get options that look like them.”

Smith’s work focuses on studying how queer people of color use information communication technologies, such as laptops or mobile devices, to cope with stigma.

“The queer community is something that’s not really talked about [in research],” said Smith. “That’s why we specifically looked at the queer community as well as people of color because that intersectionality wasn’t really represented.”

Last Updated April 15, 2021