Spotlight on Research: Trevor Grandy and Will Krueger
Seniors Trevor Grandy and Will Krueger have been hard at work researching topics of their choice in order to complete their senior honors thesis.
The Communication Departmental Honors Program provides outstanding Communication majors the opportunity to conduct independent, in-depth research over the course of 2 semesters, in addition to their coursework for the major. Students who successfully complete this program receive recognition on their academic records and in the commencement program.
Trevor Grandy’s honors thesis research takes a critical look at the television program Spongebob Squarepants. Spongebob’s creator, Stephen Hillenburg, is a former marine biology instructor that fell in love with drawing animation. The earth sciences references throughout the show are a unique characteristic that sets Hillenburg’s work apart from the rest.
As a Geology and Communication double major, Grandy wanted to combine both his love of the sciences with his love of media criticism.
“My hope is that people take interest in the strangeness of my topic and at least read about the geological concepts that are portrayed in the show,” said Grandy. “Audiences may be able to draw a better understanding to heated environmental issues like global climate change and the dangers of off-shore oil rigs.”
Grandy encourages others to “Watch Spongebob! It's educational.”
Will Krueger has been working with Dr. Cunningham examining a group of Diesel clothing ads from 2007. The ads feature exotic locations from around the world that are transformed by global warming, specifically a flood. Krueger’s research hinges on the idea of a jeremiad, or threat of destruction used as a purifying force leaving behind the righteous who are in this case, all white.
“I really hope that people will see that we need to be more careful and more critical of media and their messages,” said Kruger. “This Diesel ad campaign won a few awards when it first came out and that just goes to show that people saw the message as shocking and comic without realizing what message the ads truly carried.”
Krueger was initially hesitant to do a thesis during his senior year, but now he encourages others to participate. “Its truly been an experience that I believe more students should consider doing,” said Krueger.
By Shelly Gregory, 2013