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PURE Award winners 2014: Victoria Parent

Committed to a goal of research excellence with its bold Eyes High strategy, one of the University of Calgary’s most important initiatives is the Program for Undergraduate Research Experience, better known as PURE.

Each year undergraduates can apply for the prestigious PURE Awards, which provide financial research support to some of the university’s most promising students over the Spring and Summer months.

The program is designed to give undergraduate students the opportunity to learn how to develop research projects, undertake independent research and contribute to knowledge in their respective fields.

In this Q&A series we will meet the PURE Award winners from the Faculty of Arts. Good luck to each of them in their research pursuits!

Name – Victoria Parent

Degree sought – Completing a Bachelor of Arts – Multidisciplinary (fourth year student)

Research Topic – “I’m exploring social grieving, commonly known as mourning, and investigating the relationship between social media and mourning in the context of community-based deaths.”

Supervisor – Lianne Tomfohr (Assistant Professor, Clinical Psychology Professorship)

What attracted you to this research project? – “The rise in technology has made communication mediums instant and accessible internationally. From landlines to cell phone applications, being able to communicate with others has become effortless in several social medium forms. The relevance of this instant communication, particularly for my generation, is what attracted me to this research project.”

Why is this research important? – “As social media is so prevalent for my generation, a need to better understand these instant social media tools – such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter – is important. I believe this research project will contribute to the pool of knowledge on our experience of social media, and how these accounts are affecting us online.”

What do you hope to achieve with this research? – “The goal is to gain a better understanding of how the grieving process is affected for individuals who are connected to social media.” What do you love most about your field of study? – “I love that in the social sciences we’re exposed to the best of both worlds in terms of scientific methods and human applications. It’s fascinating to create a hypothesis and see the effects of it in society.”