The Fall 2023 Semester in Review

By: Michelle Amazeen

A photo of the directory in the foreground, with two students studying, in the reception area, in the background.
Students studying in the CRC reception area. Photo courtesy of Derek Palmer.

December wraps up another busy semester for the CRC. Our Colloquium Series, which originated in 2009, consists of monthly research presentations that highlight current and original research of CRC fellows. Our Fall Colloquium Speakers were EMS PhD Candidate Alexis Shore (September), Dr. Deborah Jaramillo (October), and Dr. Joan Donovan (November). If you are interested in presenting your research as part of our Colloquium Series this Spring, please sign up here.

Every semester, the CRC also invites a distinguished scholar from outside the university to share their outstanding scholarship, expertise, and experience with the BU community. Our Fall 2023 DeFleur Distinguished Lecturer was Dr. Kjerstin Thorson (Michigan State University) who spoke about news exposure in a datafied media world.

An image of students facing a TV screen, half eaten pizza slices on paper plates on the table in front of them, with a Zoom video on display.
PhD fellow Briana Trifiro’s second Lunch & Learn, with EMS alumnae, pictured here.

In promoting a culture of research and collaboration, our fellows met monthly as part of our Work-In-Progress meetings. Special guests this semester included representatives from BU’s Institutional Review Board and representatives from the offices of BU’s Federal and Foundation Relations. Moreover, our PhD fellow Briana Trifiro launched a Lunch & Learn series enabling doctoral students the opportunity to talk with faculty and Emerging Media Studies PhD alumni about their academic research and careers.

One of the unique technologies available in the CRC is our biometric tools which include devices for measuring heart rate, sweat levels in the skin, as well as facial and eye movements. For the first time ever, the CRC hosted an onsite workshop led by an iMotions Product Specialist. Attendees received hands-on training in our iMotions software, designing biometric studies, interpreting data, and drawing actionable conclusions. If you are interested in learning more about biometrics, a quick primer is available here.

Given the University’s commitment to involving students in research, the CRC continued to facilitate fellows’ efforts to recruit students as research participants via our SONA research participant management system. The SONA system gives both graduate and undergraduate students an opportunity to become involved with various research activities across COM while earning course credit for doing so. This semester, 13 research opportunities were available to students from 24 different COM courses. I hope you will consider including your courses in the Spring semester. To enroll your courses, please fill out this form. For more information about how our SONA program works, please visit our website or email

The CRC staff behind the reception desk in various stages of working and communication.
A typical day in the CRC. Photo courtesy of Derek Palmer.

I am incredibly grateful for the commitment and hard work of our staff this fall. Amanda King joined us in September as our Lab and Research Manager and has been quickly getting up to speed on CRC technologies and activities. I look forward to working with them in the Spring semester and beyond. I would also like to thank our wonderful graduate assistants who helped to keep the Center running. Zain Bali (MCR) was our SONA administrator doing the behind-the-scenes work on our research participant management system. Snigdha Bhowmik (FTV) was our Communications Assistant writing about and promoting our activities. And Xinyue “Tracy” Cui (FTV) was our Events Assistant capturing our activities for posterity and making them available on our website. Thanks to you all!

To our CRC community of fellows, I wish you all a joyous and restful holiday season and look forward to the many new and exciting activities we are planning for 2024!