In hih school, Kristen Lanre.Ill .oa.ded up on
science courses in preparation for a career in
medicine. Upon arriving at the University of
Florida, however, her vision of the future was
changed by the 2000 US presidential election.
As the ballots were counted Kristen discovered
an interest in the theories of politics and the
diversity of journalism.
"I just didn't picture myself in the medical
field," she says. "I have always been drawn to
and really interested in political science. I was
glued to the television - CNN was on all the
time." As a University Scholar, Kristen, who is
from Bradenton, Florida, pursued her interests
in a research project that evaluated the media's
coverage of the 2002 Florida gubernatorial
election. Kristen evaluated Florida's six largest
newspapers - based on circulation - five days
prior and following the candidates' three
debates. Her findings were part of a larger
research project in collaboration with her
mentor and other professors in the College of
Journalism and Communications. Kristen
2002 - 2003 University Scholar
Mentor: Lynda Kaid
College of Journalism
wanted to evaluate whether the newspapers
presented biases toward any one candidate,
whether each debate received equal coverage,
and if newspapers declared a debate victor that
aligned with the election results.
Her mentor, senior associate dean Lynda Lee Kaid, says the strong organizational skills Kristen came to UF with provided a
solid foundation to developing research skills and becoming a strong analytical thinker. "In the more than 30 years of
working with university students, I have rarely seen an undergraduate who has contributed so well to research projects.
She's not just a student, we consider her someone whose hard work has earned her the right to be called a colleague," she said.
Though serving as Kaid's head research assistant is Kristen's main focus, she also has co-founded and has remained
actively involved with Gator Greens - a student organization that promotes values of community-based economics,
feminism, ecological wisdom, diversity, nonviolence and social justice. But despite all her work at UF, her
biggest accomplishment she says remains the day she had the courage to walk into Kaid's office following an
advertisement calling for research assistants.
"I was just a freshman, not knowing how to get involved with research," she says. "I was new and Dr. Kaid was new too, so
we took a chance with each other. Sometimes you just have to go for it, even if you're just a freshman. It's never too early
to start preparing for future work and graduate level experiences."
Back to the Journal of Undergraduate Research
UNIVERSITY qf FLORIDA
Volume 4, Issue 7 - March 2003