- Tell us about the work you do with the Family Resiliency Center’s JUS Media? Programme?
I am a Lead Research Assistant of Dr. Michelle Nelson’s Media Lab, which is one of the FRC’s JUS Media? Programme working labs. Since 2016, Dr. Nelson and I have been exploring Jamaican food marketing culture. We collaborated with the University of West Indies to collect Jamaican advertisements (television, newspaper, outdoor, etc.) and observation notes from November 2016 to May 2017. As a Lead Research Assistant, I trained undergraduate and graduate assistants to code each ad based on a coding manual. Some of the assistants submitted their work to UIUC Undergraduate Research Symposium, and I supervised their presentation as a mentor. From JUS Media? Programme, I learned about collaboration and mentorship as well as related research skills (content analysis, observation). I am very happy to be a part of this wonderful team!
- What do you think about the impact of the media on individual identity, habits, and overall culture?
I was amazed by how Jamaican people think of themselves as “Jahmerican.” U.S. food and beverage brands are ubiquitous in Jamaica. Their ads frequently appear in Jamaican television channels, newspapers, and billboards. Particularly, U.S. fast-food franchises and soda brands are very popular among Jamaican families. It is clear that the strong presence of U.S. culture in Jamaica has substantially transformed Jamaicans’ eating habits, but also their identities and values. Children and their parents need to be trained and educated to enhance their media literacy. I am delighted to be part of the project which aims to bring a significant contribution to media literacy of Jamaican children and families.
- What are your career goals?
My career goal is to be a scholar contributing to media literacy education for children and parents. I also hope my research provides numerous resources for consumer advocacy groups and policymakers who could help develop a better learning environment for children about media. To achieve this goal, I am currently working on two projects. One of them is JUS Media? Programme, a food-focused media literacy education program. Another one is my dissertation which explores parental media literacy and their mediation strategies of commercial transmedia character content. Like Marvel superheroes, every characters’ stories are systematically intertwined, and the whole franchise is developed as a unique brand. Each medium does ‘what it does best’ - television, movies, books, games, and toys deliver different narratives and eventually enable the audience to experience the character’s world as a whole. This is not a new technique, but little is known how much parents understand such storytelling and marketing approach and how they manage and mediate those content. By examining parental media literacy in the context of commercial transmedia character content, I would like to step forward to my ultimate career goals.
- What is your favorite meal?
If someone asks me about my favorite meal, I always say “Korean Bibimbap.” It is served as a bowl of warm rice with seasoned or steamed vegetables (e.g., mushroom, spinach, sliced radish, etc.), grilled meat (sliced), fried eggs, sesame oil, and chili pepper paste. Then, the only thing you should do is mix them thoroughly before you eat. This dish is listed as one of the World’s 50 most delicious foods. If you haven’t tried it yet, please go ahead!
- What do you like to do in your free time?
Whenever I feel excited or depressed, I like to go to a park and take a walk. There is a park named “Lake of Wood” which has a lovely pond and a forest. I walk and take time contemplating about myself - my goals and plans. After spending some peaceful time in the park, I always feel encouraged and motivated to move on to the next step. Sometimes, the scenery in the park inspires me to write a poem.