Northfell Earns National Award for Research Paper
Amanda Northfell (right) receives the Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences Outstanding Research Paper award from ACE Research Vice-Chair Karen Cannon.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Amanda Northfell, a communications graduate assistant in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas, won Outstanding Research Paper honors at this year’s Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences conference in Portland, Oregon.
Northfell, who is from Springdale and is completing her master’s degree in agricultural and extension education with an emphasis in agricultural communications, won the award in the Research Special Interest Group. Northfell earned her bachelor’s degree in art from the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences in 2012.
“I am blessed and honored to have received this award,” said Northfell. “Knowing this paper was selected from among others submitted by master’s and doctoral students, as well as faculty who I admire and cite, is a huge honor I never expected.”
Her paper is titled, “Using Reflective Journals to Compare an International Faculty-Led Study Tour and Student Internship Experience.”
Higher education is placing a greater emphasis on globalization, but fewer agricultural students are participating in international opportunities. Northfell chose her topic to show why student perceptions are important regarding study abroad and international internship experiences. Her research noted the value students participating in both international study tours and internships place on those experiences. Student respondents offered insight into these experiences and enjoyed the unique opportunities to gain practical intercultural and general communication skills quickly in real-world settings.
Agricultural education, communications and technology associate professor Leslie Edgar and graduate assistant Hayley Jernigan were co-authors on Northfell’s research paper. Edgar is also director of the Bumpers College’s Office of International Programs.
“I collaborated with my adviser, Dr. Edgar, for the last two years as she piloted an international experience in Ghent, Belgium,” said Northfell. “Data was gathered through reflective journals kept by students throughout their international experience [that] were analyzed to determine agricultural students’ values and how they influenced student perceptions regarding their unique international experiences. By identifying their values, we may be able to determine internal and external barriers preventing student participation and how to structure opportunities to improve the experience for future students.”
Robby Edwards, director of communications
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