Communication student wins Dean’s award at Student Scholarship Research Expo

April 30, 2013

By Crystal Vining ‘13

Organizational Communication major Brittany Akins received the Slane College of Communication and Fine Arts Dean’s Award for her research project on “Organizational Culture of an Entertainment Park.”  The research was conducted as part of COM 316, "Researching Organizational Culture" taught by Dr. Elena Gabor.  The award was presented during the Twenty-first Annual Undergraduate Student Scholarship Expo held April 16-18.

Akins, a junior from Gages Lake, Ill., conducted a cultural analysis of an entertainment park to learn more about the inner workings of the business. Her findings revealed that there were many changes that could be made to help the park run smoother.

After six days of observation and hours spent observing the park, Akins was able to create a working plan for the staff of the entertainment park. She found that visitors responded well to cleanliness and that it is helpful when staff wear uniforms to distinguish between the part-time and seasonal staff.

These findings developed into a discussion on how the park could improve interpersonal communications among the staff. To enhance communication, Akins recommended that employees attend all weekly meetings and that the amusement park institute a reward system. These changes, Akins found, could lead to a more productive workforce.

Additionally, Akins analyzed the park’s website and suggested changing some of its text, such as creating and adding a vision statement. These changes will not only enhance verbal communication among staff members but the public, as well.

Akin’s work with the entertainment park also gave her the opportunity to learn more about her future in Organizational Communication.

Additionally, students in the Department of Communication studying with Dr. Ji Young Kim, Dr. Margaret Young and Anji Philips, Dr. Kyle Dzapo in the Department of Music and Dr. Monica McGill, Department of Interactive Media exhibited their research projects during the Expo.