Senior Thesis In Demand On Dominican Scholar

A growing number of organizations and individual researchers throughout the world are downloading work housed on Dominican Scholar. As of this month, Dominican Scholar has generated 881,216 total downloads, with 38,157 of those downloads in the past 30 days.

Created as an institutional repository, Dominican Scholar collects, preserves, and shares research by both students and faculty. Its intent is to give back to the community at large while at the same time maximizing the University's visibility and reach, making Dominican research easily accessible to 225 countries, says Michael Pujals, Scholarly Communications Librarian.

Lately there has been an increase in Dominican Scholar visitors and downloading from the Philippines, India, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Organizations such as the North Carolina Research and Education Network, the U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs frequently access Dominican Scholar, downloading work about issues that are both topical and current.

One of the most frequently downloaded articles in the past three months is by James Schultz ’19, whose Communication and Media Studies senior thesis examined Media Coverage of Law Enforcement and Effects of the Image Created. His two-year research project examined case studies and articles concerning the media’s depiction of law enforcement and its effects on the officers’ duties to the public.

Schultz’s senior thesis on Dominican Scholar has been downloaded more than 5,200 times by researchers from 96 countries, from New York to New Zealand. Organizations and institutions seeking James’ research are led by the Utah Education Network, the Georgia Education Network, Kauno Technologijos Universitetas, USAISC Headquarters and Faith Baptist Church.

“To see that my paper has reached so many people does make me feel like it wasn’t just another assignment to be completed, turned in, and graded,” Schultz says. “It makes me feel like in some, small way my work may help make a difference to more than just a student cramming to find sources for their own senior thesis.”

Pujals, who is the Dominican Scholar site administrator, receives numerous requests for additional information.

“I'm contacted throughout the year from researchers around the world. They ask me for permission to use research instruments and surveys developed by students, to translate work, to ask questions about the research,” Pujals says. “When I have the authors' contact information, I pass those requests on while reminding them that they own the work and that it's up to them to grant or deny permission.”

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James, now a freelance videographer and editor, came to Dominican to play lacrosse for new coach Sammy Vogel-Seidenberg and to pursue his interest in media/filming/production. He met Brad Van Alstyne on his first visit to Dominican and Van Alstyne, Assistant Professor of Communications, Coordinator, Online Learning and Development, walked James through the curriculum and skills he would learn, making him feel at ease.

“Having a major that played to my strengths and was also interesting to study excited me, and the small size of the classes meant I would be able to work closely with my professors and get help faster if needed,” James says. “On my follow-up visits to campus I was able to speak with other professors in the Communication and Media Studies department, meet fellow students in my major in the School of Liberal Arts and Education who were applying, and meet and practice with the men’s lacrosse team. Many of the people I met with during those first interactions are still my close friends today.”

Including his lacrosse coach.

“Coach Sammy is one of the main reasons why I decided to continue playing lacrosse in college,” James says. “His dedication to his players and guidance as a coach didn’t end once practice and games were over. He made a point to be as helpful as he could with academics and career opportunities as well.”

While at Dominican, James also signed up for a study abroad experience through the Global Education Office, his first trip out of the country. He chose to spend a semester at Mälardalen University in Sweden because its curriculum lined up with Dominican’s, allowing him to earn the credits he needed to continue towards his degree without having to take any extra classes.

“I was the first in my family to go to a `four- year university’ so my goals began simply and without refinement. I hoped that during my education I would learn more about the occupations in my field and find one that would help me focus my studies and prepare myself to obtain that job once I graduated,” James says. “I am happy to say that during my time at Dominican, my classes and professors prepared me for many different roles and gave me a` Swiss Army Knife’ of experience so that no occupation within my field would seem unattainable.”

This summer, James was hired as a videographer and editor at Juice Beauty, an award-winning organic skincare and beauty products company in San Rafael, which has been an internship and a work destination for a number of Dominican students and graduates.

“The fact that other Dominican students have worked at Juice Beauty both influenced my decision to apply there and their decision to hire me,” James says. “The job was brought to my attention by Brad Van Alstyne when I asked him if he knew of any places looking for employees. When I interviewed with two of their senior staff they mentioned that many Dominican students had worked there or were still working there, and that all of them had been great for the company.”

Ultimately, James would like to combine his talent for videography with his interest in social justice as a videographer and editor to larger audiences. He believes he can make an impact with his work, just as he did with his words for his 30-page paper on “Media Coverage of Law Enforcement and Effects of the Image Created” he submitted in April of 2019 after two years of research.

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