Cherelle Daniel (left), Dr. Lilnabeth Somera, and Ruzelle Amparo represent the University of Guam during the Asia Media Information Conference in Dubai, UAE.
University of Guam Communications majors Ruzelle Amparo and Cherelle Daniel last month presented their undergraduate capstone projects to an international audience at the Asia Media Information Conference in Dubai.
Amparo and Daniel attended the AMIC conference from June 10 to 13 at American University in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The conference focused on the dawn of “e-Asia,” in which the emergence and growth of instant, digital communication impacts the traditional community structures, language and etiquette of Asian countries.
Amparo, who graduated last December, examined how emerging media could help save and preserve the Chamorro language. She conducted focus group discussions on a small sample of people, first asking them if they knew how to speak Chamorro. The response came up short.
She then showed them a sample of “Siha,” a web series launched last March by the production company Kahmeleon Productions that Amparo worked for to promote the Chamorro language to a generation struggling to speak it. The response from the sample group was positive, leading her to conclude that new, digital media can and should be used to keep the Chamorro language alive.
“Participants agreed that integration of Chamorro language in Guam’s media would be beneficial to the island’s native tongue,” Amparo’s paper states. “They concluded that Chamorro, in order to survive, must continue to evolve with the turning centuries and that adapting to new media is imperative to its success. It may then be concluded that engaging in media would be sufficient for the language to remain alive for future generations.”
Now living in Texas, Amparo felt the conference was a place where she can put her degree to good use, share the results of her focus group discussions, and meet professionals in her field of study.
“I wanted to meet some scholars in communication and gauge what life for them is like,” she said.
Daniel, who graduated in May, chose social media marketing as the focus of her capstone project. She surveyed college students on how aware they were of 18 local brands and how social media influences their perceptions of those brands.
“The results of this study suggest that college-age consumers look positively at relationships with the local brands or retail business and appreciate feedback via social media,” her paper states. “Also the awareness of a business appears to be related to the popularity status of the business on social media, as indicated by the number of followers a business has and how often their posts are liked.”
Daniel said that along with presenting her findings in front of professionals from around the globe, another benefit of trips like this is to “express yourself educationally and adventurously.”
Being in Dubai was also an opportunity for Daniel to learn not just about media but the strong culture of the city as well, and given her unfamiliarity with the country, she was determined to explore.
“Everything was different – the people, the environment, the language,” she said. “It was a definite culture shock, (but) it was amazing. I never would have thought I’d be in that part of the world, and for a conference, it was an overall amazing experience.”
With the help of student travel grants provided by UOG, which help support students’ travel in circumstances like this, Daniel and Amparo were able to share their hard work and research with professionals from around the world.
Associate professor of Communication Dr. Lilnabeth Somera said it’s grants like these that make a big difference in helping UOG students not only experience other cultures but expose them to an international professional community.
“Conference participants promote UOG and showcase excellent students,” said Somera.“I encourage all Communication capstone students to submit proposals. Participation in an international conference provides communication majors opportunities to see what current issues and research agendas people in other universities and media organizations are pursuing.”
Amparo and Daniel expressed their gratitude to the University of Guam for supporting them with the trip and their future.
“It provided me the education I needed to obtain a degree to fulfill my career goals,” Daniel said.