Undergrad Comm Studies Student Lands Research Award
Ava Franzoy is constantly searching for ways to improve as a writer. The University of Tennessee, Knoxville rising junior recently submitted a class project that discussing how she wants to get more experience interviewing people.
Jessica Frampton, an assistant professor in the School of Communication Studies, read Franzoy’s submission and provided feedback. Frampton thought Franzoy would be an ideal candidate to get involved in research.
“Ava is really good at taking initiative,” Frampton said. “She would always contact me if she had to miss class to stay ahead of things and be responsible. She has the ability to think through problems and problem solve on her own without me prompting her.”
Franzoy, a communication studies major with a minor in advertising and public relations, was intrigued by the idea and reached out to Frampton to see how she could get more involved.
It led to Franzoy receiving an Advanced Undergraduate Research Activity Award from the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships. Franzoy earned the award by writing a proposal for a study about breakups and infidelity. She is conducting the study over the summer under the supervision of Frampton.
“This has exposed me to something that is completely new to me. It kind of fell into my lap,” Franzoy said. “It’s been a great learning experience. I am excited to see what comes of it.”
Franzoy and Frampton brainstormed the topic for her study together. Frampton studies the dark side of romantic relationships, but hasn’t delved very deeply into cheating.
Franzoy is hoping to find patterns and commonalities among people whose partners cheat on them. She will write a paper on her findings and hopes to submit her work to an academic journal for publication.
To find interview subjects, Franzoy posted on a Reddit thread called “Cheating Stories” about her project and provided her contact information.
“The goal is a minimum of 30 interviews, but I’ve had well over that many people reach out,” she said. “It’s been a little overwhelming. My email is blowing up. It’s very different from what I am used to, but it’s been so interesting.”
Along with her classes and research work, Franzoy writes for Ablaze Magazine, a student-powered publication that covers women’s topics and feminist issues.
“I reached out to them about joining the staff and just kind of fell in love with it,” she said. “It has been amazing. We had our first print edition come out this year, and it was just really cool to see it from start to finish and how that process played out.”
In the fall, Franzoy will be studying abroad for a semester in Florence, Italy. It’s something she dreamed about doing when she started college.
“I have never been out of the country, so it’s definitely going to be a culture shock for me. But I think traveling is super important because it broadens your perspective on things,” said Franzoy, who was born in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and moved to Franklin, Tennessee, in high school. “I am just excited to experience another culture and immerse myself and hopefully come back a better person with a more broad outlook on things.”
Franzoy is grateful for her college experience and says UT has been so enriching. She wants to keep building on what she has learned in the next few years and to help others in the future.
“I would just tell people, if they are thinking about joining CCI, I would recommend it,” she said. “There are so many opportunities for students to take advantage of. They are great about getting students involved in things and everyone is so helpful. I love it.”
Written by Rhiannon Potkey