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Summer Research Scholar in the Spotlight: Aubrie Adams

We are continuing this summer's showcase of Graduate Division's summer research scholars with Aubrie Adams, an avid gamer. In a previous article titled Graduate Division Welcomes Summer Scholars I introduced you to our Sally Casanova and Academic Research Consortium (ARC) summer researchers. We will now introduce you to each of our summer researchers, individually, and give you some insight into who they are.

Name: Aubrie Adams

Discipline / Emphasis: Communication/Technology and Society

Research Interests / Goals

I’m a huge geek and my research interests reflect that! Broadly, I study communication topics related to technology such as computer mediated communication, media studies, and virtual interactions. More specifically, I am interested in video game research, health games, entertainment education, and social media. Video games have a special place in my heart because I met my husband online while playing a game (Final Fantasy XI). As such, I’m drawn to exploring and understanding interactions in virtual worlds. Currently, I’m finishing my thesis on emoticons and working with the Health Games Research center at UCSB. I’m looking forward to starting the Ph.D. program in the Communication department at UCSB in the fall and getting to learn more about game studies. My goals are to become a university research professor so I can incorporate my geeky interests in my courses!

What is it like being an ARC/SC summer research scholar?

The Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral program is fantastic – I feel privileged to have this opportunity to participate in summer research. It’s given me a jump start in making valuable connections with staff and faculty who are doing wonderful work in my area of interest. Being involved has opened the door for me to join a team of like-minded researchers. The program itself gives us a glimpse in to the life of doctoral students and helps prepare us with professional development workshops while also teaching us about resources. I have to also mention that they keep us very well fed, which is a nice bonus : )!

What’s been a source for motivation or drive for you?

Video games have had an enormous positive influence on my life in many ways including my health, education, and socialization. I see games as tools that have the powerful potential to help people teach, learn, and grow. I’m driven to help others to understand the benefits to make our everyday lives more gameful

Name the accomplishment you are most proud of, and why.

I like to joke that one of my proudest achievements was winning the fishing competition at Booty Bay in the game World of Warcraft – but in all seriousness, I am immensely proud of being accepted in the Ph.D. Communication program at UCSB! It’s always been my dream to go to graduate school and the program is phenomenal here. I’m very excited to grow as a scholar and learn more about video games and virtual interaction.   

What makes you, you?

At my core, I’m silly, shy, and nerdy. While I consider myself an academic, I try to keep my research and teaching both light-hearted and fun. I also have two adorable cats – I try to infuse pictures of them into my teaching whenever possible. I can be introverted and quiet, but I push myself out of my comfort zone as much as I can! Since I’ve moved to Santa Barbara, I’m trying to develop my nature side by taking walks and hanging out at the beach. Lastly, I’m a foodie and I love to eat, bake, and cook! 

Where did you grow up?

My hometown is Grass Valley, California.  It’s a pretty forested area about an hour north of Sacramento.

What’s a guilty pleasure of yours?

Two come to mind: first, I love dance video games like Dance Dance Revolution and Dance Central with the Kinect. They give such a good work-out! However, you would absolutely never catch me dancing out anywhere in public! Second, I watch a lot of reality TV – I even paid to watch the live camera feeds of the Big Brother house this year. Although, so far it’s been kind of uneventful because the houseguests just sleep and eat all day!

What’s playing in your iPod right now?

I’m listening to an album called Dolphin Dreams – it features ocean sounds mixed with piano, guitar, and percussions. When I’m writing, I like music I would best describe as ambient or new-age.  It helps me feel more thoughtful and reflective!

Any advice or final thoughts to current or future ARC/SC summer research scholars?

Yes, my main piece of advice is to never give up! The first time I applied to the Pre-Doctoral program in 2011, I did not get in that year. But I spent my time doing more research, presenting at conferences, and working to becoming a better candidate. When I applied in 2012, I did get accepted and it’s been such a great experience ever since! Always remember that perseverance pays off : )!

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