How Ambassador Celine Joined Stacy Smith's Industry-Changing Research

One of the most impactful courses I’ve taken during my career as an undergraduate student here at Annenberg has been the Research Practicum with Dr. Stacy Smith who leads the Annenberg Inclusive Initiative. I enrolled in this course during the Spring semester of my sophomore year, and it has opened so many doors for me since then. Dr. Stacy Smith was named the most influential person in Los Angeles by LA Weekly in 2015, and it’s no surprise considering the impact her studies have made on the entertainment industry. Throughout the semester, alongside other undergraduates, I was taught how to analyze the year’s top 100 grossing films for different variables such as gender, race/ethnicity, and sexual orientation. The most rewarding part of this course was to take part in a study that aims to tackle such a relevant problem in today’s society – the lack of inclusion and diversity in media.   

 

This research also examines other portrayals of individuals on screen, such as the representation of those in the computer science industry, adults 60 years and older, as well as those that suffer from mental illness. The mental health study has been my favorite so far because it has allowed me to combine my passions for both diversity and psychology. The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s research never goes unnoticed, and it’s always a great thing to include on your resume that you were credited on such important studies. I always get excited when I hear public figures citing our research, because it shows that our work is helping to make a difference. Vogue recently released a new “73 Questions” video with Gina Rodriguez, who stars as Jane in Jane the Virgin, and she cited a statistic straight from one of our studies. I’ve worked with the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative for the past two years now, and it’s definitely been one of the best experiences I’ve had here at Annenberg. You don’t need to have any prior research experience or be an upperclassman, so the Research Practicum (COMM 490) is the perfect way to get a first taste of research and develop closer relationships with Annenberg faculty. 

Celine Carrasco