US tab

Shaun Richardson

Undergraduate Major: Sociology

Future Plans: Graduate program in Higher Education

Shaun Richardson

Shaun Richardson was born and raised in the city of Jacksonville, Florida where he graduated from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. His major is Sociology, with a minor in Multicultural Studies. He has been a member of UCF's Orientation Team, a Peer Mentor for UCF's Strategies for Success class, and is currently serving on the Student Conduct Review Board. He is very passionate about education, working with students, and campus involvement. He wishes to get both his Master's and Doctorate degrees in Higher Education, with a focus in Student Development. His research interest is first-generation-college students as well as lower-income students and their academic achievement in the college setting. He is also very interested in studying the factors that influence feelings on homosexuality. Ultimately, he would like to work at a university within student development and enrollment or serve on a public school board in an administrative position.

Title: Viewing All shades of The Rainbow: What Factors are Most Salient in College Students' Perceptions of Homosexuality?

Conducted at the University of Central Florida as part of McNair Scholars Program.

Dr. Amy Donley, Sociology Department, University of Central Florida

Mentor: Dr. Amy Donley, Sociology Department, University of Central Florida

Abstract: There has been a large amount of research done examining the perception of homosexuals and the factors that lead to the perceptions. Generally there seems to be a correlation between higher levels of education and lower levels of homophobia (Grapes 2006). This correlation between higher education and lower levels of homophobic thought should be indicative of college students being somewhat more tolerant of homosexuality than those who have a lower level of education. Of course there are various factors that are salient in college students developing thoughts about homosexuality such as contact with a homosexual individual, parent's feelings toward homosexuality and religious background. Females generally tend to have lower rates of homophobia and higher rates of acceptance than males (Horn, Szalacha, Drill 2008) and religion can be used either to justify feelings of prejudice or to vilify acts of bias against homosexual individuals (Horn et al ., 2008). Research has generally supported the contact hypothesis; even in the case of college students it seems as though students whom have had contact with someone who identifies as homosexual are the least likely to hold homophobic thoughts (Hans, Kersey, Kimberly 2012). The objective of this research is to examine the most salient factors that influence college students' perception of homosexuality. The study is important because it aims to identify prejudicial beliefs and reduce these beliefs in the college student populace.

Title: That's So Ghetto: The Racial/Cultural Implications Associated with the term Ghetto

Conducted at the University of Central Florida as part of McNair Scholars Program.

Mentor: Dr. Amy Donley, Sociology Department, University of Central Florida

Abstract: The term "ghetto" has remained a relatively popular topic for scholarly interest. However, it should be noted that the bulk of research done pertaining to defining the term has been defining the "ghetto" as what it means as a place where people live. Research done on the potential racial/cultural implications associated with the usage on the term ghetto is sparse; particularly its usage as an adjective. The idea of the 'ghetto' is defined by Small as a "…particular type of neighborhood; it exhibits a cohesive set of characteristics, such as deteriorating housing, crime, depopulation, and social isolation, that recur from city to city…" (2008). From this definition of what "ghetto" is commonly described as, it can be inferred that the term's usage to describe a person, set of behaviors or an object, is also just as disparaging. The study seeks to promote a working definition of what 'ghetto' means especially in regards to prejudicial talk. The study utilizes 3 focus groups that are comprised of participants of 5 to 7 college undergraduates to give their perspective on what the term 'ghetto' means to them and its usage to describe people, places or things. The study also is partly quantitative, utilizing online surveys between a sample of 150 undergraduates and their perspective of the term "ghetto". The study proposes that black students often engage in a form of dramaturgy as to not appear 'ghetto' to non-black peers. This study seeks to further the understanding behind the ambiguity of the term 'ghetto' and any racial, socioeconomic or cultural implications that the term may carry in everyday social life.