ComArtSci Focuses on Flint at 2016 UURAF

The annual University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF) at MSU each Spring showcases undergraduate research, scholarship and creative activity either in the form of a poster or oral presentation.

In 2016, three oral presentations focused on the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. One of those three presentations--"Faces of Flint"--won the award in the oral presentation category, and was presented by journalism seniors Maria Braganini and Kelley Waterfall with Geri Zeldes as their mentor. After national and local news organizations have covered infrastructure concerns and political missteps, the documentary series focuses on ‘what’s next?’ for Flint residents. "Faces of Flint" premiered on the WKAR the week of April 11, 2016.

"Knowing our final product will impact people and winning an award means a lot to us," Waterfall said. "It’s a really powerful series and changed the way I look at Flint and the crisis."

Zeldes said she was happy students were recognized, and added that it was a great and humbling experience for all of them.

"It takes a lot of bravery to go in, especially when you are elbow to elbow with reporters who have done this for 20 years," Zeldes said. "I chose them because I did see a glimmer in them and it shows in their radio stories."

The number of presentations and research about Flint at the annual awards wasn't surprising given the magnitude and implications of the water crisis. The other two presentations were "From Flint"--a documentary that tells the story of the Flint Water Crisis--and "Hubert: His Story"--a documentary displaying how Flint youth may be set up for failure, and how one individual helps these young adults down the right path.

"It just goes to show that research can come in all shapes and forms," Waterfall said. "Research in our college can be different and we tend to show it in different ways."

In total, there were more than 50 presentations by ComArtSci students across two categories at UURAF: communication arts and sciences and digital media.

A full list of the award winners can be found here: