Wynn's Research | URP

My Nguyen, Emma Morrison, and Bridget Serpe

Research Advisor(s): Professor Jon Wynn and Ember Kane Lee (graduate student)

Examine the social issues that arise from students ‘clowning around’ and teasing each other in three familiar spheres of collegiate life: greek life, dorms, and athletics. While a seemingly light research topic, the ‘Pranking Research Project’ (as the undergraduate research assistants call it) envisions this inquiry as a way to understand more consequential issues of hazing, harassment, and bullying on college campuses. We feel it is necessary to understand this lower stratum of interactions: those that do not meet the definitions of more serious issues on campuses and organizations at all social strata. Any thinking about pranks raises quite obvious but elusive paradoxes: how does trickery create group cohesion? How does an interaction that rides a razor’s edge of malice also engender bonding? How does race, gender, and other social categories factor into these interactions? Furthermore: Are pranks just milder forms of harassment, hazing, and bullying, or are they qualitatively different? Undergraduate student researchers have participated with every facet of research so far, including the review of the existing literature, the submission of protocol to the Institutional Review Board, meeting with the campus Title IX Coordinator, designing the research questionnaire, and conducting interviews across campus.

Emma Morrison (pictured on left)
Class Year: 2020
Major(s): Public Health
Hometown: Hanover, MA

What are your plans after graduation?
After college I hope to spend a year working for the National Health Corps, an AmeriCorps program directed towards providing heath and wellness programs to undeserved communities.


Bridget Serpe (pictured in center)
Class Year: 2018
Major(s): Sociology and Psychology with Criminology and Criminal Justice System Certificate
Hometown: Dix Hills, NY
Awards: Dean's List

What are your plans after graduation?
I plan to take a year off after college while applying to law schools for the following year. I plan on getting some work experience during this time off.


My Nguyen (pictured on right)
Class Year: 2020
Major(s): Sociology and Public Health
Hometown: Roxbury, MA

What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation I plan on going to grad school either in Boston or Amherst!