Bloomfield College Students Invited to Present at National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR)
Two Bloomfield College students were recently invited to present their cross-disciplinary submission in the humanities, arts and sciences at the 2023 National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) entitled “Challenging the Tyranny of Love: Video Game Design and Critical Metaphor Studies.”
Co-applicants Rosswell O. Cabrera ’23, a game programming major, and Ciara E. Donaldson ’24, a game design and game programming dual major with a minor in professional writing, submitted a proposal they developed from a paper co-written for their special topics class - Language and Power: Identity, Politics and Professionalism - taught by Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Writing, Freddie Harris-Ramsby, Ph.D.
The course, generally, explores how language interacts with ideology and social and political discourses, and the meanings that emerge from those relationships. Specifically, the students were intrigued by the course’s module on conceptual metaphor theory. Their proposal, then, focused on metaphors that establish familiar understandings of love. Their presentation was further enhanced by a prototype of the game they co-created.
“Our student researchers used a critical discourse tool to examine how the way people use language shapes how they see the world,” said Harris-Ramsby. “We are so proud of their hard work and creativity, and the applause and recognition they each received for their impressive submission and presentation.”
Cabrera said, “We applied philosopher Mark Johnson’s, and cognitive linguist, George Lakoff’s theory on conceptual metaphors to design a video game that showcases how powerful metaphors can be, and we are continuing to update the paper and the game. We started with a collection of ideas and art and then put hours in every week to get it ready for the presentation at NCUR.”
“As we researched, we realized the love metaphors were so visual and would make a good game, and our professors agreed,” said Donaldson. “Once we were invited to the conference, we spent three to four exhaustive weekends getting the prototype ready. We used video GIFs for the presentation to show segments that described how the metaphors interacted with the player. We kept learning along the way, and were making changes and improvements to the game right up until the night before.”
After their presentation, Cabrera and Donaldson were approached by Emory University professor, Sarah Higinbotham, who invited them to present their game idea to first-year students at Oxford College of Emory University, Georgia, the following week.
In communicating with the Bloomfield students about their research submission, the CUR Executive Council wrote, “Submissions underwent a rigorous review by experts in your discipline, so you should be very proud of this accomplishment! We are pleased to offer you the opportunity to present your work to your peers, faculty and staff from across the nation.”
The 2023 NCUR, held at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, April 13-15, attracted more than 3,600 students, faculty and administrators from across the country, from across all disciplines and from all higher education institution types. The 2023 conference theme, Research at the Confluence, represented a “bringing together” of the humanities, artistic endeavors and the sciences.
The NCUR, recognized as the largest symposium of its kind in the world, promotes undergraduate research, scholarship and creative activity through an annual conference for undergraduate students.
Photo: Rosswell O. Cabrera ’23, a game programming major, and Ciara E. Donaldson ’24, a game design and game programming dual major with a minor in professional writing, recently presented their cross-disciplinary submission in the humanities, arts and sciences at the 2023 National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) entitled “Challenging the Tyranny of Love: Video Game Design and Critical Metaphor Studies.”