Business Summer Scholars delve into real-life research

From social media rules to modern slavery to the future of Asia-Pacific trade to the harshness of justice systems, this year’s Summer Research Scholars from the Business School are delving deep into live issues and expanding their career horizons.

Cameron Baker, student
Cameron Baker

For 2020-21, the University of Auckland awarded 401 Summer Research Scholarships to high-achieving undergraduates. Each scholar received a $6,000 tax-free stipend to conduct a research project under supervision for 10 weeks over the summer months.

Meet some of our Summer Scholars from the Business School.

Cameron Baker (Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Marketing, Communications and Media)

Cameron completed a Summer Research Scholarship on social media platforms’ rules and their application with Associate Professor Gehan Gunasekara and Dr Alan Toy.

Why I applied

“When I saw ‘Social media as the new states: A comparative analysis of social media’ as one of the scholarship projects, I thought ‘this is exactly what I want to do’! My area of research was investigating the spread of misinformation, hate speech and ‘digital mischief’ on social media, with specific reference to the 2020 United States elections, COVID-19 and the Christchurch mosque attack.

“I have experience in the marketing and creative side of social media, but the legal and critical research side was completely new to me. I applied for this scholarship to have a more well-rounded skill set in my area of expertise, and I didn’t let my lack of legal experience stop me.”

Working with supervisors

“Alongside the legal and academic research around misinformation, my day-to-day activities involved collecting a wide range of data from social media sites – from Facebook's privacy policy to Donald Trump's Tweets.

I’ve had amazing conversations with Gehan and Alan about our interests and we got to know each other on a personal level. I loved hearing Gehan’s stories about his business trips to the Facebook and Microsoft headquarters in the US. Gehan allowed me to network with some of his peers in the technology industry, which has been invaluable to me.”

This Summer Research Scholarship has been exciting and refreshing because everything I was researching was for ‘real-life’ ... to create real change.

Cameron Baker

What I learned

“I learned about how you can use everyone’s unique expertise in a team project to create amazing results. Gehan and Alan’s expertise is in law, and mine is social media and technology. Together, we were able to learn from each other and bounce ideas off each other. My supervisors have taught me so much about media and privacy law, but it was rewarding to find out that they have also learnt things from me about emerging technologies and social media.

“This Summer Research Scholarship has been exciting and refreshing because everything I was researching was for ‘real-life.’ When analysing the loopholes and gaps in international media law and privacy policies that allow digital mischief, I was not doing it for the sake of trying to get a good grade, but to create real change. I took a lot of pride in the work I produced because it had real substantial value.”

On career

“The Summer Scholarship has massively broadened my possibilities and options for my career, whether that be creative marketing, technology or social media privacy. Going into my final year of studies, I now feel industry ready. Research is a skill that is relevant to almost any career.”

Jamie Martini-Tibbs (Bachelor of Commerce - Honours)

Jamie Martini-Tibbs
Jamie Martini-Tibbs

Jamie completed a Summer Research Scholarship on inequality social capital and the harshness of justice systems with Professor Ananish Chaudhuri.

Why I applied

“I intend to pursue economics research as a career and so I applied for a Summer Scholarship to get a foot in the door, obtain some experience and see if I would actually enjoy it. I chose this topic in particular because I’ve always been interested in the experimental side of economics, and this project was about verifying experimental research with macroeconomic observations.”

Working with supervisors

“I enjoyed working with my supervisor, Professor Ananish Chaudhuri, very much. Ananish taught my favourite course to date (ECON271) and is someone I have learned and continue to learn much from. He strikes a very desirable tone, regards me like a colleague and invites me to posit my own thoughts and make decisions based on my own judgement. Additionally, I enjoyed the flexible work schedule.

My supervisor regards me like a colleague and invites me to posit my own thoughts and make decisions based on my own judgement.

Jamie Martini-Tibbs

“My responsibilities for the project included logistical tasks such as finding appropriate and relevant data, acquiring and structuring it onto various software, producing graphs, regressions and other necessary steps required in carrying out cogent research. They also included offering suggestions for potential directions, improvements and ideas, as well as reading up on relevant literature so that I’m able to contribute in a meaningful way.”

What I learned

“The skills I’ve found to be most significant were the utilisation of software for running regressions and analysing data. The opportunity for additional practice using MATLAB, STATA and other software to obtain, categorize and analyse data and produce various output for interpretation and evaluation is very pertinent and useful for my future plan to pursue postgraduate study and a career in research.”

On career and study

“This research will most definitely give me an edge when I return to my studies this year. My supervisor has also discussed with me the potential for this project to become the basis of my thesis, which would be a truly remarkable opportunity. This has been a strong incentive for me to ensure I work to the best of my abilities.”

Find out more about the Summer Research Scholarships.