BEACoN Mentorship & Research for Underrepresented Students

BEACoN is a program funded by the Office of University Diversity & Inclusivity that is designed to provide research and mentorship opportunities for underrepresented students at Cal Poly. 


Three Communication Studies faculty members, Dr. Aubrie Adams, Dr. Anuraj Dhillon, and Dr. Megan Lambertz-Berndt will be mentoring students on research projects in this year’s BEACoN cohort. 

Dr. Adams’ research project is titled: Exploring Player Identity in Virtual Environments. Traditional research on game studies suggests that players typically think of the characters they control not as a component of their own personal identity, but as a distinct being separate from themselves. However, virtual reality tools immerse the player more deeply into the environment to give players a genuine sense of being fully present in the digital world. The goal of this research is to explore how a player’s personal identity is impacted when interacting in a virtual environment.

Dr. Dhillon’s research project is titled: Does Accommodative Words Make a Difference in Romantic Partners’ Conversation Satisfaction About a Relational Stressor? This research project aims to examine the verbal messages of romantic partners during conversation about a relational stressor. Specifically, this project focuses on the use of accommodative and nonaccommodative messages in heterosexual romantic partners' conversations about a stressor. The study wants to identify messages that are perceived positively and negatively by the relational partners during a stressful conversation and its association with conversation satisfaction and other relational outcomes.

Dr. Lambertz-Berndt’s research project is titled: Millennial Employee Perceptions of Race-Based Affinity groups Merit in the Workplace. Affinity groups include individuals with a similar social identity, gathering together to discuss issues concerning the shared identity characteristic. Since affinity groups include a voluntary space for employees to informally discuss topics concerning a shared racial and/or nonracial identity characteristic, they serve as a useful context to examine whether such spaces will lead to more conversations concerning diversity efforts as well as whether incoming millennials will utilize this organizational resource.

Students interested in applying (by midnight November 12) can learn more about the program and research opportunities from the following links: 

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