Undergraduate Research Takes Junior Mikayla Jones to the Mountaintop
For any undergraduate, presenting at an international conference is extraordinary. When that conference takes you to the Swiss Alps for a presentation that combines both your love of sport and your love of marketing, that’s epic. When Assistant Professor Eddie Walker asked junior Mikayla Jones to work on research looking at donor involvement in corporate responsibility within college athletics, she jumped at the chance.
She helped Walker examine both global and local corporate responsibility initiatives. It involved helping create a survey, working on a literature review, and helping edit drafts. When it was time to apply to go to the national conference, Walker and Jones were still in the middle of their analysis.
However, when the time came to apply for the conference of the European Association for Sport Management (EASM), the two had their analysis ready and the results proved intriguing.
Their study “Corporate Social Responsibility, Trust, And Commitment At The Intercollegiate Athletic Level: Does Involvement Make A Difference?” was designed to examine the perceptions of potential donors located in the Midwestern United States and the impact of those perceptions on intended giving.
“It was interesting to look at the differences in perception and giving between men and women in particular,” Jones says. “There was clearly a statistical difference and the kinds of results we saw would have an effect on how marketers make decisions. It is what made the research both valuable and exciting.”
So exciting, in fact, that the two found themselves preparing for their trip to Bern, Switzerland, in early September. The trip included camping and spending a day in the Alps. “It was gorgeous,” Jones recalls. “We could see five different waterfalls from our campground; it was incredible.”
It isn’t any wonder Jones is thinking graduate school is in her future. She already has research experience and she says there is great potential for future research.
With her semester going strong, the Huxley, Iowa, native is busy preparing for her softball season, serving as president of the Sport and Recreation Management Club, tutoring, and more. Time is a precious commodity for Jones and she hasn’t much of it to waste.
Her inspiration comes from her hard working dad who spent hours encouraging her and practicing with her as a young softball player. “He is the reason I even play softball,” Jones says.
Her other love is marketing which led her to add a marketing major to her major in sport and recreation management. She will graduate with a minor in coaching as well. She may find herself inspiring young players much like her dad inspired her.
Those dreams belong to the future, however. Right now, Jones is enjoying her classes, her softball team, and taking advantage of the opportunities that surround her every single day.
Photo: At bottom, right, Mikayla Jones at Schilthorn Mountain and bottom, left, Mikayla Jones with Eddie Walker (right) at the conference with the research poster.