Undergraduate Research and Creativity Alumni Profiles 

Bryan Wight, B.S. ’12

M.S. Student, University of Connecticut
Major(s): Psychology

What research or work have you done since graduating from Buffalo State?

Since graduating, I have put my psychology degree to work for various media companies working in advertising sales and campaign planning. This is actually a highly correlated position to my educational framework. I am currently working full-time and pursuing my master's in survey research from the University of Connecticut.

Can you translate your work for the general public?

My work in graduate school is built upon social/political science framework. I study the methodology behind survey research. One of my favorite classes was attitude formation, in which we learned how the mass public's opinion is malleable and has varied over time (in a political context).

I hope to combine the knowledge from this degree program with my work history and transition into a career in market research. Market research would be a great way to leverage my industry knowledge and utilize my graduate coursework.

Why did you decide to get involved in undergraduate research?

Dr. Foraker knew that I wanted to attend graduate school and she suggested getting involved early in research, as it would only help my chances. She also knew that I was very curious about the eye tracker and wanted to learn as much as I could.

How did your undergraduate research experience influence your career path?

Undergraduate research has always made me partial to research. It has always been something that I have wanted to "get back to" and pursue a career in. I am now utilizing the skills I learned and expanding on them in graduate school and, upon graduation, I will be working in.

My only regret is that I did not get involved sooner. Take advantage of the research opportunity if you have the means to do so!

Describe the research you did and if you presented it at any professional conference, juried art exhibit, or other off-campus location.

For my Summer Research Fellowship, we built upon the eye tracking work we did earlier in independent study and in Dr. Foraker's Cognition and Communication Lab. We took it one step further and conducted a speed-accuracy trade-off experiment in which we measured how respondent's comprehension of text unfolded, in real-time.

Essentially, we wanted to know how people understood pronouns and to do so we had them give feedback for the entire time they read the text. As their comprehension of the pronoun unfolded, their comprehension was graphed to see where and when it happened.

This is important work because it explores the cognitive processes that occur in less than a split-second after reading, but before comprehension. We are able to hypothesize about how we use contextual information and clues to "solve" the pronoun.

Undergraduate Research Mentor: Dr. Stephani Foraker