June 27, 2012

Student wins Couch Internet Research Award

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Ryan Ceresola, who is pursuing a master's degree in sociology at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, is the Carl J. Couch Internet Research Award recipient for 2012.

The annual Couch Award, sponsored by the Carl Couch Center for Social and Internet Research, is open to graduate and undergraduate students of all disciplines. The award recognizes student-authored papers.

Ceresola's paper, "I Don't Play Unless You Do: A Qualitative Analysis of Stigma Management and Techniques of Neutralization in the World of Warcraft," examines the world of online games and those who play them.

Ceresola, who is from Oak Harbor, Wash., expects to earn his master's degree next year. His research interests include media and culture, deviance, criminology, and qualitative and quantitative methods. His bachelor's degree, with a major in sociology, is from Pacific Lutheran University in Washington.

At SIU Carbondale, Ceresola has conducted field research on farming and community activism in Cobden and Cairo. He earned a Graduate Dean Fellowship in fall 2011.

The Couch Award includes a cash award and the opportunity for the winner to present research at an international conference. This year's award presentation is during the Association of Internet Researchers in Manchester, United Kingdom, in mid-October.

SIU Carbondale has a strong record with the Couch Award. The 2011 winner, Kristi Brownfield, is a doctoral student in sociology at the University.  Richie Neil Hao, a speech communications student at SIU Carbondale, won the award in 2008.

The Carl Couch Center for Social and Internet Research is a not-for-profit organization established to promote the scholarship of the late Carl J. Couch and his academic associates. Couch is recognized as the founder of The New Iowa School in sociological and communication inquiry, and was a pioneer in the qualitative research of information technologies.