Whether it’s solving the world’s biggest problems or investigating the potential of novel discoveries, researchers at UCF are on the edge scientific breakthroughs that aim to make an impact. Through the Research in 60 Seconds series, student and faculty researchers condense their complex studies into bite-sized summaries so you can know how and why Knights plan to improve our world.

Name: Kenicia Wright

Position: Assistant professor in the College of SciencesSchool of Politics, Security, and International Affairs

Why are you interested in this research?
As a first-generation college student, I find it important to develop research that centers on current events, or timely topics, and that has real-world/practical importance.

Are you a faculty member or student conducting research at UCF? We want to hear from you! Tell us about your research at bit.ly/ucf-research-60-form.

Who inspires you to conduct your research?
My research centers on examining the effects of multiple social identities on the policy preferences, policy implementation and policy outcomes. All of these factors are important for understanding and addressing concerning issues related to social inequality in the United States. I am motivated to conduct research in order to improve our understanding of the life experiences of Americans and the ways to promote a more equitable society.

How does UCF empower you to do your research?
I am empowered to do research through the financial support that I receive at UCF and the ideas that are derived from my interactions, discussions and through teaching so many of the intellectually curious, creative UCF Knights.

What major grants and honors have you earned to support your research?
I am the principal investigator of a grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation (with co-PI, Jalal Talabani Chair of Kurdish Political Studies Güneş Tezcür) that will allow us to study the group consciousness, policy preferences and politically related behavior of Latinx/Hispanic Americans; This is the first time a faculty member in the School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs has been awarded an NSF grant.

I have also recently received smaller grants and awards for my research, including being awarded School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs/College of Sciences research support grants, the Best Paper on Race and Intersectionality Award from the American Political Science Association Conference (Summer 2020), and a second-place prize at the New Perspectives and New Questions in Legislative Studies Conference (April 2021).

Why is this research important?
Research is important for providing insight on important and pressing issues. I examine questions related to social inequality and the effects of overlapping, social identities — understand the relationship between these factors is important for a comprehensive understanding of the factors that shape some of the challenges Americans face, as well as avenues for potentially mitigating them. This is important as American continues to grow and diversify.

How to Get Involved with Research at UCF

  • F-LEARN @ UCF: A living-learning community for STEM students entering UCF from high school that provides hands-on early research opportunity for academic success.
  • Getting Started Workshops: The Office of Research hosts workshops that inform students about how to get started in research and find a faculty member to work with and the first steps on getting started in research.
  • Honors Undergraduate Thesis: Over the course of two to four semesters, students work closely with a faculty committee to research, write, defend, and publish an original thesis that serves as an honors capstone product of their undergraduate career.
  • Introduction to Research and Creative Scholarship Opportunities (INTRO) Mentoring Program: A semester-long immersive, classroom experience offered in fall and spring semesters that provides students ways to get connected to research opportunities. This program is available in person or online.
  • Office of Undergraduate Research: OUR is dedicated to cultivating and supporting world-class research at UCF. Students can connect with the office for any questions they may have about research or to find opportunities.
  • Peer Mentoring: This program connects students with experienced undergraduate researchers who will provide guidance on how to get started and get support through research experiences.
  • Research Positions Database: This online resource allows students to discover research opportunities with UCF researchers across various disciplines. Please note faculty contact information is password protected, but students can gain access by attending a peer mentoring session, completing the Research Roadmaps webcourse, and through other engagement opportunities.
  • Research Roadmaps Webcourse: The is an online, non-credit, self-paced course that introduces students to research opportunities at UCF. It provides the same information as peer mentoring sessions or a workshop, but at your own pace. Completion of this course also provides you access to the Research Positions Database.
  • SONA: This is a research participation system that allows students who are looking to become participants in studies, usually in exchange for course credit, to find opportunities. The College of Health Professions and Sciences, College of Business and Department of Psychology are among some of the units at UCF that list opportunities here.
  • Summer Research Academy: A three-day event in July that’s designed to support UCF undergraduate students across all majors who are interested in participating in research and creative scholarship. This is an ideal opportunity for students who want to begin research in the fall.
  • T-LEARN @ UCF: A living-learning community for first-year, transfer students at UCF who have already earned an Associate in Arts degree. T-LEARN provides a select group of students interested in STEM hands-on learning experiences by helping them engage in research.

Are you a faculty member or student conducting research at UCF? We want to hear from you! Tell us about your research at bit.ly/ucf-research-60-form.