Junior marketing major and University Honors student Amanda Meegan placed second in Humanities at the National Collegiate Research Conference held at Harvard University. She presented her research on Tall Poppy Syndrome, a societal phenomenon in Australia in which high achievers are hesitant to publicly celebrate their success or achievements, in fear of coming across as braggadocios or narcissistic.
“It was an incredible weekend and I learned more than I ever expected to from experts across various disciplines,” said Amanda. “To be able to share the experiences that my research highlighted and meet people who genuinely connected to my project findings was amazing.”
Amanda was flattered (and a bit surprised) by the number of people who thanked her for doing this research, opening a dialogue on something that affects the lives of many, and promoting a mutual understanding between the two countries.
Conference participants from America and Canada could not believe another English speaking country quite similar on paper could be so different culturally.
“What many people don’t realize is that the United States is Australia’s largest foreign direct investor, with about $1 trillion annually spent between the two countries,” said Amanda. “I truly believe that there is incredible importance for these cultural insights, and their application can make our dynamic investment market even stronger.”
Amanda’s research journey began back in 2018 when she was awarded International Research Fellowships from the University Honors Program. In 2018, she spent three weeks in Australia conducting quantitative research through a series of interviews for a 35-minute documentary on Tall Poppy Syndrome, which provided firsthand accounts of how such a mindset affects everyday decisions.
In 2019, she received the fellowship again and returned to Australia for a semester-long study abroad experience where she continued her research. This time, she conducted a quantitative study where she surveyed university students about the ways Australian and American cultures measure success through social media, personal branding and friendship.
“I’ve always loved research so this was a dream come true,” said Amanda, whose work on the project helped her secure a research internship at Walt Disney Television. “This would never have been possible without the amazing generosity of LMU, the Honors Program and my mentor Judy Battaglia, clinical associate professor of communications studies. I am so grateful that they believed in my research, and allowed me to take it to this scale.”
“To be able to represent CBA in this capacity and place at the conference was incredibly special,” added Amanda. “I tried my best to channel the “creative confidence” that is incorporated in Dean Smith’s mission for the college, and hope to see more business students pursue research that does the same!”