Sunday, October 9, 2011

Our Founder

Dr. Jennifer T. Edwards is the person behind the Texas Social Media Research Institute at Tarleton State University. Her desire to be involved with the campus and its students led to the creation of TSMRI.

Dr. Edwards was inspired to form TSMRI after using social media for almost 15 years in her personal and professional life. Dr. Edwards said she, “decided to explore social media from a research standpoint slightly over three years ago. As I sought to discover Texas-based research focused on social media, I realized that Texas did not have a research center dedicated to social media research. After speaking with several faculty, staff, and students about this opportunity, collectively we decided that Tarleton should function as one of the first Texas-based hubs for social media research and training.”

Dr. Edwards said she is very excited for the upcoming TSMRI conference. “Some of the highlights for the upcoming conference are the social media training and social media research sessions,” said Dr. Edwards.  “This year, we have been pleased to receive workshop proposals and research papers from across the nation that are focused on social media. In addition, we have a graduate student and undergraduate student research track that highlights the social media research that we are exploring at Tarleton.”

According to Dr. Edwards the TSMRI committee consists of, “15 amazing faculty, staff, and students from a variety of academic fields on campus who are working together to plan the conference and to help TSMRI reach its mission and goals. There are three subgroups: conference planning, social media, and training and development. Each of these subgroups has three TSMRI interns and one to three faculty mentors. Each of these subgroups are excited about social media and are excited about helping others learn how to use social media”

Dr. Edwards said she has big plans for TSMRI’s future. “I am excited about the future of TSMRI,” said
Dr. Edwards, “because we look forward to offering training and development workshops for K-12 school districts and small businesses, conducting research on social media issues, and attracting state and national grants. In addition, we plan to add two fellows to the TSMRI team next spring to help the organization expand its research agenda.”

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