Dhillon School of Business student Zandria-Lynn Bates spent her summer diving into the fascinating world of meat alternatives as the principle researcher for Personality and meat alternatives: The relationships between the HEXACO personality traits and likelihood to engage with meat alternatives. Working closely with Dr. Rhiannon Mesler and peer Jennifer Cherinshenko, Zandria-Lynn examines how people's personality traits affect their willingness to consume meat alternatives. With meat alternatives gaining popularity in Canada and the USA lately, this study answers questions surrounding ethical food consumption.
What attracted you to this research?
I worked with Dr. Rhiannon Mesler last summer in her lab as a research assistant, where I collaborated on and co-authored an article which has since been published in the journal of Food Quality and Preference. Accordingly, I was more sold on the idea of being involved in her work and continuing any research with a prosocial focus than this project in particular. That being said, I was intrigued by this research as I have previous work on the aforementioned research, which focuses on dietary behaviours from a prosocial lens, and this project is along a similar vein. As I am pursuing a socially responsible concentration in my degree and would like to work in a non-profit-focused career, I was attracted to the study largely due to the focus on ethical food consumption. Moreover, I have a personal fascination with personality inventories and traits.
Has this experience been valuable to your education and/or degree?
This experience has been and will continue to be incredibly valuable to my education. Not only do I get hands-on experience in a field very few students get to experience, but I also have been given the opportunity to take the lead role on a research project. This is an opportunity not usually available to undergraduate students. Further, I have had the chance to meet countless incredible people who work with Dr. Rhiannon Mesler and in the research lab from around the world. Finally, as I approach the fourth year of my undergrad degree, I am in the process of deciding what my next steps look like. I am currently considering pursuing a master’s degree and/or PhD, and being able to work in this lab helps tremendously in this area.
What do you enjoy most about conducting research at ULethbridge?
The aspect of conducting research at ULethbridge I enjoy most is the challenge. As an undergraduate research assistant in a consumer behaviour lab, each task requires learning, adapting, asking questions and challenging yourself. I never in a million years would have expected that I could co-author an article published in a journal, or fly to Florida to present the team's research at a marketing conference at age 20, but the challenging and encouraging environment in Dr. Mesler's lab has allowed me to push myself to accomplish exactly that.
What skills and/or experiences will you be taking from your research project into the future?
The skills I have developed or acquired from my time thus far in the lab include written communication, proficiency in software such as SPSS and Mendeley, virtual intra-team collaboration, time management in a remote work environment, public speaking and assertiveness, to list a few. The experience of attending the Society for Marketing Advances conference to present the research I assisted with last summer is a highlight of my degree and potentially my career, which I hope to do again following this summer.
Zandria-Lynn hopes to publish this incredible research in a journal as well as submit to an international marketing conference this year and encourages others to dive into the field of research.
If you are actively interested in pursuing research and/or have an idea for a project you would like to get off the ground, reach out. The team I have had the pleasure to work with is always excited to hear new ideas and help students launch their endeavours. So reach out, give it your best shot, and ask questions. You never know where you might end up if you do not give it a good try.
Please join us in celebrating Zandria-Lynn's achievements and wishing her the best in her future endeavours. We cannot wait to see what amazing things she will accomplish!
Apply for an Undergraduate Student Research Award
Deadline: Jan 31, 2023 at 4 p.m.