Makayla Koshuta is spending her summer vacation researching psychological scarcity and its impact on donation behaviour amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Working with Dr. Rhiannon Mesler in the Mesler Lab, Makayla is looking at how consumers’ experience with scarcity as a result of the pandemic reshapes their allocation of time, money, and resources toward others. This project stems from Makayla’s interest in the impact that COVID-19 has on consumer behaviour.

As a consumer, I can already see how the COVID-19 pandemic is influencing consumption behaviour and I want to learn more about the repercussions and positive outcomes that the pandemic has and will have. Specifically, it intrigues me to consider how pandemic-induced scarcity shapes how much and to whom consumers will give—a question directly addressed in this project.

In her third year of a combined degree in Marketing and English, this is the second summer in a row that Makayla has joined the Mesler Lab for research. With support from a Chinook Summer Research Award, she is responsible for the literature review of the project, presenting the work at academic conferences, and writing a journal article.

It was the positive experience Makayla had while conducting her research last summer that led her to continuing her work this summer. Despite working remotely, Makayla says she feels very connected to her supervisor and the research team.

This experience has been valuable to my education as I am pursuing a combined degree in Marketing and English. My research experience has helped me to become more knowledgeable in the field of marketing research and consumer behaviour through various literature searches, construction of studies, analyzing data, and working towards journal article submissions. Additionally, I believe that my research work experience has enabled me to become a stronger writer which has been helpful as I work toward achieving my degree in English.

Makayla adds that conducting marketing research has made her a more competitive student and working on this project has inspired her to continue with research in her future.

The best advice I would give to students interested in becoming involved with their own research projects is to not be afraid to ask questions. Asking questions is such a key part of learning and improving as an individual. That may be asking questions to your research supervisor, professors, [or] faculty. Whatever the case is, do not be afraid to get involved and help yourself grow within your field of research.