June 7, 2022

Recent Shawnee State University graduate, Aubrey Boland (Hometown: Portsmouth, Ohio), utilized her English & Humanities major at this year's Celebration of Scholarship (COS) conference, emphasizing her concentration in Communications and Journalism. Focusing her research on the effects of photo editing and unrealistic beauty standards, her work was recognized with the conference’s Excellence in Humanities Award.  

picture of student with award

“I looked at how social media users respond to social media posts that criticize Photoshop and photo editing.” she said. 

Boland was able to express a passion of hers when presenting her research. Receiving an award at the conference was a surprise she did not expect, but was grateful for. 

“I was happy just to be presenting and sharing my research, but it was especially rewarding to have won the award,” she said. “It shows me that others see the value in research that involves the harmful effects of Photoshop.” 

The Excellence in Humanities Award was developed to showcase the research-based scholarship of students in the Humanities fields at SSU. The award recognizes outstanding research and writing projects in the arts, humanities, and social sciences that are investigative, project-based, and scholarly. 

“I spent a lot of time on this research both inside and outside of school, and like I said, this research is something I really care about,” she said. “So having it recognized and being able to share it with others means the world to me.” 

Challenging herself throughout her COS experience, Boland knew she had valuable information that needed to be communicated. Submitting her abstract to the conference committee, her presentation was selected to be held in-person during the Humanities session.  

“I could have turned down the opportunity to present, but I wanted to challenge myself,” she said. “I also knew I had an important message to share.” 

Working closely with her faculty mentor, Dr. Marc Scott, Boland was thankful to have someone who saw the importance of her topic.  

“He really helped me along the way,” she said. “I appreciate that he saw the value in my research."

Throughout the conference, Boland had the opportunity to present along with several of her classmates and learn about their individual research projects. She was grateful for the support they found in each other and the chance to see each other’s progress along the way. 

“It was really great to have shared that experience with them and to see all of our hard work pay off,” she said. 

To learn more about Shawnee State University’s annual Celebration of Scholarship Conference, visit