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Larson wins the 2021 Top Quantitative Thesis Award

Jade Larson and her award
Jade Larson won the 2021 Top Quantitative Thesis Award for the National Communication Association Master’s Education Section.

When commuting between Sioux Falls and Brookings, Jade Larson ’19/M.S. ’21 does her best to not look at her phone. However, there was one day she was glad she did.
 
She saw a subject line of “Congratulations about your thesis award” appear on her phone. She quickly thought that line could only mean one thing—she won the 2021 Top Quantitative Thesis Award for the National Communication Association Master’s Education Section. Her thesis was titled “Veracious Verdicts: An Expansion of Cognitive-Experiential Self-Theory in Jury Decision-Making Using Attribution Theory.” She received the award in Seattle at the National Communication Association’s annual convention, which was held in late November.
 
“I was shocked. I never win anything,” said Larson, a Chester native now working as an instructor in SDSU’s School of Communication and Journalism.
 
After receiving her undergraduate degree, Larson was trying to determine whether to go to law school or pursue a master’s degree. She chose to stay at State and pursue the master’s degree, which caused her to write the thesis.
 
However, it took a push from SDSU assistant professor Katy Coduto to combine Larson’s interest in law and communication as a topic.
 
“A lot of what I recommended to Jade was to pick a topic that she was excited and passionate about,” Coduto said. “My feeling was I'd rather you do something that you're excited about. It doesn’t have to be the be all, end all but you should like it; because if you’re interested in it, it makes it easier to do.”
 
That enthusiasm helped Larson through the writing process.
 
“It became a lot easier as I started to really get into the groove of academic writing and understanding how to actually write a thesis because it's not something that you do every day … or want to,” Larson said.
 
However, Larson is looking to work further on her thesis and would like to have that work ready to submit to a national journal following the spring 2022 semester.
 
“I want to take the same idea of looking at identification of the victim and if their character changes, does the verdict? I want to include the aspect of race and see if that creates any differences within the verdict or even the liability of the defendant,” Larson said. “I think I set myself up well to be able to continue research based on what I had with my thesis.
 
“I'm trying to decide if the jury will change who they believe is at fault based on the race of the victim, using this concept of invincibility,” she continued. “The victims are going to essentially die in a car accident. I'm trying to decide if the jury thinks that it was this person's fault based on who they are, using this concept of invincibility. It was similar to what I used in my thesis and whether race changes the verdict and if the jury decides who’s at fault.”