Stephanie Talley '14
-story by Lena Wallace '14
Randolph-Macon College student Stephanie Talley ’14 is connecting
her interest in rock music with her Schapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) project. Randolph-Macon College’s SURF program
offers students the unique opportunity to conduct 10 weeks of full-time, original
research during the summer months, under the guidance of a faculty mentor.
A psychology major and
English minor from Bordentown, New Jersey, Talley will attend multiple concerts,
including Vans Warped Tour 2013 and Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival 2013,
to explore the behaviors of fans at rock and metal concerts.
“I will survey people who participate in mosh pits,” she says. Moshing is a style
of dance in which participants push or slam into each other. “I hope to show that
mosh conduct is a result of gender and community behavior.”
Psychology Professor Alva Hughes '81 is nothing short of a veteran SURF mentor.
“I have been part of the SURF program since it began in 1995,” she says. Hughes
assists Talley with research and methodology. “I am helping Stephanie develop a
skillset involving critical thinking, speaking, writing and always being excited
for research," she says.
Hughes and Talley meet daily to discuss journal articles and research.
“We are trying to stick to proven methods of research such as interviews, behavioral
observation and qualitative and quantitative surveys since there isn’t a lot of
previously existing literature on music and moshing,” says Talley. She advises students
interested in SURF to have a clear research idea. “Start early and be open for change,”
Talley is also a goalie for R-MC’s
field hockey team.
“I really enjoy competing, and I also love spending time with my teammates,” she
says. “Head Coach Crystal Carper, and Goalie Coach Karen Mann, are great role models.
Coach Carper pushes me on the field, but at the same time, I can go into her office
and talk to her about field hockey or school or my post-R-MC plans. Coach Mann pushes
me to work hard and do my best—on and off the field.”
After college, Talley plans to attend graduate school and earn a master’s degree
in social work.
“Right now I’m looking at graduate programs at VCU and Rutgers, the State University
of New Jersey.” she says. “I’d like to be a social worker and eventually work in
The SURF program was established in 1995 through a generous gift made by Ben '64
and Peggy Schapiro. The Schapiros continue to support this program, which promotes
scholarly undergraduate research by R-MC students in all disciplines.