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Hawaiian Convention

Hawaii doesn’t always mean fun in the sun. For two JMU students, it was an opportunity to present a paper at the Thirty-Eighth Annual Hawaiian International Conference on System Sciences

In January 2005, Kathleen Capitan (Kati) and Josh Krause received the opportunity of a lifetime. They were invited to present a paper at the Thirty-Eighth Hawaiian International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-38). The students were accompanied by Dr. Young Choi and presented a paper entitled “The Applications of Human Factors Associated with Hearing Impairments: Issues and Recent Technological Developments in Telephony.” Dr. Choi and the students attended the conference through the support of the College of Business and the Marriott Foundation.

Remarkably, this entire process started out as a project for Dr. Choi’s CIS 320 class, where Josh was a student in the fall of 2003. Students were assigned a term paper, and under the tutelage of Dr. Choi, Josh’s paper was published in the International Journal of Services and Standards. This led Josh to begin working on more research projects. Kati, a graduate student in speech pathology, was working as a graduate assistant in the CoB. Kati combined her knowledge of speech pathology with Josh’s knowledge of telecommunications and a research idea was born. After months of hard work and weekly progress meeting with Dr. Choi, the students had their paper accepted at HICSS-38, a premiere conference in the systems science field.

Josh says that the most rewarding part of the experience for him was interacting with the most important and well-known figures in his field. However, this experience also brought some apprehension. Josh was unofficially the youngest person to attend the conference, which he says played a small role in increasing his nervousness. “It was my first conference and my first presentation in front of professionals in my field. The interactions and knowledge that I gained from the participants were invaluable, and I attribute that to their expertise and learned wisdom that can only come from experience.”

For Kati, the best part of the experience was the opportunity to combine such diverse fields of research into one cohesive topic. For her, the collaboration allowed Kati to see the pieces come together to form one idea. “After the conference, I realized that although speech pathology and telecommunications appear unrelated, the two are actually extremely compatible.” Kati called the conference a “baptism by fire.” Though her research had provided a solid knowledge base in telecommunications, the conference topics could be overwhelming at times.

When Dr. Choi talks about Kati and Josh, one can see the immense pride these students have brought him. He says that working with Kati and Josh taught him that there are no differences between graduate and undergraduate students when it comes to the exceptionally high quality of work they produce. Dr. Choi hopes that Kati’s and Josh’s example will inspire other students to perform research work, write papers, and present them at conferences. He also hopes that one day a Master’s course in interdisciplinary telecommunications can be added to the MBA program. In the meantime, both students are currently working on a paper in telemedicine with Dr. Choi, and have had another paper accepted at the Business and Health Administration Association Conference in Chicago