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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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LGBTQ research project wins Bush School competition

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Photo by Courtesy

The winning nonprofit presentation group of first year graduate students consists of Tyler Miller, Hailey Duncan, Jasmine Walia, Mariam Chikhaladze, and Shu Jiang.

On Dec. 19, a group of five first-year graduate students from the Bush School won the second annual non profit poster presentation contest for their research into the relationship between between social acceptance and nonprofit resources for the LGBTQ community.
The competition allowed students to present the findings of a research project of their choice to peers and professors. Presentations included research nonprofits such as veterans’ affairs and general hospitals. The winning presentation focused on the relationship between social and political ideologies and the LGBTQ nonprofit sector.
The poster presentation began two years ago as a way for first year students to learn how to showcase and talk about their research with classmates and instructors. The research project was implemented in part to help students prepare for research-intensive projects, such as the mandatory capstone project for second year students.
The winning group consisted of first year graduate students Tyler Millar, Hailey Duncan, Jasmine Walia, Mariam Chikhaladze and Shu Jiang. According to Duncan, the idea to research LGBTQ non-profits emerged from a mutual passion amongst the teammates for the subject.
“Our research was geared towards answering the question, ‘How is the size of the LGBTQ nonprofit sector related to social acceptance of the LGBTQ community,’” Duncan said. “Given the major changes that have taken place in the LGBTQ community in recent years, we thought that examining how the nonprofit subsector has changed would make for fascinating research.”
According to Walia, the in-depth research project was both a rewarding and frightening experience for the group.
“The experience of presenting was nerve wracking because this was our first major presentation as grad students,” Walia said. “Once we began presenting our research though the nerves went away when we began seeing the positive reactions.”
The research for this project was particularly difficult as it involved defining potentially subjective parameters, such as social acceptance, Walia said.
“To define social acceptance we used two indicators including public policy relating to same-sex marriage and political affiliation of the states,” Walia said. “In order to study the size of the LGBTQ nonprofit sector we looked at the number of nonprofits, as well as their revenues from 2000 to 2016. Also, we analyzed state laws and court rulings relating to same-sex marriage.”
The research was based in large part on information from the National Center for Charitable Statistics, as well as by analyzing state laws and political party affiliations, Walia said.
According to Walia, the most challenging aspect of the project was finding the best way to present their data in a manner that best suited the viewers. Re-organizing the data repeatedly was a challenge for the team, but Walia said participating in the poster presentation was a worthwhile experience for them all.
“We faced setbacks relating to analyzing and displaying the data in a way that would be most appropriate for our audiences,” Walia said. “Creating and recreating numerous figures that we planned to use in our report and presentation were time consuming tasks, but these were certainly worth the extra effort.”
The team’s attitude towards the experience reflects the value in having the opportunity to present research at such an early stage of the graduate school process, according to Walia, who said it was especially gratifying to be recognized for all the work she and her team put in.
“One of the most rewarding moments working on the project was presenting alongside our peers,” Walia said. “We received great feedback from other students and professors who teach nonprofit courses. It was rewarding to know that all of the time and energy we put toward completing the research project was being recognized by people whose opinions matter to us.”

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