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Caroline Perry '18 presents thesis, returns to competitive international competition

The Elon senior presented her thesis and participated in the X-Culture Competition at the Academy of International Business Southeast conference.

Elon University senior Caroline Perry presented her Honors thesis and competed in the X-Culture Competition during the 2017 Academy of International Business Southeast (AIB-SE) Annual Conference.

Caroline Perry '18 and Assistant Professor Carri Tolmie presented at the 2017 AIB-SE Annual Conference.

The Oct. 26-29th conference took place in Washington D.C. and featured paper presentations, panel discussions, research methodology workshops, and junior faculty and doctoral student consortiums.

The international business major and Honors Fellow presented her senior thesis titled “The Use of ICT to Promote Women Refugees’ Integration.” The thesis explores how information and communication technologies (ICTs), including platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp, impact women refugees’ integration. Perry’s faculty thesis mentor is Associate Professor Haya Ajjan, who guided her through the research process. Assistant Professor Carri Tolmie, who attended and presented a paper at the conference as well, helped Perry in her preparation for the conference.

An excerpt of the paper’s abstract reads:

“Refugee inclusion in the U.S. and globally has become a critical issue in current times, and more research is needed to inform the public and policymakers of strategies that could impact their integration (de Vroome and van Tubergen 2010). Refugees frequently face complex information and communication challenges. They need information to resolve everyday problems, follow laws and regulations, and adapt to new cultures and societies. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) comprise a complex set of products, applications, and services used to produce, distribute, and transform information (Farhadi et al. 2012). Previous research has found that ICTs boast many advantages to its users, including but not limited to information dissemination, knowledge accumulation, and communication (Ojokoh et al. 2013). These provide users the opportunity to mitigate problems of time, cost, distance, and, most importantly for this research, information (Ojokoh et al. 2013).  ICTs are beneficial to refugees in that they supplement the traditional channels of information such as word-of-mouth and allow people to transcend geographical borders to create a space of shared experiences and identities (Hamel 2009). The use of Internet has been found to help refugees in applying to jobs, getting an education, and obtaining access to social networks (Alam and Imran 2015). Therefore, it is important to understand the ICT needs and requirements of refugees and to identify factors that can enable them to adopt technology to enhance their access to information (Alam and Imran 2015). Without this information, refugees may be pushed to the margins of society (Díaz Andrade and Doolin 2016).”

Perry also participated in the X-Culture Competition during the conference. The annual competition invites approximately 50 students to work on global teams to solve an international business challenge. This year, more than 22 countries were represented.

Each student was placed on an international team of four to seven students and collaborated virtually for three weeks prior to the conference. Once they arrived in Washington D.C., students worked face-to-face to finish their plans.

This year’s challenge involved determining which market Perkins Management Services, a regional food service company, should enter. Teams presented consulting reports to a panel of judges, including the CEO and other company executives. Teams also developed a growth strategy for the company’s farm-to-table initiative.

Perry’s team members were from Canada, Italy, the U.S. and Azerbaijan. They represented the University of North Carolina - Greensboro, University of Calgary (Canada), University of Trieste (Italy) and University of Delaware.

“Working with an international team was challenging at times due to the varying time zones,” Perry said. “Though, the experience was truly rewarding because our presentation was very strong.”

Experiencing a challenge like this was no surprise for Perry, as this is her second X-Culture Competition. “Returning to the Competition was a fantastic experience,” Perry said. “I was able to apply what I had learned previously about working with an international team to further improve our business strategies and ease cross-cultural challenges.”

Perry encourages her fellow students to apply to the conference in the future. “Competing in case competitions and presenting my research has strengthened my presentation skills and given me the opportunity to network with students and employers from around the world,” Perry said. “Being able to participate in a conference like this has been phenomenal for my professional development.”

Olivia Hays,
11/9/2017 10:35 AM