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McNair Scholar 2011Dorianne H. Shelton

Dorianne H. Shelton is a graduate from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, majoring in communications studies, fine arts, and sociology. Her research interests revolve around how society is pursued by the media. Ms. Shelton plans on getting her Ph.D. in media communications with a concentration in production.

Dorianne H. Shelton photo
For a low income teen mom and a first generation college student to obtain a Ph.D. as a non-traditional student is a huge accomplishment. I want to show my children that anything is possible if you put your heart into it so my dream is to obtain my Ph.D. and that I may use my education to positively influence others and make an impact on society.

Research project

Edutainment: Can Reality Television Prevent Teenage Pregnancy?

Abstract: Television producers have found a way to increase viewers and increase funding from sponsors through the creation of “do good” programming. Reality television programming claims to educate viewers, transform people’s lives, guide people to do good, allow people to see others in a positive way, and ultimately allow people to be better members of society. Programs such as Dad Camp, Baby Borrowers, and 16 and Pregnant are a few examples of shows produced as a way to mass market sexual education. This study looks at patterns that occur within the programs, if the program should be described as public education, what the program is encouraging or discouraging, and resources for people who are at risk for or currently experiencing teen pregnancy. Download poster. [PDF]

Faculty profile

Dr. Laurie Ouellette is currently a professor in the Department of Communication. She received her Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Massachusett. Dr. Ouellette’s research is in television studies by means of reality television and documentary, social and political theory, media history, and gender studies. Her recent publications include Better Living through Reality TV-Television and Post-Welfare Citizenship, Viewers like You: How Public TV Failed People, and Reality TV: Remaking Television Culture. Our project title is “It’s not TV, its birth control: reality television and the problem of teenage pregnancy.”