Meet a Lucerna Author: Chase Ford

My Lucerna project, “The Wonderful World of Memes,” is centered on exploring the definition, history, and satirical value of memes. Memes hold a unique place in our digital culture but are often misunderstood and viewed as absurd. The truth is quite the opposite, and memes provide valuable commentary on political, social, and historical events. My hope with this project is to put memes in an academic spotlight and highlight the growing significance they have in daily media interactions.

 

Why are you interested in this topic?

Being an active Internet user, I see and share memes on a daily basis. Memes have become a part of my daily lingo, and I wanted to explore why that is. Additionally, one of my high school debate friends, Kris Cho, performed an Original Oratory about memes and placed fourth in the Missouri state competition. Her work inspired me to pursue this topic and laid the foundation for my research.

What have been the benefits and challenges of this project?

The biggest challenge of this project was to explain memes in a serious and academic way since they are pieces of Internet comedy. Finding multiple research sources to support my arguments was difficult, but it challenged me to think outside the box. The biggest benefit, on a larger scale, is to help support the massive growth of social media and technology and help people understand what aspects of those bring us closer together.

What is your advice for students who are interested in publishing their work in Lucerna?

The best advice I can give to students is to first find a subject you are truly passionate about. Writing and researching a topic you have invested interest in not only makes the process smoother but more enjoyable. Also, Lucerna is focused on new and creative takes on issues. Make your argument stand out with personal anecdotes, a unique opposing view, or with lesser known topics. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends, teachers, or the Lucerna staff.

What are your professional plans or goals?

Currently, I am studying Political Science and Environmental Studies, with a plan to add a minor in Philosophy. After undergrad, I plan to go to law school to pursue Environmental Law. From there I want to see where the journey takes me. If I work domestically, I want to work for the Environmental Protection Agency and focus on renewable energy. If I work internationally, I want to do humanitarian work and litigation in areas affected by environmental hazards.