KJUR Author Feature: Austin Prewett

Former KJUR Author Shares His Publishing Experience

KENNESAW, Ga. (Sept 24, 2021) — Since 2011, the staff of the Kennesaw Journal of Undergraduate Research (KJUR) has been promoting and encouraging inquiry among undergraduate researchers at Kennesaw State University to share their projects with external audiences by providing them with an online publication outlet. For KSU alumnus Austin Prewett, one simple question led to something much bigger.

Austin PrewettPrewett, who graduated from KSU in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, took a special interest in what he interpreted as narcissistic tendencies in fundraising trends on social media. In this case, he decided to investigate one of the biggest fundraising initiatives of the 21st century.

“I was interested in what was going on with the Ice Bucket Challenge. Suddenly, people who weren’t normally that altruistic decided to start giving money away,” Prewett said. “Would narcissists be more likely to donate if they knew that their names would be promoted or their pictures would get attention?”

Bolstered by his curiosity, Prewett contacted one of his favorite psychology professors Paul Story, associate professor of psychology, who agreed to help him conduct a research study focused on this phenomenon. Over the course of two semesters, Prewett and Story compiled a list of questions for a survey that was distributed to around 300 participants recruited for the study. Once Prewett wrote about his findings in the article, “Watch Me Give: Narcissism as a Moderator to Donating to a Nonprofit,” Story referred the undergraduate to KJUR for potential publication, a move that left a lasting impression on Prewett.

“I recommend anybody who is looking into research at KSU to find a professor you trust who will guide you to the opportunities that are available,” said Prewett. “Dr. Story really opened my eyes as to what kind of opportunities there were for undergraduate researchers.”

The publishing process was another eye-opening experience for Prewett, who had previously never published in an academic research journal. Describing the procedure as “humbling,” Prewett noted that while there were multiple stages of revision, each draft reflected real improvements that ultimately helped him in the end. In 2019, his paper was successfully published in Volume 6, Issue 1 of KJUR, where it has been downloaded over 100 times by users around the world, including China, Norway, and the Philippines.

Prewett’s achievements with KJUR extend far beyond his “Watch Me Give” article. After presenting his findings at the annual Society for Personality and Social Psychology convention, he decided to submit another research paper to KJUR, titled “The Short Dark Triad and Giving to Nonprofits,” which further evaluated narcissistic behavior and demonstrable utility. Prewett’s research was accepted again and was published in KJUR’s second issue of Volume 6 in 2019.

After completing his undergraduate degree, Prewett attended Valdosta State University, where he earned a master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology. Today, he works for Camden Delta Consulting, where he assists with workplace psychology as a human capital consultant.

Ultimately, Prewett credits his experience with KJUR as fulfilling, and believes KSU undergraduate students from all disciplines should look into publishing their work in KJUR and other external academic publications.

“It is a resume and graduation application booster, but it also fine-tunes you to start thinking on a higher level,” Prewett said. “It brings you to a higher degree of professionalism and is a sign of maturity that you have taken academics to another level, something that not everyone is able to do. I think everyone should give it a shot.”

Marielena Zajac, summer 2021 KJUR intern