SUU Student Receives National Award For Internet Research

Published: August 01, 2005 | Author: Renee Ballenger | Read Time: 2 minutes

Matthew Lust, a senior Sociology major at Southern Utah University has been named a winner in the Carl Couch Center for Social and Internet Research competition for internet research.

The Couch Award honors the late Carl Couch, long-time professor of
sociology at the University of Iowa and founder of the so-called “New
Iowa School” of social research. As a leading proponent of “symbolic
interactionism,” Couch insisted that humans are social actors who
construct their social world. Couch was one of the first scholars to see
computer-mediated communication not just as another way to transmit
information, but as an arena in which people exchange symbols and form
social interactions.

Lust, from Fredericksburg, VA, was awarded third place in this national competition for his paper "Virtual Members and Real Interaction: The Internet and Online Sociation." This competition honors student papers from all disciplines researching various aspects of the influence of the Internet on society.

Lust and the other student winners have been invited to present their papers at the annual international conference of the Association of Internet Researchers in October in Chicago. Winners also receive a cash award to assist with their continuing studies.

The 2005 Couch Award Review Committee was composed of four scholars:
Mark D. Johns of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa; Katherine M. Clegg
Smith of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md.; Lori Kendall of the
State University of New York at Purchase, N.Y.; and Jodi O'Brien of
Seattle University.

The Carl Couch Center for Social and Internet Research is a non-profit
organization established to promote the scholarship in sociological and
communication inquiries begun by Carl Couch. The Center provides
networking opportunities and corroboration information for students and
scholars who conduct social and Internet research, inspired by Couch's
work involving qualitative laboratory research on information technologies and their impact on society.

For additional information on the Couch Center or the Couch Award,
contact Mark D. Johns at or Professor Shing-Ling S.
Chen, University of Northern Iowa, at And for more info on the Carl Couch Center for Social and Internet Research, go to


Through its more than 100-year history, Southern Utah University has evolved from a teacher training school into its current role as a comprehensive, regional university to 6,000 students from across the globe. It serves the southern region of Utah and contiguous counties in surrounding states with undergraduate and graduate programs in six colleges. People of the region look to the University for outreach services, culture, economic and business development, higher learning, regional history, public affairs, major academic specialties, and significant entertainment and recreation. Accentuated by the notable, economic value of its services, SUU's hallmark is its quality staff, faculty and academics.

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