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Contemporary Student Activism and Protest: A Rhetorical Analysis

Sonny Romano
Sonny Romano
Faculty Adviser(s)

This project examines contemporary student activism and protest in order to see how student action engages in critical analysis and resists hegemonic ideals traditionally held by academic institutions and how institutions and society, through media production, both react and represent these actors through a cultural rhetorics framework. This project posits that the academy that so values critical thinking and student involvement has had varying reactions to student engagement in social issues as it pertains to activism and protest, which have been reflected in the way that protest and activism as a whole are portrayed outside of the academy in the media. This project puts primary texts in the form of recorded/written testimonials by former and current student activists such as Parkland High School students and Howard University students next to public institutional reactions and media portrayals to see how public opinion both inside and out of the academy determine the future of activism and protest in America.


Sonny Romano is an activist, street medic, and scholar of rhetoric from Cincinnati, Ohio. Throughout her life, Sonny has been involved in multiple protest movements and believes that change can be accomplished through community care and action. During her time at Salem College, which will come to a close in May 2022, Sonny has been a part of several research projects, resulting in three conference presentations and one publication. After graduation, Sonny plans to train with Planned Parenthood to become a full spectrum doula specializing in bereavement services, as well as attend Northern Kentucky University’s Masters of Arts in Teaching program, specializing in middle school humanities education.