Anuli Ononye

Anuli Ononye

Project Title: Instagram as the 21st Century Site for James Truslow Adams’ American Dream — Finding Wealth through Artistic Digital Media

Project Description:  Can we really equate being a social media influencer in 2020 to being “rich” in the 1930s? James Truslow Adams coined the term “The American Dream” in his 1931 book The Epic of America. Since then, scholars have attempted to prove and disprove the promises of the American Dream, as well as relate that dream to different marginalized groups and identities within the United States. The goal of my College Scholar project is to reanalyze the American Dream’s promises of  “equal opportunity,” “social mobility,” and “the pursuit of happiness” through the lens of 21st Century America. Particularly, my research analyzes Instagram as a site for the American Dream and social media influencers as the (potentially?) unattainable “economic dinosaurs” that Adams describes in his class tension analysis. Does Adams’ “common man” prefer wealth or fame in the 21st Century and how does Artistic Digital Media on Instagram contribute to that choice? 

Most Important Accomplishment: From June 2017 to March 2018, I served as a Social Media Intern for United Nations Women Los Angeles. My internship was an opportunity to combine my passion for women’s justice with my passion for social media and digital marketing. The internship provided me the opportunity to run a professional Instagram account on my own, conduct research about UN Women causes, and provided me a platform to discuss my passions and interest in women’s rights and advocacy. Working for United Nations Women Los Angeles changed the trajectory of my life. The experience encouraged me to apply to Cornell and pursue a Feminist, Gender, Sexuality Studies degree (which I am completing alongside my College Scholar research) as well as provided me with the background knowledge for my current position as a Writer & Digital Communication Strategies Intern for the Cornell Women’s Resource Center. 

Reflections on the College Scholar Program: The College Scholar Program has significantly impacted my Cornell experience. I learned about the College Scholar Program from my academic advisor at the beginning of freshman year, and knew then that I would make the College Scholar Program my Cornell home. The program has required me to build relationships with a diverse range of Cornell professors, study and conduct my own independent research, and encouraged me to pursue courses in fields across the different colleges of the university. Through the flexibility of the College Scholar program, I have had the opportunity to pursue a triple major (and minor) program on campus as well as have had the time to conduct research with professors in the Feminist, Gender, Sexuality Studies department. The College Scholar Program places emphasis on learning and has encouraged me to open every door possible throughout my Cornell experience.