Research Cafe: Jackie Stanmyre, Niki Natarajan, & Rachel Acosta

Join the School of Graduate Studies as we engage in this interdisciplinary community of practice and dialogue about graduate students' innovative research in a friendly and low-stakes setting.

Event Description

Research Cafe: February 7, 2024

3:00 - 4:00pm

On Zoom

Register in advance to receive the Zoom link


1.) "A latent class analysis of problem gambling risk factors among athletes who gamble" by Jackie Stanmyre

Jackie Stanmyre

Abstract: In the past five years, almost 40 states nationwide have legalized sports betting, many offering the option to gamble at any time from mobile devices. This widespread and rapid expansion often has been absent a comprehensive consideration of the implications for problem gambling risk. Problem gambling can lead to adverse outcomes including bankruptcy, interpersonal problems, and mental health challenges, including suicidality. Problem gambling also is widely associated with co-occurring concerns including depression, anxiety, and substance use and impulse control disorders, as well as health problems and elevated rates of family violence. Among subpopulations likely to be affected by an increase in sports betting opportunities are athletes. This presentation will highlight preliminary findings of an examination of how risk factors cluster among athletes who gamble, identified by latent class analyses. The study uses an epidemiological sample of New Jersey residents and is guided by the Pathways Model of Problem Gambling, the foremost etiological framework in the field. Initial results suggest high rates of co-occurring disorders among athletes who experience the highest levels of problem gambling, suggesting the need for an expansion of gambling screening across healthcare access points utilized by athletes, as well as an increase in prevention and education efforts.

Speaker Bio: Jackie Stanmyre is a PhD candidate with research interests in addiction and co-occurring risk factors, particularly as they relate to gambling among vulnerable populations, as well as intervention development and evaluation. As assistant director of the Center for Gambling Studies, she provides daily oversight for grant-funded research projects primarily in (1) improving gambling screening and intervention and (2) analyzing sports wagering and online gambling activity among New Jersey residents, with consideration for the implications of problematic play. She has practice experience in the field of addiction and co-occurring mental health, having spent six years in clinical work, and is credentialed as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC). Her ambition is to remain engaged in addiction-focused research, particularly given the many changes in the cultural climate regarding gambling and the resulting increase in vulnerability.


2. "How Teens Negotiate Social Media Algorithms" by Niki Natarajan

Niki at cafe looking off to the side smiling.

AbstractMoral panics are a persistent theme in teenagers’ social media use –  often cast as problematic and addictive. However, the scholarly literature reveals a gap in studying whether and how teens actively resist social media design. Niki’s ongoing work involves in-depth interviews with teens to understand how and why they use media/technology in unique and quirky ways, and how they insert agency. 

Speaker Bio: Niki Natarajan is a PhD Candidate at the School of Communication and Information, Rutgers University. Niki’s research focuses on audience relationships with emerging technologies. Nikiearned her Master’s degree in integrated marketing communications from Northwestern University, and her Bachelor’s degree in Economics. She is a British Chevening scholar – she won a competitive scholarship for a work-study program at the University of Westminster, London, UK. Niki started her media career as a sports reporter at The Indian Express Newspaper, and went on to cover business, politics and breaking news stories in India and the United States across print, broadcast and digital formats. Niki is multilingual. She pioneered news livestreams when social media livestream technology first emerged, and covered the entire 2016 US elections with her #studioinasuitcase. Her most recent newsroom role, prior to joining the PhD program at Rutgers, Niki was Consulting Editor (U.S.) for India’s premier news wire service. Fun Fact: Niki plays and teaches tennis. 


3. "'Betwixt and Between' Returning to the Office" by Rachel Acosta

Headshot of Rachel Acosta against gray background.

Abstract: Disruptive events upend organizational life for employees and often mark the beginning of transitional experiences as employees seek a new normal. When the majority of U.S. organizations shutdown in-person operations in March 2020, employees adapted quickly to new information communication technologies and evolving working conditions. In subsequent years, the process of employees returning to office buildings marked the beginning of yet another disruption, initiating a need for employees to manage a new transitional experience. This study implements liminality as a framework to understand individuals’ experience and management of transitional experiences during an organizational disruption. Semi-structured interviews with participants from a variety of organizational contexts were used to explore the role of organizational policies as signals, the ways employees leveraged liminality to creatively adapted and explore possibilities, and how a sense of liminality complicates employees’ transitional experiences like a return to office. Findings showed that organizational signals regarding change and the strategies employees used to maintain flexibility influenced if employees assessed a return-to-office as regressive (extending liminality) or progressive (ending liminality). This study lays the groundwork to better understand how widespread organizational disruptions event leads employees to perceive and manage processes of liminality.

Speaker Bio: Rachel Acosta is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Communication at Rutgers University. Her research interests include liminal experiences of organizational members, multilevel organizing, and paradoxes and tensions in disruptive contexts. She attended Florida International University for her Bachelor of Arts degree in English. She also holds a Master in Library and Information Science from South Carolina University. She loves listening to podcasts and is always taking recommendations!


About Research Cafe

Research Café brings together the entire graduate student community of Rutgers University-New Brunswick/Piscataway campus to strengthen scholarly literacy and interdisciplinary research communication by providing a platform for budding researchers to connect, share their in-progress research or scholarship, and benefit from peer feedback in a friendly and low-stakes setting. 

Research Café is a monthly, one-hour event. During the Spring 2024 semester, Research Cafe will occur entirely on Zoom. Each event will feature:

  1. Presentations (10-12 min. each) from two graduate students from across disciplinary areas ranging from engineering and biology to history and anthropology.
  2. A Q&A dialogue with peers and attendees.
  3. Conversational time to connect!

Sign up to attend on Zoom at


Questions? Contact the program coordinators:

Sonal Gahlawat at, Briana Bivens at, and Ramazan Güngör at