This summer I had the wonderful opportunity of working on two public health related research projects under the direction and leadership of both Dr. Bridgette Brawner and Dr. Robin Stevens. One project focused on how youth expressed and were exposed to mental health and drugs on twitter. Throughout the summer, two other students and I coded and qualitatively analyzed a subset of the data. We then presented our results and conclusions to our faculty mentors. Currently, we are working on a content analysis paper, so that eventually our findings can be published. Working on this project has truly showed me the process of research and analyzing data both quantitatively and qualitatively.
The second project’s objective was to develop a social media intervention to prevent HIV/STI in the young adult population. We were able to start on this project from the very beginning by filling out IRB documentation, conducting literature reviews, and hosting placeholder interviews with community leaders. We were also trained in the entire process of conducting a focus group interview, including recruitment, note-taking, and asking questions. I truly enjoyed this project, as I learned not only about the research process, but also about the strong value of community-based participatory research. I enjoy volunteering, and this project has expanded my knowledge of how this type of research creates intervention to solve community issues. I have gained so much from my involvement in these two projects, and the rich mentorship from Dr. Brawner and Dr. Stevens has been critical in helping me decide on my major, Health and Societies, and my future career path. Gratefully, I will be continuing these projects in the fall.