When I first graduated high school in the Netherlands, my greatest wish was to go to med school. Med school, like most university and college studies in most of Europe, is largely paid for by government subsidies (which is awesome: no huge student loan debts and a great education!), but one of the disadvantages is that there is a lottery for med school admission and a limited number of spots (the so-called numerus fixus). At the time I was applying, you could only try twice – I did, and did not make it in either time, even though my grades were excellent and my motivation was sky-high. I got a master’s in health sciences instead, and went back to school for a master’s in strategic public relations a few years ago here in the US. I finished the first year of the MATX PhD program this summer, and am switching programs (and sort of starting over) the doctoral program in social and behavioral health today. The interesting thing: my new program is officially part of VCU Medical Center, mainly known for its medical school. No, my program is not med school but still…. talk about full circle!
Lori Eason was a PhD student in health and crisis communications who passed away before she could get her PhD. The top student paper prize at AEJMC’s ComSHER (communicating science, health, environment, and risk) division is named after her.
I had the honor of receiving this award for my research paper “On Pins and Needles: The Portrayal of Vaccines on Pinterest” during the AEJMC co
nference a few weeks ago. Lori, I hope I will make your memory proud.
A year after my first academic conference. A year after the start of my PhD program. Back at the same conference (AEJMC), this time presenting three papers (one of them based on my own research and written entirely by me – and winning the top student paper in that division! WOOT!). And I am getting ready for another first day of school – because I am switching PhD programs. Some of my classes
will transfer, and I will stay actively involved in the health communications research field, but still: it’s a new program. So: presenting twice today, attending an awards luncheon, and attending a board meeting. Here we go.